1968-69 Miami Floridians vs Kentucky Colonels ABA Basketball Program November 18, 1968 – Low Attendance

The Miami Floridians, later in their history known simply as The Floridians, were a professional basketball franchise in the original, now-defunct American Basketball Association. The Miami Floridians played in the ABA from 1968 through 1970 when they became simply The Floridians. The team had two color schemes: their original red, blue, and white, and their later black, magenta, and orange.

The Miami Floridians began as the Minnesota Muskies, a charter ABA franchise who played in Bloomington, Minnesota at the Met Center and wore blue and gold. The Muskies finished with the league's second-best record, but wretched attendance figures (officially 2,800 per game, a figure that was likely padded) led owner Larry Shields to conclude that the team could not be viable in the Twin Cities. He sold minority shares to a group of Florida businessmen and moved the team to Miami. However, in order to pay leftover debts in Minnesota, Shields sold Rookie of the Year Mel Daniels to the Indiana Pacers, a deal now reckoned as the most lopsided trade in ABA history.

The Floridians never attracted a large following, despite numerous promotions--including ball girls wearing white bikinis and go-go boots. However, the team did manage to make the playoffs three out of the four years of their existence. The Floridians' first homes were the Miami Beach Convention Center and the Convention Center Annex. Coached by former Minneapolis Lakers great Jim Pollard, the 1968-69 season was the most successful for the Miami Floridians by far, finishing their first season in Florida with a 43-35 record and defeating the Minnesota Pipers (who ironically played in the city the Floridians had just abandoned) in the Eastern Division semifinals 4 games to 3, before losing in the divisional finals to the Indiana Pacers 4 games to 1.

The mighty Kentucky Colonels played the Miami Floridians in Miami on November 18, 1968.  We deduced this program is from 11-18-68 as Manny Leaks and Randy Mahaffey  are listed in the program and they were  traded from Kentucky to the Nets for Dan Anderson and Ollie Darden on December 30, 1968.  The only game Kentucky played in Miami before January was on November 18, 1968. This was the first season for Miami and second season for  Kentucky. 

We offer this home Oakland program that is in NR MT plus condition from November 18, 1968 that measures 8.5 x 11 inches. No missing pages, binding is pretty tight. Unscored.  From the 1968-69 season. Played in Miami.  The Floridians featured – Les Hunter, Donnie Freeman, Don Sidle, Don Sparks, Gary Keller, Ron Perry, Willie Iverson, Erv Inniger, and Skip Thoren.  Kentucky featured Jim Ligon, Jim Caldwell, Darel Carrier, Louie Dampier, and Bobby Rascoe.   Gene Rhodes was the head coach for the Colonels and Jim Pollard for Miami.

Kentucky beat the Miami in a nail biter at the Miami Beach Convention Center by a score of 120 – 119. Darel Carrier scored 7 three pointers in the game and had 53 points points, while Goose Ligon had 15 and Louie Dampier shot 13 points for Kentucky.  Miami was led by Les Hunter with 26, Donnie Freeman 25, and Willie Murrell with 18 points in this losing effort.

Only 2043 fans attended this game.  How rare is this program?

Item: 8957

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1968-69 Miami Floridians vs Kentucky Colonels ABA Basketball Program November 18, 1968 – Low Attendance