Thank goodness for the big Virginia Squires reunion that will happen in Virginia Beach on May 1 & 2. Because of that event, the fine folks at Virginia Living Magazine have posted my 2008 feature article, "A League of Their Own," about the Squires and the crazy world of the long-defunct American Basketball Association.
This was one of my favorite assignments ever so I'm overjoyed. "A League of Their Own" begins:
When the City of Norfolk purchased the former Jewish Community Center complex near Wards Corner in 2005, it acquired an ideal space for a city-owned recreational facility … and a piece of professional sports history. This was where Virginia’s first—and still only—professional sports team once practiced, and where two future superstars honed their skills with a strange red, white and blue basketball.
Julius Erving—who revolutionized pro ball by introducing the high-flying style that is prevalent in today’s National Basketball Association—was one of them. Fans called him “Dr. J,” or simply “the Doctor,” for his miraculous skills on a basketball court. The other player was George Gervin, one of the greatest shooters of all time. Each got his start on a now-forgotten team known as the Virginia Squires, which barnstormed across the commonwealth for six roller coaster seasons in the 1970s as one of a dozen clubs in the now-defunct American Basketball Association, or ABA.
“To this day, people don’t know that we had Julius Erving and George Gervin on the same team,” the coach of the Squires, Al Bianchi, once recalled. “That sounds like the foundation for a championship team, doesn’t it?”Read "A League of their Own" by clicking right here.
And for more on the big Virginia Squires event, which will bring the likes of Julius Erving, George Gervin, Dave Twardzik and Roland "Fatty" Taylor (pictured) back together again, click right here.
Basketball card courtesy of the Tenth Inning!