On February 2, 1967, pop singer Pat Boone, S. Kenneth Davidson and Dennis A. Murphy (who would later co-found the World Hockey Association) were awarded a team in exchange for $30,000. An earlier Oakland Oaks basketball team played in the American Basketball League in 1962, along with a baseball team that had played for nearly a half century in Oakland, with the latter and the ABA Oaks both using the oak tree and the acorn as its symbols.
The road to the championship was led by pioneering owner, S. Kenneth Davidson, who aggressively pursued top NBA talent Rick Barry and head coach Alex Hannum, signing them for an unprecedented $85,000 per year. His efforts drove a historic turnaround, from last place to first in one year. Unfortunately for Barry, he tore ligaments in his knee after colliding with Kenny Wilburn late in a game versus the New York Nets on December 27, 1968. He tried to return in January, but he only aggravated the injury and he subsequently sat out the rest of the season, only appearing in 35 games as a result. Regardless, the Oaks won 60 games on the season. In the playoffs, they narrowly escaped the Denver Rockets in the Semifinals, but swept the New Orleans Buccaneers in the Division Finals to advance to the ABA Finals versus the Indiana Pacers. After splitting the first two games, the Oaks won an overtime thriller 134–126 to take a 2–1 lead in the series. They then won the fourth game to set up a clinching opportunity in Oakland. In Game 5, the Oaks won 135–131 in overtime to clinch the series and win the ABA title Warren Jabali was named Playoffs MVP, scoring 21.5 points per game with 9.7 rebounds per game during the playoffs. In the nine playoff games in Oakland, the Oaks averaged just 3,401 attendance a game, with 30,615 total attendance, with the highest being Game 5 of the Finals that had 6,340 attending.
The Oakland Oaks were a charter member of the original American Basketball Association. Formed in February 1967 as the Oakland Americans, the team changed its name to the Oaks prior to play that fall.
Oakland – Washington D.C. – Norfolk
1967 – 1976 / American Basketball Association
1970 – 1976 / Virginia Squires
1969 – 1970 / Washington Caps
1967 – 1969 / Oakland Oaks
Oaks – Boone tries to change the team nickname to the “Jacks” (after former Oakland resident Jack London), but instead the nickname is changed to “Oaks” (the name of Oakland’s former Pacific Coast League baseball team).
ABA Championships 1
1971 – 1976 / Norfolk Scope
1970 – 1976 / Hampton Coliseum
1970 – 1976 / Richmond Coliseum
1971 – 1976 / Roanoke Civic Center
1969 – 1970 / Washington Coliseum
1967 – 1969 / Oakland Arena
1970 – 1976 / Earl Foreman
1967 – 1969 / Pat Boone
1975 – 1976 / Bill Musselman
1970 – 1975 / Al Bianchi
1968 – 1969 / Alex Hannum
1967 – 1968 / Bruce Hale
*Blue is this team’s history