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The purpose of this project is collect all of the Geni profiles of those who played with the Memphis franchise of the American Basketball Association (ABA) from the start of the 1970-71 season to the end of the 1974-75 season.

History

The team started out as the New Orleans Buccaneers, a charter member of the ABA.

Memphis Pros (1970-1972)

On August 21, 1970, the team was sold to Mississippi businessman P. W. Blake. Ten days later, he moved the team to Memphis and changed its name to the Memphis Pros, reportedly because the already purchased 'Bucs' uniforms could easily be converted to 'Pros' uniforms at little expense.

Memphis Tams (1972-1974)

On June 13, 1972, the team was purchased by Charles O. Finley, who also owned Major League Baseball's Oakland A's and the NHL's California Golden Seals. Finley also took over the team's debts. Legendary former University of Kentucky head coach Adolph Rupp became team president. The winning entry in a "Rename the Team" contest was the Memphis Tams, perhaps one of the few entries that could be said to have been even less likely than "Pros." The nickname was an acronym for Tennessee - Arkansas - Mississippi, and the logo was a tam o'shanter-style hat in white, green and gold, which were also the new team colors, shared with the Athletics and Golden Seals.

Memphis Sounds (1974-1975)

It soon became apparent that the Tams were not high on the list of Finley's priorities. Amenities like programs began to disappear, and morale suffered as players began to wonder if they would receive paychecks and if they would clear the bank when they did. After two seasons of this, the ABA stepped in and took control of the team. ABA Commissioner Mike Storen resigned his position with the league to take over the operation and run the team in Memphis.

Storen lined up several notable local figures as co-owners of the new team including musician Isaac Hayes and Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson. Storen named the new team the Memphis Sounds and developed a new red and white color scheme and logo.

Storen cleared out the former Tams roster and brought in veteran players such as Mel Daniels, Freddie Lewis, Roger Brown, Chuck Williams, Collis Jones, George Carter, Rick Mount and Julius Keye. The only player who had played for the Tams who appeared in uniform for the Sounds was Larry Finch, a local favorite because he had played college basketball at Memphis State University.

The Sounds, coached by Joe Mullaney, finished the 1974-75 season with a record of 27-57, which was good for fourth place in the Eastern Division and a spot in the 1975 ABA Playoffs. Unfortunately for the Sounds, their first round opponent was the Kentucky Colonels, who had won the Eastern Division and defeated the Sounds 4 games to 1 en route to winning the 1975 ABA Championship.

Aftermath

The team's elimination by the Colonels would be the last meaningful game that the franchise would play. Although the 1974-75 season saw the highest attendance figures during the team's stay in Memphis, both Wilson and Hayes were having financial troubles that required them to sell their shares. After the 1974-75 season the ABA franchise was sold to a group of businessmen in Baltimore, Maryland who used it to create a team that was first briefly known as the Baltimore Hustlers and then the Baltimore Claws. However, the team had serious financial problems and collapsed before the season started, playing only three exhibition games in its brief history.

Not long after the Claws folded, the San Diego Sails and then the Utah Stars folded early in the 1975-76 regular season, abruptly shrinking the league from 10 teams to 7. The failure of those franchises was a factor behind the ABA-NBA merger in the summer after the 1975-76 season ended.