ABA Spurs Fan Memories

August 24, 1974 letter to Mr. Val Montalvo - click to enlarge (courtesy of Adam Montalvo)

MEMORIES OF ADAM MONTALVO: "When the Spurs came to San Antonio, the San Antonio Light newspaper sponsored a contest to "name your new professional basketball team." I remember my father sitting at a table drinking a Schlitz beer, thinking up potential names and colors. My father and I think two other people sent in the name "Spurs." I want to share a copy of the letter my father got from Jack Ankerson, General Manager of the Spurs. It is dated August 24, 1973 - as a reward for his suggestion of the nickname "Spurs," my father received two tickets to their very first game at HemisFair Arena on October 10, 1973.

My brother and I worked selling souvenirs at the Hemisfair Arena and have many, many memories. I remember that after the games my dad used to go to the "Spurs Corral" which was a bar. In the meantime, my brother and I played on the court with Terry Stembridge's little son and sometimes George Gervin's kid (we called him "Ice Cube"). Sometimes wewould just go to the back of the arena by the back door to the dressing rooms, and wait for the players to come out to sign autographs. I still have ABA pennants, posters and ticket stubs."


MEMORIES OF WAYNE WITT: "The 1975 ABA all-star game was hosted by the Spurs in San Antonio. Does anyone remember the featured performer at the gala held the night before the game? And, does anyone remember the guest speaker at the game-day all-city banquet?

The singer, known regionally at the time but not necessarily nationally, was Willie Nelson. The speaker at noon on gameday, Joe Namath."

MEMORIES OF FRED ELIAS: "I remember going to see the 1975 ABA All-Star Game held at the now-demolished HemisFair Arena. I could not believe San Antonio was hosting a pro basketball All-Star Game, period. The thing I remember most was that after the game, the players were not rushed to leave the floor and go to their locker rooms. There was such a relaxed attitude between the fans and the players, that the fans were allowed to walk out onto the floor to greet and meet the players. I was one of the lucky fans to be sitting within a few rows of the court and recall just walking onto the floor shaking hands and getting a few autographs from the All-Stars. The police, arena personnel, and PA announcer never said a word."

MEMORIES OF HUGH POLAND: "I grew up in San Antonio, and remember well the Spurs of the ABA. As a young fan I had all their stats memorized. I saved pictures and press clippings, and collected autographs. Somewhere I have a hoard of Spurs programs and a stack of the official ABA Spurs Newspaper ("Courtside"), published every two weeks during the 1975-76 season. San Antonio didn't really have any big-league sports teams until the Spurs. They always came up short in the playoffs (against the hated Pacers and the Nets), but it wasn't due to lack of heart. Here is one of the stranger memories I have of watching the Spurs in the old HemisFair Arena. One of their more famous fans was "Dancing Harry." Dancing Harry was one of the more popular "Baseline Bums." He cheered noisily for the Spurs, danced the "Cotton-eyed Joe" during timeouts, and berated anyone connected with the visiting team. At one home game I attended, "Dancing Harry" got married at mid-court. It was the first time I saw a halftime where nobody got up from their seat."

MEMORIES OF RANDY ROTH: ""I was just a kid during the Spurs ABA years, but I have vivid memories. The first is when we were sitting front row for a Spurs regular season game. My dad's company was a corporate sponsor - otherwise we never would have been able to afford those seats. During the game George Karl took a charge and slid backwards right into my feet. He got the call, jumped up, and gave me five. A very cool memory for a 6-year old. I also remember the 1975 All-Star game, my dad was a "host," or tour guide, or whatever you want to call it. Anyway, he took George McGinnis out to dinner with our family. It was amazing! I loved the Iceman, Special K, Captain Late, the Whopper, and Sven. I am now a lifelong Spurs fan, I was a fan during the Iceman 80's, with Olberding, Corzine, and Johnny Moore, through the down years when Alvin Robinson was our best player, through the David Robinson Sean Elliot era, and now in the Duncan, Parker, Ginobili years. GO SPURS!"

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