Utah stars

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Utah stars
founding 1970
resolution 1976
history Anaheim Amigos
Los Angeles Stars
Utah Stars
Stadion Salt Palace
Location Salt Lake City , Utah
Club colors red, white and blue
league American Basketball Association
division Western Division
Head coach Bill Sharman
LaDell Andersen
Joe Mullaney
Bucky Buckwalter & Tom Nissalke
Tom Nissalke
General manager Ned Doyle
owner Bill Daniels
James A. Collier
Snellen M. Johnson and Lyle E. Johnson

The Utah Stars were an American basketball franchise from Salt Lake City , Utah that played in the American Basketball Association . Under head coach Bill Sharman, the Stars were the first professional basketball team to throw in the way they do before the game.


The team was founded as Anaheim Amigos , a founding member of the ABA based in Anaheim , California . They played at the Anaheim Convention Center. The team colors were orange and black. The Anaheim Amigos became the Los Angeles Stars in 1968 and played at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena until 1970, when the team moved to Salt Lake City, Utah to become the Utah Stars.

The Utah Stars played at Salt Palace from 1970 to December 1975 when the team disbanded during the 1975/76 season. They won the championship in the ABA in 1970/71 against the Kentucky Colonels 4: 3 and in 1973/74 they reached the final again, which they lost to the New York Nets 1: 4.

The stars are widely considered to be one of the most successful teams in ABA history. They were also known for having one of the largest fan bases in the ABA, and so until the breakup in 1975. From 1970 to 1975, the Stars achieved an impressive 265 wins out of 171 losses (60.8%), which was the best win rate for any team played in the league for more than one season.


Despite a promising young roster, the Stars were more or less a straggler in a market led by the Los Angeles Lakers and UCLA Bruins; only an average of 2500 fans came to the games. In June 1970, the team was sold to Colorado cable television pioneer Bill Daniels , who relocated the team to Salt Lake City. Zelmo Beaty competed for the team and the Stars finished second in the Western Division with 57 wins and 27 losses. In the first round of the playoffs they beat the Texas Chaparrals 4-0, in an exciting division final the Indiana Pacers 4-3 and finally the Kentucky Colonels 4-3, which meant the ABA championship.


The Stars won their first division championship, winning the Western Division with 60 wins and 24 losses. In the first round of the playoffs they defeated the Dallas Chaparrals 4-0, before losing to the Indiana Pacers 3-4 in the division finals.


The Stars hosted the ABA All Star Games and again won the Western Division with 55 wins and 29 losses. The Stars defeated the San Diego Conquistadors 4-0 in the first round of the playoffs , but then lost 4-0 to the Indiana Pacers.


In 1973/74 the Stars finished with 51 wins and 33 losses and thus again won first place in the Western Division under the new head coach Joe Mullaney. That was the third division title in a row. In the playoffs, the Stars defeated the San Diego Conquistadors 4-2 and the Indiana Pacers 4-3. In the final they lost against the New York Nets with 1: 4.


The Stars' last full season in the ABA took place in 1974/75. Daniels was nearly bankrupt from unsuccessful speculation and an unsuccessful candidacy for the governorship of Colorado. One of the victims of the team's finances was coach Mullaney, who resigned after being told the team could no longer afford his contract. Daniels tried to sell the team but couldn't find a buyer. The stars signed high school player Moses Malone . They finished the season in fourth place in the Western Division and lost 4-1 in the playoffs to the Denver Nuggets .


Despite an average of over 8500 fans per game, the stars started the season on shaky financial grounds. During the pre-season phase, the Stars (and the Virginia Squires ) could not make the guarantee payment for the friendly game against the Chicago Bulls from the NBA .

At that time, Daniels was completely bankrupt. As a result, the league dissolved the Stars on December 2, 1975 due to a lack of payrolls. Four of the players (including Moses Malone) were sold to the Spirits of St. Louis , while a fifth player was sold to the Virginia Squires. Daniels eventually paid out all season ticket holders with 8% interest.

All things Considered

In 1976 the owners of the Spirits of St. Louis announced that they wanted to move with their team to Utah for the 1976/77 season to play as the Utah Rockies . Instead, the ABA and NBA merged in June 1976 and the Spirits and Kentucky Colonels were the only two teams that were not incorporated into the NBA. (The Virginia Squires were disbanded shortly after the season ended and shortly before the union because they could not make bail payments to the league.)

Professional basketball eventually returned to Salt Lake City when the New Orleans Jazz was relocated to Utah from the NBA in 1979. Since then, Jazz has been playing in Salt Lake City. The other three ABA teams that did not play in the NBA after the last ABA season were the Kentucky Colonels, the Spirits of St. Louis and the Virginia Squires, all of whom played in cities that, unlike Salt Lake City, never played afterwards had an NBA team.

ABA championship

In their first season in Salt Lake City, the Stars finished second in the Western Division one game behind the Indiana Pacers. In the playoffs, the Stars swept the Texas Chaparrals off the pitch and beat the Pacers in game seven of the division finals, earning them a place in the ABA finals.

The stars met the Kentucky Colonels there. In game one, the stars at Salt Palace defeated Kentucky 136-117 in front of a sold-out crowd. The stars set a playoff record with 50 points in the second quarter. The stars won game two with 138: 125. Game 3 and 4 took place in Louisville and Kentucky equalized the series. The series returned to Salt Lake City, where the stars beat Kentucky 137: 127. The Stars wanted to decide the championship in the sixth game in Louisville, but the Colonels beat the Stars just 105: 102, so the championship had to be decided in the seventh game in Salt Lake City.

With the prospect of the championship, a record crowd of 13,260 spectators saw this game at the Salt Palace. The game remained close, but in the end the stars pulled away and won the championship with 131: 121.

When the game ended, hundreds of fans of the stars stormed onto the pitch and cheered the players on their shoulders. These actions came as a complete surprise to the star officials as they had not anticipated such a reaction from fans.

Utah Stars versus NBA teams

The ABA regularly played friendly games in the pre-season against NBA teams. While the ABA won more often overall, the Stars had a ratio of 7: 9 against NBA teams.

The Stars' first game against the NBA was an 89-96 home loss to the New York Knicks on September 28, 1971. The Stars lost their first four games against the NBA and scored their first win against the Seattle SuperSonics on September 24, 1972 in Honolulu , Hawaii .

Other Stars wins against the NBA were against the Boston Celtics on October 4, 1973 as part of a double game in which the Denver Rockets defeated the Phoenix Suns 113-111 in front of 12431 fans in Utah; a home win against the Kansas City-Omaha Kings on October 8, 1974; a home win against the SuperSonics on October 7, 1975; a win against the Kings on October 11, 1975 as part of a doubleheader in Denver , in which the Denver Nuggets subsequently lost in front of 17018 fans to the Golden State Warriors 100-115 ; and a 118:10 victory at the Seattle SuperSonics on October 15, 1975.

In the last game ever between ABA and NBA, the Stars defeated the Milwaukee Bucks on October 21, 1975 in Salt Lake City 106: 101. (In the penultimate encounter, the Kentucky Colonels defeated the Washington Bullets two nights earlier with 121-111.)


  • 3 × ABA Western Division champions after the regular season (1971/72, 1972/73, 1973/74)
  • 2 × ABA Western Division champions after the playoffs (1970/71, 1973/74)
  • 1 × ABA Champion (1970/71)

Well-known former players

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ESPN.com - NBA backstage
  2. ^ Stars gave Utah a night to remember , Deseret News . May 19, 1971.