Pittsburgh to MinnesotaDespite the championship and strong attendance figures in Pittsburgh, the Pipers franchise left Pittsburgh after their 1968 ABA Championship and moved to Minnesota in 1968, becoming the Minnesota Pipers. Minnesota was left vacant when the Minnesota Muskies had trouble drawing people in the league’s first season and moved to Miami to become the Miami Floridians. The ABA league office was ...
History of the Pipers
The Minnesota Pipers were a professional basketball team that played in the American Basketball Association (ABA) from 1967 to 1968. The franchise was founded by Bill Erickson and is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They were one of the original 11 teams of the ABA when it began to play during the 1967-68 season, and they remained part of the league until its merger with NBA after their second season.
During their two-year stint as an ABA team, they had some success on the court, making it all way to the championship series against Oakland Oaks but ultimately losing 4–2 games in seven-game series. Despite this loss, many consider them one of the most successful expansion teams ever because they made playoffs both seasons while also having winning records both years, something few other expansion franchises have accomplished over the history of sports leagues worldwide.
Off the court, however, things weren’t so rosy for Pipers; financial difficulties forced them to move to Pittsburgh midway through the first season and were renamed Pittsburgh Condors. While still playing under the name “Pipers,” the team never returned to Minneapolis after relocation, although numerous attempts to do so; it eventually merged into NBA at the end of the second year without ever returning home city. This unfortunate ending has left fans wondering what could have been if they had stayed proper from the original plan to remain part of the Twin Cities community throughout their entire tenure as a professional basketball organization.
Pittsburgh – Minneapolis – Pittsburgh
1967 – 1972 / American Basketball Association
1970 – 1972 / Pittsburgh Condors
1969 – 1970 / Pittsburgh Pipers
1968 – 1969 / Minnesota Pipers
1967 – 1968 / Pittsburgh Pipers
Pipers – The Minnesota Pipers is a professional basketball team that has been part of the American Basketball Association (ABA) since 1967. The team's nickname, "Pipers," originates in the city of Minneapolis' longstanding association with music and culture.
Minneapolis was known as one of America’s most influential music centers during the 1950s and 1960s when jazz musicians such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Charles Mingus performed regularly at local clubs like The Flame Show Bar or The Purple Onion. It was also home to musical innovators like Prince, who helped popularize funk-rock fusion in the 1980s. With this strong connection to music, it's no surprise that Minneapolis would be chosen as a fitting name for an ABA franchise—the Minnesota Pipers!
The original owner of the franchise wanted his new basketball team to have a unique name that reflected both his hometown’s rich musical history and its vibrant cultural scene; thus, he chose “Pipers” after seeing some traditional Scottish bagpipes being played on television by members of Scotland Yard Pipe Band outside Buckingham Palace during Queen Elizabeth II coronation parade in 1953. From then out, they were officially known as “Minnesota Pipers."
Today fans still embrace their beloved mascot, Pee Wee Piper – an anthropomorphic pipe-playing character dressed up in kilts while cheering on their favorite ABA squad from courtside seats! Whether you are attending games at Target Center or just watching them from your couch – show your support for our beloved Minnesota Pipers by donning some blue & gold gear today!
ABA Championships 0
1967 – 1968, 1969 – 1973 / Pittsburgh Civic Arena
1968 – 1969 / Bloomington’s Met Center
1970 – 1972 / Metro Sports Haven Industries
1967 – 1969 / Gabe Rubin
To qualify as the greatest player for this team, the player must have played one season for this team. If not, we will remove the player.
* verifies that player has played for this team as an added player by a fan.
1971 – 1972 / Jack McMahon and Mark Binstein
1970 – 1971 / Jack McMahon
1969 – 1970 / John Clark and Buddy Jeanette
1968 – 1969 / Jim Harding and Vern Mikkelsen
1967 – 1968 / Vince Cazzetta
*Blue is this team’s history