Forgotten Franchises: The ABA’s Miami Floridians

The Miami Floridians, later just The Floridians, were an ABA team who lasted four years in Miami before the team folded. They started out as the Minnesota Muskies, a charter member of the ABA which played well but could not draw files. After one season, the Muskies moved Miami and changed their name to the Floridians.

1971-72 Topps Basketball Sam Robinson

Interestingly enough, one of the articles I read about the move to Miami had a quote from the owner where he admitted that he just wanted to stay solvent until the inevitable NBA merger happened. While he was right about the merger, I’m guessing it took quite a bit longer than he’d expected, because both he and the team were long gone by then.

After two seasons in Miami, the team was sold to new ownership who made a number of changes before the 1970/71 season. The team name was changed to “The Floridians” in an effort to make it a regional franchise. The entire roster of the team was turned over, with every single player being traded, sold or released. New uniforms were introduced, with the notable color combination of black, orange and magenta. Finally, the team introduced ballgirls who wore white bikinis.

None of this was enough to make the team a success. After the 1971/72 season an attempt was made to sell the team and move it to Cincinnati (where the NBA Royals were about to leave town for Kansas City). Financial backing fell through and the deal died… and the team soon followed. In June 1972, the league dissolved The Floridians along with the Pittsburgh Condors. Miami would not have another basketball team until the expansion Heat in 1988.

Well, that ended up being a short history. I’ll fill up a bit more space by talking about the card above.

For starters, the card says “FLORIDA” at the top, even though the team was never the “Florida” anythings.

Second, Sam Robinson never played for an ABA or NBA team other than The Floridians.

Third, I bought this card at a show in April just so I could use it in a “Forgotten Franchises” post, so please appreciate the no-expense-spared dedication I’m showing towards giving you the best blog experience possible. Meanwhile, my basketball card collection is growing by leaps and bounds, and is now so large that it no longer fits in a 9-pocket sheet! …Well, unless you double up two cards in each pocket, then it fits quite comfortably in a 9-pocket sheet.

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2 thoughts on “Forgotten Franchises: The ABA’s Miami Floridians

  1. Like you, I don’t have many basketball cards, but that is a beauty! I may have to seek one of those out…

  2. A YEAR AFTER THE FLORIDIANS FOLDED I WAS RIDING MY BICYCLE IN SOUTH END OF WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA, WHEN I STOPPED IN AT A CORNER STORE FOR A DRINK AND FOUND ABOUT 10 BOXES OF THESE CARDS UNSOLD SO IN DICKERING WITH THE OWNER HE GAVE THEM TO ME FOR $ 5.00 A BOX, THEN LATER THE NEXT YEAR I RETURNED AND FOUND ALMOST THE SAME NUMBER OF BOXES OF UNSOLD FOOTBALL CARDS … ONE OF THE VERY BEST DEALS I EVER FOUND.

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