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AFTER ONLY ONE YEAR . . . ADIOS, AMIGOS : Anaheim's Days in ABA Were So Forgettable, They Weren't Painful

July 14, 1988|STEVE LOWERY | Times Staff Writer

"The team never really did anything to promote itself," Robinson said. "They just kind of showed up and said, 'Here we are. Come watch us play.' You can't do that in this market. Not when you're playing across the street from Disneyland. But I never felt like the owner wanted to put out the money he needed to properly promote the team."

Kim said: "I didn't like having to go after publicity or trying to make promotions. I thought if you put a good team on the floor, people would come and watch."

Proctor, who lives in Long Beach, blames the Amigos' failure on "Orange County farmers who knew nothing about professional sports."

High school basketball was outdrawing the Amigos by a large margin, so much so that Proctor tried in vain to have Kim book a high school game before an Amigo game.

"He couldn't understand how someone would prefer to see kids play when they could see professionals," Proctor said. "I told him it was the way this county was, but he didn't understand."

The Amigos didn't even draw crowds when teams with big-name players came to town.

"The fans (in Orange County) didn't know who the visitors were, either," Distel said.

Scranton said: "The people in Orange County didn't know what a Connie Hawkins was."

Kim sold the team to Jim Kirst and went back with the Globetrotters. Kim said he sold the team with the understanding that it would remain in Orange County.

"There were so many possibilities in the area, if they just would have been willing to stick it out for one more season," he said.

But Kirst moved the team to the Los Angeles Sports Arena, which had recently been vacated by the Lakers.

"The Lakers are now the Inglewood Lakers," said Gilbert Lindsay, then the president of the Coliseum Commission. "Los Angeles now has a team of its own. The Los Angeles Stars."

Kirst changed the team name and fired everyone, including the players.

"He wanted no trace of the Amigos on his team," Crow said. "The Amigos had done so poorly, he didn't want anything to do with them."

Crow said he tried out for the team under the new coach, Bill Sharman, but was told that his chances of making the team weren't good because he had played with the Amigos.

Jim Hardy, the Stars' general manager, put it succinctly. "This is a brand-new franchise. We will have new players, new uniforms, new management, as well as a new home. The Amigos have been buried, and we burned their uniforms after the final game."

The Stars did have success. They reached the ABA final once and then moved on to Utah.

The Amigos went their separate ways.

Kim is 75 and lives in La Verne. Scranton lives in Monrovia and has been a teacher for 15 years. Crow started a rental business in El Toro and did so well that, at 47, he was able to retire. He recently moved from El Toro to Provo, Utah.

They say they rarely hear anything about the team or from the people involved with it.

"We kind of faded and disappeared," Scranton said.

Which is the one thing they seemed to do well.

OK, HOW BAD WERE THEY?Though the Anaheim Amigos (25-53) finished 3 games ahead of the last-place Oakland Oaks in the ABA's Western Division in their one season of existence in 1967-68, they had some dubious distinctions:

* None of their 12 draft choices played for the team.

* They were the only team in the league to have a losing record in every month. Their longest win streak: 2.

* They had the league's worst home record (12-19).

* They led the league in turnovers with 1,516, an average of nearly 20 a game. In one game against the Denver Rockets, they made a record 36 turnovers.

* Not surprisingly, no Amigos were named to the all-league or all-rookie teams.


The players who started the 1967-68 American Basketball Assn. season with the Anaheim Amigos, as they appeared in a team photo (above, from left):

No. Player Pos. Hgt Wgt College 52 Larry Bunce C 7-0 240 Utah State 42 Bill Garner C 6-10 220 Univ. of Portland 22 Bob Bedell F 6-7 205 Stanford 24 John Fairchild F 6-8 205 Brigham Young Univ. 40 Ben Warley F 6-8 200 Tennessee State 44 Randy Stoll F 6-7 235 Washington State 34 Harry Dinnel G-F 6-5 200 Pepperdine 50 Paul Scranton F 6-5 230 Cal Poly Pomona 32 Steve Kramer G-F 6-5 215 Brigham Young Univ. 30 Bill Leedom NA NA NA Cal Poly Pomona 20 Steve Chubin G 6-2 200 Rhode Island 12 Les Selvage G 6-1 175 Kirksville (Mo.) State 10 Jeff Congdon G 6-1 190 Brigham Young Univ.

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