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Kentucky Colonels of the American Basketball Association: The Real Story of a Team Left Behind Hardcover – October 31, 2011

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"There is no doubt in my mind that the Artis Gilmore, Dan Issel led 1975 ABA Champion Kentucky Colonels would have been heavy favorites to beat the Rick Barry, Jamaal Wilkes led Golden State Warriors in a Unification Title Series. I would have watched and cheered out loud for the ABA." --Julius "Dr. J" Erving

"The Kentucky Colonels franchise was among the best in professional basketball. They always had competitive teams with exceptionally talented players. Because of the large crowds, I always looked forward to playing in Freedom Hall." --Rick Barry

"An affectionate and authentic look at the late, great ABA from someone who truly lived it." --Bob Costas Broadcaster NBC Sports and Major League Baseball Network

About the Author

Gary P. West has simple criteria when it comes to writing books.

"I only take on a project that I will enjoy writing about and I only write about something I think people will enjoy reading," he says.

West grew up in Elizabethtown, Kentucky and attended Western Kentucky University before graduating from the University of Kentucky in 1967 with a journalism degree. At U.K. he was a daily sports editor for the Kentucky Kernel.

Later he served as editor for the nation's largest civilian enterprise military newspaper at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. From there he was employed in the corporate advertising office of one of the country s largest insurance companies, State Farm Insurance in Bloomington, Illinois, where he was a copywriter.

He returned to Kentucky in 1972 where he began an advertising and publishing business. Along the way, for twelve years, he was the executive director of the Hilltopper Athletic Foundation at Western Kentucky University, and provided color commentary for Wes Strader on the Hilltopper Basketball Network.

In 1993, he became the executive director of the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. He retired from there in 2006 to devote more time to his writing.

He is a freelance writer for several magazines in addition to writing a syndicated newspaper travel column, Out & About ... Kentucky Style, for several papers across the state.

Gary and his wife, Deborah, live in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Lloyd "Pink" Gardner was born in Louisville, Kentucky and raised in nearby Fairdale. To say he has roots in this small rural community outside the river city is an understatement. Fairdale High School, where he graduated in 1962, was built on his grandfather's farm. Little did he know that his life would be changed forever when Coach Forest "Frosty" Able cut him from the basketball team in 1958. From there it was off to Western Kentucky University where he was a manager and trainer for Hall of Fame coaches Ed Diddle and Johnny Oldham. After graduation in 1967, he volunteered part-time for the Kentucky Colonels and was a teacher for Jefferson County Public Schools. During the 1970-71 season he returned to the Colonels full-time. When the ABA took down the nets and closed the doors, Gardner returned to Fairdale High School where he served as a teacher, athletic trainer and assistant basketball coach.

During his career Gardner has accumulated five championship rings: 1975 Kentucky Colonels, 1983 Kentucky Bourbons Professional Softball, two as an assistant coach on Fairdale's 1990 and 1991 back-to-back state champion basketball teams and in 1994, as the head coach, he guided Fairdale to their third state title in five years.

After 19 years as an assistant coach and 14 years (1991-2005) as Fairdale s head basketball coach, Gardner hung up his whistle. He is the tournament director for the prestigious King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic that began in 1981.

Lloyd and his wife, Janet, live in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Acclaim Press; 1st edition (October 31, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935001825
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935001829
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 7.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #837,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Walker on September 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is great for all Colonel and ABA fans. It goes deep on the inside of how the Colonels won a title and how John Y Brown had to sell out his players and his team. Basketball is a business and it gives a lot of info on this side of the team. Good reading for all ABA fans!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For fans of the red, white and blue basketball league, this is a good read about a good team. A good team that disintegrated because the
NBA did not want that market. Great players like Gilmore,Issel, Dampier never got to show NBA what the Colonels as a team could have done.
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Format: Hardcover
Wow! What else can I really say. If you've read Terry Pluto's Loose Balls book on the ABA and know how good that definitive history of the league was, this book is just as good. It's the story of one of the ABA's best, and most interesting, teams in the Kentucky Colonels.

The book's main focus is on the individuals from the owners to the players. The chapters on individual seasons are interspersed throughout, have the standings usually upfront to give you a quick idea on how the season went and for the 1974/75 season there's a great short, but in-depth, game-by-game summary of that season's magical ABA Championship run by the Colonels.

The pics throughout are magnificent. Lloyd "Pink" Gardner who is the co-writer on this book was the Colonels' trainer so there was not only direct "he was there" access to the Colonels, but also some terrific color pics of game-used souvenirs including the very cool and colorful team's unis throughout the years.

Honestly, this is certainly up there as one of the best sports team histories ever written. If you're from Kentucky, you'll get all the references and individuals much more than I could. Even without that background in Kentucky hoops, I enjoyed learning about the deep history of the Kentucky high school and college basketball scene and its close association to the Colonels.
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Format: Hardcover
I was a teenager when the ABA was in full swing, living in Yorktown Virginia. Squires games at the Hampton Coliseum were a regular thing for me. Late nights with the transistor radio listening to the great Marty Brennaman call the games on WTAR. I lived the Squires and the ABA.

This was a great read. The pics and names brought back a flood of memories. As a Squires fan those memories were good (Erving, Scott, Gervin, Johnson, etc) and bad (that horrific final season). It's nice to be more familiar with the history of one of the stellar franchises of the league, the Kentucky Colonels.

Only gripe is that a bit closer looks from the editor would have been nice. The incident between Warren Jabali and Neil Johnson described early in the book could not have happened as it was. It says that Armstrong was with the Oakland Oaks and Johnson was with the Squires. This was impossible, as the Virginia Squires WERE the Oaks, who started in Oakland, moved to DC, then to Virginia. At the time that Johnson knocked Jabali into next week, Johnson was indeed with the Squires, but Jabali was in Denver.

Nate Thurman of the Warriors is spelled as "Thurmand", and most egregious of all.....Julius ERVING is spelled as IRVING.

Otherwise, I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves basketball, but especially those of us who loved and have fond memories of the late, great ABA.
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