Virginia Squires

Virginia Squires

Squires Timeline

1967

Oakland Oaks Team Formation

Founded in 1967 as the Oakland Oaks, a charter member of the ABA. The team colors were green and gold. An earlier Oakland Oaks basketball team played in the American Basketball League in 1962.

The Oaks were owned in part by pop singer Pat Boone.
1968

Signing of Rick Barry

They were probably noted more for a major contract dispute with the cross-bay San Francisco Warriors of the established National Basketball Association over the rights to star player Rick Barry than for any on-court accomplishments. Barry, a former NBA Rookie of the Year who led the Warriors to the NBA finals in 1966 - 1967, was so angered by management's failure to pay him certain incentive awards he felt he was due that he sat out the 1967 - 1968 season. He joined the Oaks in the following year, leading the franchise to its one and only ABA championship in 1968 - 1969.

However, even with Barry the team proved to be a very poor investment for Boone and his co-owners. Despite winning the ABA championship, the Oaks were an abysmal failure at the box office, due in large part to the proximity of the NBA Warriors who at the time were also playing some home games in Oakland and would eventually move to Oakland permanently in 1971. At one point they only drew 2,500 fans per game.
1969

Move to Washington D.C.

Facing foreclosure on a loan from Bank of America, Boone sold the team to Washington, D.C. lawyer Earl Foreman, who moved the team to Washington for the 1969 - 1970 season as the Washington Caps. The team colors of green and gold were retained, but the logo was a red, white and blue rendition of the United States Capitol. They played at the Washington Coliseum. However, for reasons that remain unknown to this day, they remained in the Western Division forcing them on the longest road trips in the league. Attendance was no better in Washington than it was in Oakland because the Coliseum was located in the Near Northeast neighborhood, and that was the hood back in the day. Miraculously, they managed to finish four games above .500, but lost in the first round to the powerful Denver Rockets.
1970

Virginia Team

Merger talks with the NBA were already underway, but a major stumbling block was the presence of the Caps in Washington. Baltimore Bullets owner Abe Pollin wanted to move his team to Washington, but didn't want the Caps there. The other ABA owners persuaded Foreman to move the Caps for the second time in as many seasons. Foreman decided to make the Caps a regional franchise, the Virginia Squires. The team would be based in Norfolk, and also played home games in Hampton, Richmond and Roanoke. However, Roanoke was dropped from the list of "home" cities after only one season. The Squires' colors were red, white, and blue.
1976

ABA-NBA Merge

While the trades may have provided enough short-term financing to keep the Squires in business, the loss of so much talent angered the fans. The Squires' attendance fell through the floor and never recovered. The Squires' final two seasons in the ABA were forgettable as the losses mounted and popular coach Al Bianchi was fired. The 1974 - 1975 and 1975 - 1976 teams went 15-69 (17.8%). It was the worst winning percentages in ABA history. The team was coming unraveled off the court as well. In 1974, Barry Parkhill sued the team after his paychecks bounced. The Squires nearly shut down for good in February 1976, but only managed to stay afloat by a sale of advertising banners and a $250,000 loan from a local bank. Even if the Squires had been on stronger financial ground, they stood no chance of being included in any ABA-NBA merger. "Regional" franchises were not considered viable, and none of the Squires' home cities were nearly big enough to support an NBA team.

On May 11, 1976 only a month after the end of the season the ABA canceled the franchise after it missed a $75,000 assessment. This cost the Squires a chance to be compensated as part of the merger, which closed only a month later.

Team Information Team History
 

City:
Oakland - Washington D.C. - Norfolk

Nickname:
Squires - A person of high social standing who owns and lives on an estate in a rural area, the chief landowner in such an area.

Arena:
Virginia
Norfolk Scope
1971 - 1976
Hampton Coliseum
1970 - 1976
Richmond Coliseum
1970 - 1976
Roanoke Civic Center
1971 - 1976

Washington D.C.
Washington Coliseum
1969 - 1970

Oakland
Oakland Arena
1967 - 1969

Owner:
Earl Foreman
1970 - 1976

Pat Boone
1967 - 1969

 

Established: 1967

League History:
American Basketball Association
1967 - 1976

Team History:
Virginia Squires
1970 - 1976

Washington Caps
1969 - 1970
Oakland Oaks
1967 - 1969

ABA Championships: 1
1968 - 1969

Coaches:
Bill Musselman
1975 - 1976
Al Bianchi
1970 - 1975

Alex Hannum
1968 - 1969
Bruce Hale
1967 - 1968

  *Red is this team's history

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