Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

Project Tags

The Utah Stars were an American Basketball Association (ABA) team based in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

History prior to moving to Utah (1967–1970)

The team was founded as the Anaheim Amigos, a charter member of the ABA based in Anaheim, California. They played at the Anaheim Convention Center. The team's colors were orange and black. The Anaheim Amigos were founded by Art Kim, a Hawaii native who had long been active in basketball as a player, Amateur Athletic Union administrator and owner. The Amigos lost the very first ABA game to Oakland, 132-129. They finished their first season with 25 wins and 53 losses, good for fifth place in the Western Division but not good enough to make the playoffs.

The Amigos lost $500,000 in their first season, largely due to poor attendance; they only averaged 1,500 fans per game in a 7,500-seat arena. Kim realized he didn't have the resources to keep going and sold the team to construction company owner Jim Kirst, who moved the team as the Los Angeles Stars in 1968 and played at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, The franchise made an attempt to sign legendary center Wilt Chamberlain. Chamberlain did not sign with the Stars (though he did later coach the ABA's San Diego Conquistadors). With 33 wins and 45 losses, the Stars improved from their first season but again finished fifth in the Western Division and did not make the playoffs.

In October 1969 the Stars signed Zelmo Beaty away from the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, but Beaty had to sit out the season due to a one-year option held by the Hawks, which the Stars would not buy out for $75,000. First year players Mack Calvin and Willie Wise signed with the Stars. The Stars finished fourth in the Western Division with a record of 43-41, earning the first winning season in franchise history and a playoff berth. The Stars defeated the Dallas Chaparrals 4 games to 2 in the Western Division semifinals and bested the Denver Rockets 4 games to 1 in the semifinals before losing the ABA championship series 4 games to 2 to the Indiana Pacers. Kirst hadn't anticipated the fast turnaround, and didn't book the Sports Arena for several dates. They had to play several first and second round games in their old home in Anaheim, as well as at the Long Beach Sports Arena in Long Beach. This turned out to be their final game as the Los Angeles Stars.

Moving to Utah (1970–71)

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.