Freddie Lewis and Bob Netolicky on what NBA payments mean

INDIANAPOLIS — A degree guard, middle and energy ahead performed with a red-white-and-blue basketball. They blazed a path on a shiny hardwood court docket in a fast-paced league with flashy strikes, halftime shenanigans and gamers product of true grit.

The purpose guard was Freddie Lewis. The middle was Mel Daniels. And the facility ahead/middle was Bob Netolicky.

All three males gave their may, their expertise and their careers to the American Basketball Affiliation, most of their seasons with the Indiana Pacers. The ABA lasted 9 years. The three gave almost 27 mixed years to the ABA.

When it was over, Lewis grew to become a coach and college instructor in Washington, D.C. Netolicky labored 25 years within the auto public sale business. And Daniels was a coach and NBA entrance workplace advisor.

Not one of the three made hundreds of thousands in basketball. Not even lots of of 1000’s. However all three had been promised pensions when the NBA merged with the ABA in 1976, absorbing 4 of its groups.

ABA legends Bob Netolicky, from left, Mel Daniels, and Freddie Lewis share some laughs from the suites, before the Pacers vs the Bulls basketball game at Bakers Life Fieldhouse, Wednesday, April 25, 2012.  Kelly Wilkinson / The Star

The pensions did not come instantly. Years handed. Then a long time. The clock stored ticking and all three males, as they waited for the cash, had been vocal advocates, pushing the NBA for the pensions.

When the NBA voted in June to provide recognition funds to 115 former ABA gamers — almost 50 years after the leagues merged — Lewis and Netolicky had been there to see it. Daniels, the fiercest ABA participant advocate for the pensions, died in 2015, nonetheless doing every thing he might to get his “brothers of the ABA” cash.