Pittsburgh Condors

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Pittsburgh Condors
founding 1970
resolution 1972
history Pittsburgh Pipers
Minnesota Pipers
Pittsburgh Pipers
Pittsburgh Pioneers
Pittsburgh Condors
Stadion Pittsburgh Civic Arena
Location Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania
Club colors red and gold
league American Basketball Association
division Eastern Division
Head coach Jack McMahon
Jack McMahon and Mark Binstein
owner Metro Sports

The Pittsburgh Condors were an American basketball franchise from Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania that played in the American Basketball Association from 1970 to 1972 . The team played their home games in the Civic Arena .


The Condors began as Pittsburgh Pipers , a founding member in 1967, and won the league's first championship at the end of the 1967–68 season . They shared the arena with the Pittsburgh Penguins from the NHL . For ABA standards they had decent audience values ​​with an average of 3,200 viewers.

Still, the Pipers moved to Minnesota and became the Minnesota Pipers . The Minnesota Muskies struggled the previous season and so moved to Miami to become The Floridians . The league's office was in Minneapolis , the home of league executive George Mikan , so the Pipers moved when a local attorney named Bill Erickson bought a majority stake in the team. The Pipers were no better off than the Muskies, so after just one season they moved back to Pittsburgh. In his book Loose Balls , author Terry Pluto said that it probably happened because co-owner Gabe Rubin couldn't imagine going anywhere else.

The team kept their name for the first season after returning to Pittsburgh. Nevertheless, the team could not build on their previous success. So it wasn't surprising that the fans stayed away in droves. After the season, Haven Industries, the maker of Jack Frost , bought the team and decided a name change was in order.


A naming competition spawned the name Pittsburgh Pioneers . The team at the local Point Park College (now Point Park University ), which played in the NAIA , was already using the name and threatened with legal action. In addition, a fan complained that the winning entry did not meet the 25-word limit. To resolve the situation, the owners changed the name to Condors.

Jack McMahon took over the coaching position. John Brisker and Mike Lewis played in the All-Star Game. The team ended the season with 36 wins and 48 losses, which meant fifth place in the Eastern Division as well as missing the playoffs. There were 2,806 spectators per game, although some observers believed the real average was closer to 1,100. The audience response was so bad that the Condors gave away every available seat at a game at the beginning of the season. Only 8,074 fans came and 3,000 season ticket holders made no effort to come. The owners disliked the idea and the general manager was fired after the game.


In the next season, Haven tried to change the image of the Condors with a new logo and new jerseys after a 4-6 start, the general manager Mark Binstein fired the coach McMahon for unknown reasons and appointed himself head coach. The shot backfired; the Condors had 21 wins and 50 losses for the remainder of the season.

As the season progressed, the average attendance fell below 1,000 fans. The situation was so bad that it was thought the Condors would disband before Christmas. But while they managed to get through the turn of the year, Haven had seen enough and announced that the Condors would play elsewhere next season. They began to play the home games elsewhere, first in other cities in Pennsylvania, and then in more distant locations. On March 24, 1972, the Condors received the Kentucky Colonels in Birmingham , Alabama ; on March 28, 1972, the Condors again received the Colonels in their last "home game" in Tucson , Arizona .

John Brisker and George Thompson played in the ABA All Star Game. The Condors finished sixth in the Eastern Conference (25:59) and missed the playoffs. The average attendance was 2,215 fans and would have been even lower without the games in Birmingham and Tucson.

Bottom line

In June 1972 the ABA dissolved the Condors. The squad was distributed by means of a draft. George Thompson went to the Memphis Tams , Mike Lewis to the Carolina Cougars , Skeeter Swift and James Silas to the Dallas Chaparrals and Walt Szczerbiak to the Kentucky Colonels. John Brisker joined the Seattle SuperSonics in the NBA .

Known players

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