The Kentucky Colonels of the American Basketball Association

The Kentucky Colonels of the American Basketball Association

by Gary P. West




Kentucky Colonels of the American Basketball Association: The Real Story of a Team Left Behind gives an inside look at one of the most intriguing times in the history of professional basketball; and the city of Louisville and the state of Kentucky were enjoying every bit of it.

And then as quickly as the Colonels appeared, they were gone. They had been around just long enough to win a world championship and showcase not only some of the best basketball players in the history of the game, but also some of its most colorful characters.

Perhaps this book should have been written years ago, but there always seemed to be plenty of time. And then one day, a generation or two removed, someone asked what happened to that pro-basketball team back in the 60s and 70s?

BAM, it hits you. This book had to be written.

Here are never-before-told stories that only Lloyd "Pink" Gardner would know. He lived it and Gary P. West wrote it. A story of colorful owners with family connections to the Lindbergh kidnapping and Hope Diamond; sports agents who would do anything to sign players; a double murder and suicide; a businessman who thought he could do in basketball what he had done with Kentucky Fried Chicken; an insignificant T.V. deal that turned into hundreds of millions of dollars; a team that drafted a 5'6", 55-year-old college professor; and through it all still won a world championship.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781935001829
Publisher: Acclaim Press
Publication date: 11/30/2011
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Gary P. West has simple criteria when it comes to writing books.
"I only take on a project that I will enjoy writing about and I only write about something I think people will enjoy reading," he says.

West grew up in Elizabethtown, Kentucky and attended Western Kentucky University before graduating from the University of Kentucky in 1967 with a journalism degree. At U.K. he was a daily sports editor for the Kentucky Kernel.

Later he served as editor for the nation's largest civilian enterprise military newspaper at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. From there he was employed in the corporate advertising office of one of the country's largest insurance companies, State Farm Insurance in Bloomington, Illinois, where he was a copywriter.

He returned to Kentucky in 1972 where he began an advertising and publishing business. Along the way, for twelve years, he was the executive director of the Hilltopper Athletic Foundation at Western Kentucky University, and provided color commentary for Wes Strader on the Hilltopper Basketball Network.

In 1993, he became the executive director of the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. He retired from there in 2006 to devote more time to his writing.

He is a freelance writer for several magazines in addition to writing a syndicated newspaper travel column, Out & About ... Kentucky Style, for several papers across the state.

Gary and his wife, Deborah, live in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Lloyd "Pink" Gardner was born in Louisville, Kentucky and raised in nearby Fairdale. To say he has roots in this small rural community outside the river city is an understatement. Fairdale High School, where he graduated in 1962, was built on his grandfather's farm. Little did he know that his life would be changed forever when Coach Forest "Frosty" Able cut him from the basketball team in 1958. From there it was off to Western Kentucky University where he was a manager and trainer for Hall of Fame coaches Ed Diddle and Johnny Oldham. After graduation in 1967, he volunteered part-time for the Kentucky Colonels and was a teacher for Jefferson County Public Schools. During the 1970-71 season he returned to the Colonels full-time. When the ABA took down the nets and closed the doors, Gardner returned to Fairdale High School where he served as a teacher, athletic trainer and assistant basketball coach.

During his career Gardner has accumulated five championship rings: 1975 Kentucky Colonels, 1983 Kentucky Bourbons Professional Softball, two as an assistant coach on Fairdale's 1990 and 1991 back-to-back state champion basketball teams and in 1994, as the head coach, he guided Fairdale to their third state title in five years.

After 19 years as an assistant coach and 14 years (1991-2005) as Fairdale's head basketball coach, Gardner hung up his whistle. He is the tournament director for the prestigious King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic that began in 1981.
Lloyd and his wife, Janet, live in Louisville, Kentucky.

What People are Saying About This


Lloyd Gardner was a major part of the success of the Kentucky Colonels. Anyone who knows anything about the Kentucky Colonels and their history will tell you that. Lloyd had the perfect temperament to be a trainer, and the knowledge to get the players back after certain injuries, and the key thing of loyalty... to the players and the coaches. (Hubie Brown, Former NBA coach)

Rick Barry

The Kentucky Colonels franchise was among the best in professional basketball. They always had competitive teams with exceptionally talented players. Because of the large crowds, I always looked forward to playing in Freedom Hall. (Rick Barry, NBA Hall of Famer)

Julius "Dr. J" Erving

There is no doubt in my mind that the Artis Gilmore, Dan Issel led 1975 ABA Champion Kentucky Colonels would have been heavy favorites to beat the Rick Barry, Jamaal Wilkes led Golden State Warriors in a Unification Title Series. I would have watched and cheered out loud for the ABA. (Julius "Dr. J" Erving, NBA Hall of Famer)

Bob Costas

An affectionate and authentic look at the late, great ABA from someone who truly lived it. (Bob Costas, Broadcaster—NBC Sports and Major League Baseball Network)

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