The Dallas Chaparrals were one of the original ABA teams. They never stood out for having great fan support nor for winning titles. The team made the playoffs five times in six seasons but only won a single playoff series. The Chaps suffered from poor attendance and moved to San Antonio in 1973 and became the Spurs.
Who were the Dallas Chaparrals?
The Dallas Chaparrals were one of the original 11 teams of the American Basketball Association. The team played in the first six seasons of the ABA.
The ABA was one of several upstart basketball leagues that challenged the NBA in the 1960’s. The league lasted nine seasons before four of its teams merged with the NBA.
The ABA was noted for its generally entertaining form of basketball. The league had a profound impact on basketball with innovations including the 3-point line and the dunk contest becoming part of the NBA.
The Dallas Chaparrals mostly played home games at the Moody Coliseum and the Dallas Memorial Auditorium. Two other ABA teams, the Carolina Cougars and the Virginia Squires, were regional teams – playing home games in multiple cities within a region.
In the 1970-1971 season the Chaps tried a regional approach, playing home games in both Lubbock and Fort Worth. For that season they changed their name to the Texas Chaparrals.
In Lubbock they played in the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum and in Fort Worth they played games at the Tarrant County Coliseum. The regional approach was a failure and the team returned to Dallas for their 5th and 6th seasons.
The Chaps lasted from the league’s first season in 1967-1968 until its sixth in 1972-1973. The team had neither great success on the court nor at the box office. If anything, they stand out for their mediocrity.
The Chaparrals made the playoffs in their first five seasons, but won only one playoff series in their existence.
The team had some good players but none that ever had their greatest success or were best known for their work on the Chaps.
The team moved to San Antonio after their sixth season and became the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs lasted through the end of the ABA and were one of four teams that joined the NBA.
Who owned the Dallas Chaparrals?
Dallas was one of the eleven cities chosen for the original ABA teams. James Peters and John Klug paid $30,000 on February 2, 1967 for the right to start one of the league’s franchises in Dallas.
Before the start of the ABA’s first season, the team was sold to businessmen David Bruton Jr.,Robert S. Folsom Jr, Joseph W. Geary, Graham R.E. Koch, James L. Embrey and Lawrence S. Pollock Jr.
The ownership group was noted for its collective wealth, but they also had a reputation for not spending very much on the team.
Some ABA teams spent ambitiously to try to sign their draft picks away from the NBA. The Chaparrals were not one of those free-spending franchises.
What was the Dallas Chaparrals logo?
I love both of the Chaparrals’ logos.
The team’s colors were red, white and blue. Their first logo is below. They used this logo for their first three seasons.
The bird in both logos is a roadrunner. Roadrunners are also called chaparral birds, so that makes sense.
You can see the team’s 2nd logo below with an outline of the state of Texas, the word Chaparrals, and a roadrunner playing with one of the ABA’s trademark red, white and blue basketballs.
The team used this second log their last three seasons.
How did they get the name Dallas Chaparrals?
The story of how the Chaparrals got their name seems hard to believe. It has been reported that the original owners were struggling to come up with a name for the team.
Rather than continuing to argue about it, they decided to name the team after the Sheraton Dallas Hotel conference room in which they were meeting: The Chaparral Room.
The word chaparral generally refers to a type of plant that grows in the Southwest. Whether the conference room, and thus the team, was named for the plant or the bird is unknown.
But, since the team chose the bird to be on their logo, it seems that the owners went in that direction once they had settled on the name.
The team was sometimes referred to simply as the Chaps.
What is the difference between the Dallas Chaparrals and the Texas Chaparrals?
There is no difference between the Dallas Chaparrals and the Texas Chaparrals. They are the same ABA franchise.
From the 1967-1968 season through 1969-1970 season, the team played home games exclusively in Dallas and they were known as the Dallas Chaparrals.
For the 1970-1971 season they changed their name to the Texas Chaparrals and started playing as a regional team like other ABA teams including the Virginia Squires and the Carolina Cougars.
As part of their plan to become a regional team, the Chaps started playing some home games in Lubbock and Fort Worth in addition to Dallas.
The plan was a total failure. Fan support in the other cities was worse than Dallas. Fewer than 200 fans showed up for the last home game in Fort Worth and the remaining games on the schedule for that city were switched back to Dallas.
After one season playing as the regional Texas Chaparrals, the team went back to playing only in Dallas. They switched their name back to the Dallas Chaparrals for the 1971-1972 season.
Were the Dallas Chaparrals good?
Below, you can quickly scan through the results for each of the franchise’s six seasons.
Ultimately, the answer to this question is that the Chaparrals were just okay. They were good enough to make the playoffs in their first five seasons.
But they were only good enough to win a playoff series in one season, and even then, they only won one series before being knocked out.
|Coach: Cliff Hagan||Regular Season Record: 46-32 (2nd Western Div.)|
|Western Division Semi-Finals||Def. Houston Mavericks 3-0|
|Western Division Finals||Lost to New Orlean Buccaneers 1-4|
|Coach: Cliff Hagan||Regular Season Record: 41-37 (4th Western Div.)|
|Western Division Semi-Finals||Lost to New Orleans Buccaneers 3-4|
|Coach: Cliff Hagan & Max Williams||Regular Season Record: 45-39 (2nd Western Div.)|
|Western Division Semi-Finals||Lost to Los Angeles Stars 2-4|
|Coach: Max Williams & Bill Blakely||Regular Season Record: 30-54 (4th Western Div.)|
|One Game Playoff for 4th place||Def. Denver Rockets 115-109|
|Western Division Semi-Finals||Lost to Utah Stars 0-4|
|Coach: Tom Nissalke||Regular Season Record: 42-42 (3rd Western Div.)|
|Western Division Semi-Finals||Lost to Utah Stars 0-4|
|Coach: Babe McCarthy & Dave Brown||Regular Season Record: 28-56 (5th Western Div.)|
|Not in Playoffs|
Who were the best players for the Dallas Chaparrals?
The Dallas Chaparrals best player was probably Cliff Hagan. Hagan was a Hall of Fame guard known for his physical style. He came out of retirement to play and coach the Chaps in their first season.
Hagan scored 40 points in the team’s first game ever. He continued to play well in the Chaparral’s first season, averaging 18 points per game.
He made the ABA All Star team that season becoming the first person to ever play in both the ABA and NBA All Star Games.
In writing about the Utah Stars, I discovered that Moses Malone was the best player to ever play for the team. But Big Mo was not one of the Utah Stars’ best players.
Malone only played one season in Utah when he was a rookie and the team was unraveling on its way to being disbanded.
Something similar is true for Cliff Hagan and the Dallas Chaparrals. He got into the Hall of Fame for his work in the NBA, not in the ABA.
And, while he had one pretty good season for the Chaps, Hagan was mostly done after that one year.
He played only 35 games in his 2nd season for the team and 3 games in his next and last season as a player.
The comparison of Cliff Hagan in Dallas to Moses Malone in Utah does not work perfectly, however.
Utah had a bunch of players who had great careers in Utah. They won a title together and several made the ABA All-Time Team for what they did in Utah.
The Chaps just didn’t have that many players who had great careers in Dallas. They had some great players. But, like Cliff Hagan, nearly all of them are known for what they did for other franchises.
Ron Boone was an iron-man guard who had two really good seasons for the Chaparrals. He was a surprise star as a rookie averaging 19 points per game and making the All -Rookie team.
But after a good second season for Dallas, the Chaps traded Boone to Utah in a multi-player deal.
Boone went on to win the ABA title with Utah that year. He had a great run with the stars and played well in the NBA after that. He set a basketball record by playing in 1041 straight games.
Boone made the ABA All-Time Team. But he made it mostly for his work in Utah.
Bob Netolicky was a center/power forward who had a great season for the Chaparrals in their last year. He scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the team, who failed to make the playoffs.
Netolicky made the ABA All Time Team as well. But it was not for his lone season in Texas. He made it for winning titles and being a big-time contributor for years with the Indiana Pacers.
James Silas was a quick guard who put up 16 points per game for his career. Silas also made the ABA All Time Team.
He played nearly his entire career for the franchise and had his number retired as well!
You’d think he’d easily be in the conversation for best Chaps player. But Silas played only one year for the Chaparrals.
His rookie season was his only one in Dallas. He stayed with the franchise, but the team moved. His number is retired in San Antonio where he spent almost all of his career.
While John Beasley did not make the ABA All-Time Team nor the Hall of Fame like some of these other players, he may have been the player who was consistently best for the Chaparrals.
Beasley averaged at least 16 points per game in each of the franchise’s first four seasons. He also grabbed at least 9 rebounds per game in those four seasons.
His best season was his first when he scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
Beasley made 3 ABA All Star games while on the Chaps and made 2 All-ABA 2nd teams for the team as well.
Cincinnatus “Cincy” Powell had similar stats to John Beasley. He scored about 20 points and grabbed about 10 rebounds per game for the first three years of the franchise’s existence.
Powell was a bit of an enforcer for the team as a 6’7” forward. But he could certainly score as well.
He was the team’s third leading scorer his rookie year, led the team in his 2nd season and was 2nd in scoring for the Chaparrals in his third and last season for Dallas.
Glen Combs was a 6’2” guard who could shoot from deep. After averaging 15 per game in his rookie season in ‘68-’69, he led the Chaps in scoring his second season averaging 22 per game.
But Combs was shipped off to Utah in the mistaken trade the Chaparrals made which also featured Ron Boone. Those two were key players for a championship team – but it was the Utah Stars, not Dallas.
What happened to the Dallas Chaparrals?
It was not unusual for ABA teams to struggle with attendance and move to new cities. The Anaheim Amigos became the LA Stars after one season and then became the Utah Stars two years later.
The same fate awaited the Chaps. The owners were understandably unhappy with attendance like the team was seeing at the end of the ‘72-’73 season where a reported 134 fans attended the Chaparrals’ last game.
Ownership looked to sell but found no buyers. Instead, the team was leased to a large group of San Antonio businessmen including Angelo Drossos and Red McCombs.
The San Antonio owners had three years to buy the team or return it. They moved the team to their city and renamed them the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs were a huge attendance hit and the owners used their option to buy the team permanently after one season. The Spurs have been playing basketball in San Antonio ever since.
The Spurs played three more seasons in the ABA before being one of four teams to join the NBA in the 1976 ABA-NBA merger.
Dallas did not get another ABA squad but they were awarded the expansion Mavericks in the 1980-1981 NBA season.
Check Out My Other ABA Articles
If you enjoy reading about the ABA, check out my other articles on the upstart league.
- Read about the single season of the Anaheim Amigos here.
- Read about the two years of the LA Stars here.
- Read about the title-winning Utah Stars here.
The Dallas/Texas Chaparrals
Read about the Mostly Dallas/Briefly Texas Chaparrals here.
Read about the disastrous Houston Mavericks here.
Read about the Carolina Cougars here.
Summary: Dallas Chaparrals
The Dallas Chaparrals were one of the original ABA teams. They played six seasons as the Chaparrals and never stood out on the court or in fan support. The team became the Texas Chaparrals for one season, attempting to create fan interest. That failed and they moved to San Antonio in 1973 and became the Spurs.
I have been a Boston sports fan for more than forty years. I write about games, players and seasons from the past.