Despite a promising young roster, the Stars were more or less an afterthought in a market whose first choices were the Los Angeles Lakers and UCLA Bruins; they only averaged 2,500 fans per game. In June 1970, Kirst sold the team to Colorado cable TV pioneer Bill Daniels, who moved the team to Salt Lake City as the Utah Stars. Zelmo Beaty suited up for the team and the Stars finished second in the Western Division with their best record yet, 57 wins and 27 losses.
The Stars defeated the Texas Chaparrals 4 games to none in the first round of the playoffs, beat the Indiana Pacers 4 games to 3 in a fiercely contested semifinal series, and edged out the Kentucky Colonels 4 games to 3 in another fiercely contested series, this time for the ABA championship.
Despite the Stars’ demise, Salt Lake City had proven it could support big-time professional basketball. With this in mind, in 1976 the owners of the Spirits of St. Louis announced that they were moving the team to Utah for the 1976 – 1977 ABA season, to play as the Utah Rockies. However, this was undone when the ABA–NBA merger closed in June 1976 and the Spirits and the Kentucky Colonels were the only two teams left out of the merged league. (The Virginia Squires were folded shortly after the end of the regular season due to their inability to make good on a required league assessment, though there was no chance of them being part of a merger deal in any event).
The Utah Stars were an American Basketball Association (ABA) team based in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. Under head coach Bill Sharman the Stars were the first major professional basketball team to use a pre-game shoot around.
Anaheim – Los Angeles – Salt Lake City
1967 – 1976 / American Basketball Association
1970 – 1975 / Utah Stars
1968 – 1970 / Los Angeles Stars
1967 – 1968 / Anaheim Amigos
Stars – The team brought the nickname “Stars” with them when they moved from Los Angeles to Utah.
ABA Championships 1
Who is the greatest Utah Stars?
1970 – 1975 / Salt Palace
1968 – 1970 / Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
1967 – 1968 / Anaheim Convention Center
1975 / Snellen M. Johnson and Lyle E. Johnson
1974 – 1975 / James A. Collier
1970 – 1975 / Bill Daniels
1968 – 1970 / Jim Kirst
1967 – 1968 / Art Kim
1975 / Tom Nissalke
1974 – 1975 / Bucky Buckwalter & Tom Nissalke
1973 – 1974 / Joe Mullaney
1971 – 1973 / LaDell Andersen
1969 – 1971 / Bill Sharman
1967 / Al Brightman/Harry Dinnel
*Blue is this team’s history