If only there were more smart owners in sports like this

Jan 6, 2007
[h1]Spirits of St. Louis[/h1][h3]From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/h3]
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[table][tr][td]Spirits of St. Louis[/td] [/tr][tr][td]
[/td] [/tr][tr][td]Conference[/td] [td]Eastern Conference[/td] [/tr][tr][td]Division[/td] [td]East Division[/td] [/tr][tr][td]Founded[/td] [td]1974[/td] [/tr][tr][td]History[/td] [td]Houston Mavericks
Carolina Cougars
Spirits of St. Louis
Utah Rockies
[/td] [/tr][tr][td]Arena[/td] [td]St. Louis Arena[/td] [/tr][tr][td]City[/td] [td]St. Louis, Missouri[/td] [/tr][tr][td]Team colors[/td] [td]Burnt Orange, Silver & Black[/td] [/tr][tr][td]Owner(s)[/td] [td]Ozzie Silna and Daniel Silna[/td] [/tr][tr][td]General manager[/td] [td]Harry Weltman[/td] [/tr][tr][td]Head coach[/td] [td]Bob MacKinnon
Rod Thorn
Joe Mullaney
[/td] [/tr][tr][td]-League affiliate[/td] [td]None[/td] [/tr][tr][td]Championships[/td] [td]None[/td] [/tr][tr][td]Conference titles[/td] [td]None[/td] [/tr][tr][td]Division titles[/td] [td]None[/td] [/tr][tr][td]Official website[/td] [td]http://www.nba.com href="http://www.nba.com/" rel=nofollow>nba.com[/td] [/tr][/table]

The Spirits of St. Louis were one of two teams still in existence at the end of the American Basketball Association that did not survive the ABA-NBA merger. They were a member of the ABA in its last two seasons, 1974-75 and 1975-76, while playingtheir home games at the St. Louis Arena.

The Spirits (who took their name from the Atlantic Ocean-crossingplane flown by Charles Lindbergh) were the third incarnation of afranchise that was once known as the Houston Mavericks and later theCarolina Cougars. Despite their history, they essentially were anexpansion team, as there was just one holdover from the Cougars.

The Spirits were a colorful team featuring a number of players, both on and off the court, who were fairly successful in their basketball careers. Amongthem were Moses Malone, acquired during their second season, who went on to a longand successful career in the NBA, culminating in enshrinement in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Maurice Lucas spent most of his time in the ABA as a Spirit, then later became an all-star in the NBA with thePortland Trail Blazers. Other well-known players that playedfor the team included former Boston Celtics sixth man Don Chaney, future Celtics head coach M.L. Carr, and Ron Boone, who held therecord for consecutive games played in pro basketball for many years. One of the most colorful players on the team was forward Marvin "Bad News" Barnes, famous for stories about his off-court behavior and lack of understandingof time zones.

A couple of off-court personalities from the team became well known as well. One of the coaches in 1975 was former NBA player Rod Thorn, who became the NBA's vice president of basketball operations (or, in essence, the No. 2 man behindcommissioner David Stern) for a number of years. On radio, the team featuredBob Costas as an announcer. Costas would go on to a highly successful career workingfor NBC television and radio.

After a slow start in their inaugural season, 1974-75, the Spirits reached the playoffs with a late rush, then upset the defending ABA champion New York Nets in the first round of the playoffs. But the teamsquandered this good start the following year, finishing well out of playoff contention in 1975-76 as attendance in St. Louis dwindled. At season's end,negotiations were under way to move the franchise to Salt Lake City, Utah and rename the team the Utah Rockies.

In the summer of 1976, with the ABA at the point of financial collapse after nine years, the six surviving franchises (the Virginia Squires went bankrupt immediately after the final season) began negotiating a merger with the NBA. But the senior circuit decided to accept only four teams from therival league: the Nets (the last ABA champion), Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs.

The NBA placated John Y. Brown, owner of the Kentucky Colonels, by giving him a $3.3 million settlement in exchange forshutting his team down. (Brown later used much of that money to buy the Buffalo Braves of the NBA.) But the owners of the Spirits, the brothers Ozzie and Dan Silna, struck a prescient deal to acquire future television money from the teamsthat joined the NBA, a one-seventh share from each franchise, in perpetuity. With network TV deals becoming more and more lucrative, the deal has made theSilnas wealthy, earning them $168 million as of July 2006, according to a Los Angeles Times report. (The NBA nearly succeeded in buying out the Silnas in 1982by offering $5 million over eight years, but negotiations floundered when the siblings demanded $8 million over five.) The current TV deal gives the Silnas$14.57 million a season; on June 27, 2007, it was extended for another eight years, ensuring another $100 million-plus windfall for the former Spiritsowners. http://news.yahoo.com/s/a...g41YCEzuIe.Zgx8wVuYE1vAIhref="http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070627...w_tv_deal_2;_ylt=Al9lg41YCEzuIe.Zgx8wVuYE1vAI" rel=nofollow>[1]

[h2][edit] Externallinks[/h2]

33 years later and their still getting paid off the merger.
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