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Pro basketball in Texas was a wasteland in 1973. The Rockets, who had moved to Houston from San Diego two years earlier, won a mere 33 games—16 fewer than they lost. The only other pro team was the sad-sack Dallas Chaparrals, who were part of the upstart American Basketball Association. Their mediocrity on the court was matched by the indifference of spectators; oftentimes, just a few hundred showed up. Hoping to expand the fan base, the team had changed its name in 1970 to the Texas Chaparrals and scheduled games in Fort Worth and Lubbock. That didn’t help, and a year later it went back to its old name and its old stomping grounds—though not for long. When the Chaps played their final game in…
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