Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.

Remembering the ABA

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wolves news Updated: August 25, 2010 - 4:23 PM

 

I know many of us are too young to really remember Minnesota's part in the old American Basketball Association. But the Twin Cities had two -- count 'em two -- teams plays one season each in the early days of the old league.

At the State Fair, which begins Thursday, fans will be able to visit the Minnesota Timberwolves booth and decide which of those two teams will be honored during the upcoming NBA season. The NBA is honoring the 35-year anniversary of the 1976 merger of the NBA and the ABA. As part of that, several NBA teams will be wearing ABA uniforms for selected games as part of the league's Hardwood Classic Games.

Fans will vote, and the winning team will be honored during those games by wearing throwback uniforms.

So which team will it be?

You might recall that the original ABA headquarters were in Minneapolis and that the league's original commissioner was former Minneapolis Lakers great George Mikan. The Muskies became charter members of the league on Feb. 2, 1967. During the 1967-68 season, coached by former Lakers great Jim Pollard, the Muskies  finished with the second-best record in the league at 50-28. They were led by ABA Rookie of the Year Mel Daniels and they reached the Eastern Conference finals. After that first season, though, the Muskies moved to Miami.

But on June 28, 1968 the Pittsburgh Pipers, the defending ABA champs with a roster that included Connie Hawkins, announced they were relocating to Minnesota, with another former Minneapolis Lakers great, Vern Mikkelsen, as GM.  Despite injuries to Hawkins the Pipers made the playoffs with a 36-42 record but lost in the first round and ended up moving back to Pittsburgh.

For more information, you can go to the team's website at: www.timberwolves.com

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