Most remember the Flint Tropics as a team personified by financial misguidance, player-coach-owner Jackie Moon, and overall horrendous play.
What most do not remember, however, is that this franchise not only set the standards for organizational structure, but also should have been merged into the NBA.
First and foremost, Jackie Moon was a pioneer in sports entertainment. This is the man who brought a live grizzly bear into his basketball arena, choreographed landmark dance pieces, and, most importantly, orchestrated THE FLINT MICHIGAN MEGA BOWL.
Easily his most storied accomplishment to date.
On the court, the Tropics were no slouches either.
Granted, the first half of their 1976 season is among the most abysmal in sports history, it was their play after the ABA Owners meeting that marked this team's legacy.
Anchored by guard Clarence Withers (a.k.a Coffee Black, Downtown "Funky Stuff" Malone, Sugar Dunkerton, and "Jumping" Jonny Johnson), the only player on the roster to make the leap to the N.B.A., as well as former NBA champ and point guard Ed Monix, and Jackie Moon himself, the Tropics demolished every one in their path in the second half of the '76 season.
The Tropics' low post game, featuring Jackie Moon's deadly turnaround jumper and automatic free throw shooting, as well as giants Twiggy Munson and Vakidis, allowed Monix, Withers, Bee Bee Ellis, and Scootsie Double Day to thrive on the perimeter.
Despite meeting the qualifications for the NBA/ABA merger, and even after defeating the NBA's San Antonio Spurs (even without Clarence Withers for most of the game), the Tropics were backstabbed by Comissioner Alan Ault, and the NBA, and left out of the league.
Had Ault and the NBA lived up to their word, the Tropics could have become a force to be reckoned with in the association; however, Flint's majestic 1976 still remains as one of the great accomplishments of one of the greatest sports movie teams to ever step foot on the hardwood.