The franchise was founded by Leonard Bloom as the ABA’s first—and as it turned out, only—expansion team. But a feud between Bloom and Peter Graham, manager of the city-owned 14,400 seats San Diego Sports Arena, led Graham to lock the newborn team out of the facility for two years. By the time the conflict was resolved in the fall of ...
After reaching the 1973 ABA Playoffs in their inaugural season, the Q’s seemingly pulled off a coup by paying center Wilt Chamberlain $600,000 to become their player-coach. But the Los Angeles Lakers sued to block their former star from playing for his new team. Relegated to a sideline role, Chamberlain was reduced to an indifferent, 7-foot-1-inch sideshow who once skipped ...
History of the Conquistadors
The San Diego Conquistadors were a professional basketball team that played in the American Basketball Association (ABA) from 1972 to 1975. The team was founded by Leonard Bloom, who wanted to bring a professional sports franchise to San Diego. The team's name was chosen as an homage to Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa, who led an expedition into what is now Panama and became known as "El Conquistador."
During their three-year tenure in the ABA, the Conquistadors had some success on the court. They made it to Western Division Finals during their first season but ultimately fell short against eventual champions Utah Stars. In 1973-74 they finished with a record of 43 wins and 37 losses, earning them third place in division standings, but they lost again in playoffs, this time against Denver Nuggets 4 games out of 7 series length. Despite these successes, however, attendance at home games remained low throughout their existence due largely due poor marketing efforts by the ownership groups and a lack of support from local fans.
Ultimately after 3 seasons playing for ABA, the financial situation became dire; the leading ownership group decided not to renew the contract with the league, thus forcing them to fold before starting the following season. Although brief, San Diego conquistadors left behind a legacy of being one of few teams to play for the American Basketball Association before merging NBA in 1976. Even though most people never heard about this forgotten franchise, today is still remembered fondly among those lucky enough to witness its glory days back early 70s.
1972 – 1975 / American Basketball Association
1975 / San Diego Sails
1972 – 1975 / San Diego Conquistadors
Conquistadors – The San Diego Conquistadors are a professional basketball team based in San Diego, California. The team is part of the American Basketball Association (ABA) and plays home games at the Valley View Casino Center. While many fans know that the team is named after Spanish conquistadors who explored much of Mexico and Central America during the 16th century, few may be aware of how this nickname came to be adopted by a modern-day basketball squad.
The story begins with an entrepreneur from Los Angeles named Dennis Murphy, who wanted to bring professional basketball back to his hometown in 1972. He purchased an ABA franchise for 50,000 dollars. He was looking for a suitable name when he stumbled across some old books about conquistador Hernán Cortés’s expedition into Mexico hundreds of years earlier. This inspired him so much that he decided on “Conquistadors” as his new franchise's name - thus beginning one of the sports' most unique nicknames!
Murphy also found inspiration from another source: pop culture icon Zorro – which means “the fox” in Spanish – whose mask resembled those worn by conquistador soldiers during battles against Native Americans centuries ago! With all these elements combined, it was only natural that Murphy would choose such an evocative moniker for his fledgling organization, something both culturally relevant yet still adventurous enough to capture people's imaginations!
Today, more than four decades later since they first took flight under their original owner/general manager, Dennis Murphy, the San Diego Conquistadores continue making history each time they take the center court– proudly representing not just their city but also our shared heritage as well through its timelessly fitting nickname!
ABA Championships 0
1974 – 1975 / San Diego Sports Arena
1973 – 1974 / Golden Hall
1972 – 1973 / Peterson Gym
1975 / Frank Goldberg
1972 – 1975 / Leonard Bloom
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.
1975 / Bill Musselman
1974 – 1975 / Alex Groza and Beryl Shipley
1973 – 1974 / Wilt Chamberlain
1972 – 1973 / K.C. Jones
*Blue is this team’s history