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Welcome to the ABA

Calgary, Alberta to be ABA'S 27th Expansion Team

Indianapolis, IN. Joe Newman, ABA Co-Founder, today announced that Calgary Alberta, Canada would be the 27th expansion team in the league this season. According to Newman, "Our goal has been to expand in Canada, especially with three teams in Mexico. We were waiting for the right opportunity and were thinking 2005. But the new ownership group, headed by Calgary businessman Spero Kokkans, wanted to play this season and felt that they could put things together quickly. So, here we go again."

Newman added, "Mr. Kokkans brought in two people to spearhead the operation naming Otis Hailey as Co-Owner/President and General Manager and Ronald Pryor as VP/Director of Operations. Both bring with them considerable basketball experience and expertise and have confidence of being able to jumpstart operations for a successful team."

Hailey has over 30 years experience as a professional player and coach most recently having coached the ABA Tijuana team. Pryor is a professional basketball scout.

Hailey added, "We know it is late and that we have only a few months before the start of the season. But Mr. Kokkans and his investment group are helping us put together a very talented staff and providing great assistance. The city of Calgary is very excited though we haven't even made the official announcement and the calls and emails have been overwhelming. Ron and I are confident that we'll have one of the best operations in the league and appreciate the ABA letting us start this late. But we're moving ahead full steam."

Pryor added, "We haven't even had time to name the team. I think we'll have a Name the Team Contest and we are already scheduling some tryout camps and putting together our staff. We'll be making many more announcements shortly. But if you have a good idea for a team name, please email it to us; we'll award some season tickets to the winner."

For more information, call Otis Hailey at (306) 249-3146 or email or call Ron Pryor at (469) 877-5282 or fax (817) 640-2012, email


City gets minor-pro basketball team

Calgary - The city has been awarded an American Basketball Association team, which will begin playing this fall.

Calgary is the 27th expansion franchise to be granted by the ABA for the upcoming season. Vancouver is also among the new clubs.

The league had seven teams last season.

Calgary businessman Spero Kokkans heads the local ownership group. Otis Hailey will serve as co-owner, president and general manager, while Ronald Pryor is vice-president and director of operations. The team will begin league play in November.

Hailey has over 30 years of basketball experience, most recently as coach of the Tijuana ABA team, while Pryor is a professional scout.

"The city of Calgary is very excited, though we haven't even made the official announcement, and the calls and e-mails have been overwhelming," Hailey said in a release. "Ron and I are confident that we'll have one of the best operations in the league and appreciate the ABA letting us start this late. But we're moving ahead full steam."

Pryor said there would be a contest to name the team.

with files from Canadian Press

ABA's Vancouver team announces head coach
June 19, 2004 - Vancouver, BC. John M. Brazier, Co-owner, CEO and Director of Basketball Operations of the new ABA Vancouver professional basketball team today announced the signing of Jim Harrick as Head Coach. According to Brazier, "Vancouver is a major league city and deserves a coach with major league credentials and ability - Jim Harrick fits both - and will help make Vancouver one of the premiere teams in the ABA."

Harrick had a 470-235 record in 23 seasons as a collegiate head coach. He has taken four schools to the NCAA Tournament. During his stints at Pepperdine, UCLA, Rhode Island and Georgia, Jim built outstanding teams, winning championships at each stop, and reaching the NCAA Tournament an amazing 16 times. His UCLA Bruin squad racked up 31 wins and captured the NCAA National Championship, gaining him honor as 1995 National Coach of the Year.

Harrick added, "This is a great opportunity for me. Vancouver is a first-class organization, the quality of play in the ABA is outstanding as is the coaching. Our team will be predominatly Chinese. We have great talent coming in - and we will be very competitive. This will be both fun and interesting and I am looking forward to the challenge."

ABA's Vancouver team appoints new CEO

June 3, 2004 - Vancouver, BC. John Probandt, Co-Owner of the ABA's new Vancouver professional basketball team today announced that John M. Brazier has been appointed CEO and Director of Basketball Operations. Probandt stated, "John provides us with the perfect combination of sportsman/businessman, a man who has had success in every endeavor in which he has been involved. He'll lead our organization well."

A native of Seattle, WA, Brazier attended the University of Washington where he played football and track. Upon graduation, he served two years in the U.S. Navy on a cruiser in the Pacific. Following his service, he entered the forest products industry and established Brazier Forest Industries that owned and operated sawmills, lumberyards, a door plant, and a laminating plant in Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii and British Columbia with sales offices in western Europe, Japan, Australia and Vancouver, B.C. Recently, Brazier joined Rising Star Holdings as Vice President of Marketing prior to being appointed CEO of the basketball operations.

Brazier added, "As you know, our team will be very unique with almost all of our players being Chinese. We've spent considerable time in China and have no doubt that we'll be very, very competitive. The talent is extraordinary. Vancouver is a great basketball city and deserves a high quality organization. I think fans will love the ABA style of basketball and will be very impressed with the quality of play. We're looking forward to the challenge."

For more information, log onto www.abalive or email John Brazier at or

League News

Jamian Lai to Head Team Operations

Vancouver BC. The new ABA Vancouver professional basketball team has announced that Jamian Lai will be its new President/GM of Basketball Operations. Lai will be responsible for overseeing team operations including scouting, marketing, merchandising and overall business development for the new team. Lai brings a strong international background in finance, marketing and media from the US and Asia. Lai studied at Harvard University and Beijung University and speaks both English and Chinese.

Vancouver team co-founder John Probandt stated, "Jamian has the idea background to successfully build our Vancouver team from both a local and global perspective. His international experiences in business development, marketing and media relations are important to achieve the global vision of our basketball organization."

"Jamian's global experiences and connections in the sports and entertainment world will help establish Vancouver and the ABA to fans around the world. Given his background, Jamian has the ability to bring a unique perspective with tremendous value to our franchise, fans, partners and the ABA," added Vancouver team co-founder Weiqing "Walter" Huang.

Lai stated, "I am very excited at this opportunity to put Vancouver basketball on the world map. We look forward to cultivating strong relationships with the local community, as well as bringing a truly international flavor to the ABA."

"We aim to build a winning team that will bring fun and excitement to basketball fans around the world, especially in Asia. Basketball growth has been impressive in China, and we believe there is enormous potential from both a talent and market outlook. I believe our team will represent the future direction of basketball and sports in the 21st century," Lai added.

Finally, Lai stated, "I believe Vancouver will enthusiastically welcome the fast-paced, thrilling brand of ABA basketball that is appealing and affordable to friends everywhere."

Vancouver is planning a press conference in the near future to announce the venue, personnel, coaching staff, team development and other details, including the new team name.

For more information and inquiries about the ABA Vancouver team, log onto or contact Jamian Lai directly at
John Probandt
Jamian Lai, President/GM


Calgary has been home to two former pro basketball teams. The Calgary 88's of the World Basketball League from 1988-1992 and the Calgary Outlaws of the National Basketball League in 1994.

The World Basketball League was founded as the International Basketball
Association in November 1987, but changed its name prior to the 1988 season.
The league allowed only players under 6'5" tall, changing the restriction to
6'7" in 1992.

Some of the feature players for the Calgary 88s' included Carlos Clark, Dave Henderson, Chip Engelland, Jim Thomas, Sidney Lowe, Perry Young and David Boone. Coaches for the team were Mike Thibault, 1988, Cory Russell, 1989 and    Roger Lyons, 1989 - 1992.

 A cornerstone franchise for the WBL, the 88's reached the league finals three times. Although the team never won a WBL title, Calgary posted the league's best regular season record in 1988, 1989, and 1991. In five seasons, the 88's went 151-78.


 Former Calgary 88s' player Sidney Lowe was head coach for Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timerwolves. Calgary teammate Chip Engelland is now a assistant coach with the Denver Nuggets.

The ABA had a number of memorable personalities. Many of these individuals are still involved in basketball today. Some are coaches, either in the NBA or at the college level. Others may be seen on television, describing NBA or college action for national television audiences.

Below are some rare photos of these ABA Alumni, as they appeared in their "wild" ABA days!

Bob Costas

NOW: Best sportscaster in television. Assigned to the 2000 NBA Finals, the 2000 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, and the1999 World Series (NBC).

THEN: Rookie radio and TV announcer for the ABA Spirits of St. Louis. Almost assigned by Marvin Barnes to wash Marvin's Rolls Royce in the St. Louis Arena parking lot.

Steve "Snapper" Jones

NOW: Basketball color commentator for NBC and the Portland Trailblazers.

THEN: High-scoring All-Star guard for the New Orleans Bucs, the Memphis Pros, the Dallas Chaparrals, the Denver Rockets, and the Spirits of St. Louis.

George Karl

NOW: Head Coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.

THEN: Guard for the San Antonio Spurs. Member of the ABA's All-Time "Big Hair Team."

Jim O'Brien

NOW: Head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Led the Buckeyes to a 1999 Final Four appearance.

THEN: A speedy guard for the Pittsburgh Condors, Kentucky Colonels, and San Diego Conquistadors, known as "O.B." Helped lead the Colonels to the 1973 ABA Finals.

Larry Brown

NOW: Recent coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. Current Head Coach of the Detroit Pistons.

THEN: Head Coach of the Carolina Cougars and Denver Nuggets.

George Irvine

NOW: Recent coach of the Detroit Pistons.

THEN: Sharpshooting Guard/Forward for the Virginia Squires.

Al Skinner & Julius Erving

Skinner -- Head Coach of the Boston College Eagles.
Erving -- Executive Vice President of RDV Sports (parent company of the Orlando Magic).

Erving & Skinner -- Teammates on two New York Nets ABA championship teams.

Len Elmore

NOW: Men's College Basketball Analyst for ESPN.

THEN: Forward/Center for the Indiana Pacers.

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