Today's Old School Design takes a few topics I've discussed over the last week or so and continues down that road, looking at some great ABA basketball cards from the very early 1970's. The ABA's style and flair was the thing of legend and these cards are great reminders of the long lost league. The image above is a set of Topps ABA basketball cards from 1972. The designs on these cards are true early 70's style. The psychedelic font and the bright primary colors dominate the designs. The Joe Hamilton cards features the one-day-to-be-San Antonio Spurs team, the Chaparrals. Mack Calvin's Floridians uniform features a color scheme like no other. I'm not sure why the Floridians logo appears on the card, as the logos are not on many of the cards from that year.
These cards are from the 1973 Topps basketball card set. The Squires card in the middle features the first appearance of the Doctor in the ABA with the Virginia Squires. This image of a young Dr. J is a classic shot of him in his earliest team colors preparing to shoot one of his many Hall of Fame jumpshots. This would be the last year you would see the Chaparrals, as they would become the San Antonio Spurs for the next season. In classic 1970's design style, the Bob Netolicki card features him in his Indiana Pacers colors from the previous season. You have to love the name Bob Netolicki! The cards once again feature bright 70's colors and thick stylish fonts. Is it just me or did the teams in the ABA have a little trouble with number spacing on their jerseys?
For 1974, the design of the Topps cards had become much more simple. Gone were the crazy fonts and bright primary colored backgrounds. The cards featured a much simpler design with a simple team name and a basketball and net graphic to the left with the player's position. The cards still featured great ABA imagery. It looks like each player was led into an empty room for their photo shoot. One oddity with this set's design is that the team name on the card was not necessarily depicted in team colors, but was featured in random colors. The Colonels never used yellow and the San Diego Q's were not blue. The Mike Gale card gives us a great example of the classic ABA hairstyle, which leads to the next image in our series.
Nobody will debate that the ABA featured some of the most interesting examples of male grooming in the history of professional sports. I think the images on these cards speak for themselves and give us a great look at the personal grooming styles of the early 1970's.
I hope you enjoyed this little trip down basketball memory lane, there's more like this to come in future Old School Design articles!