Aurora Deiri - You Got Game
Texas FUEL Creates an ABA History Showcase Honoring Local ABA
The American Basketball Association's official San Antonio franchise, Texas FUEL, will make certain that the history of the ABA in the city of San Antonio will be honored. The franchise has created a permanent display case for ABA Professional Basketball history and community involvement with the new ABA.
In the Plaza Club on the top floor of the new Frost Bank building, the sports memorabilia and ABA legends showcase will prominently feature an official red, white, and blue ABA basketball, signed by past and present ABA stars.
Out of nearly a hundred teams nationwide, the professional Texas FUEL ABA basketball team, founded in 2008 as a Southwest Division team of the ABA Western Conference, has twice received the ABA Service Award. The franchise has also received numerous other awards, including the key to the city of San Benito. "The FUEL has been part of the ABA for many years ... (and) probably is #1 in the ABA when it comes to community involvement," according to ABA CEO Joe Newman.
The FUEL team worked with the ABA and the International Reading Association (IRA) to collect and donate over 8,000 books for San Antonio nonprofit organizations, after a fun "Buckets for Books" contest for 20,000 teachers at the IRA's national convention.
Teachers and students are encouraged to earn free tickets for ABA games by enrolling in the Fast Break for Reading program on ABAlive.com, as seen on Delia Guajardo's Community TV with Texas FUEL's fast break forwards.
Most recently, the Texas FUEL team cosponsored a fifty-state national golf tournament, "Rounds Fore Warriors." The event to benefit Final Honors for United States Military Veterans, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, and the Life Is for Giving Foundation was cosponsored by Judy Alva, Melissa Butts, and Aurora Deiri of Asea, a cellular health company.
Texas FUEL events Sports Legends co-chair and the very first Sports Legend honored in San Antonio by the ABA's Texas FUEL, Mike "Sugar” Gale played with the ABA Kentucky Colonels before coming to the Spurs as #12. Gale assisted Texas FUEL in creating the first Sports Legends Charity Golf event at Sonterra in 2011. "Sugar" Gale assisted the FUEL in selecting Mike Mitchell as another Sports Legend after his untimely death from cancer.
The team worked closely with Mike's widow, Diana Mitchell, and her son, Mike Jr., along with Roger and Delores Martin of Sonterra, to enlist the support of local basketball greats Mark Oberdink, Sean Elliott, and Johnny Moore in creating a Mike Mitchell Memorial Scholarship for the SAISD Foundation. The Mitchells and Martins went on to raise over $25,000 with the subsequent golf tournament that included David Robinson and George Gervin. For their generous contributions of time and talent, the Mitchell and Martin family names will be included on a plaque in the trophy case, along with many of the 60 for 60 Community Partners who are assisting the new ABA to leave a lasting legacy in the River City.
A huge inspiration to young ABA athletes, the 6'7" former ABA/NBA Basketball Hall of Fame star "Iceman" George Gervin has also been honored by the ABA's Texas FUEL. Current FUEL members are often seen practicing at the Gervin Center.
Gervin having played with the original ABA for the Virginia Squires and the Spurs, his Texas FUEL Sports Legends trophy was on display at an ABA game in the Alamo Convocation Center during the NBA lockout, in which former Spur George Hill played for the FUEL as #3.
George Hill's Rising Stars youth basketball teams have been an inspiration to Texas FUEL. Many of the FUEL athletes have given back by assisting Hill or Tony Parker with youth training in basketball camps and clinics around San Antonio.
The ABA team began work on a documentary, "Late in the Game," in early 2012 with help from the Fiesta Film Commission, Branded Outlaw Films, and Alamo City Photography. This year, the School for Inquiry and Creativity also filmed for the project.
In 2013 at the Dominion Country Club with Sports Legends Charity Golf, the FUEL honored Basketball Hall of Fame Legend Nevil "The Shadow" Shed, from the 1966 NCAA Championship University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) Miners team featured in the film “Glory Road.” Nevil and the NCAA Champion Miners have been featured on a box of Wheaties. Shed's college jersey was recently retired; 2016 will mark the 50th anniversary of the championship game. "The Shadow" acted as GM and Assistant Coach for the FUEL's 2013-14 ABA season, donating many signed basketballs and photographs for team events to support local charities.
The teams honorary 2014 Sports Legend was "the original Spur," Coby Dietrick. A 6'10" forward/center from San José State University, Coby played thirteen seasons (1970–1983) of professional basketball in both the American Basketball Association and the National Basketball Association. He spent the majority of his career with the San Antonio Spurs, a team that began in the ABA but joined the NBA after the ABA-NBA merger in 1976. He also played with the Chicago Bulls. Coby retired in 1983, a true legend from the original ABA, and was honored as a Texas FUEL ABA Sports Legend in conjunction with Chipping for Charity and the Dominion Rotary Club last fall.
Johnny Moore has been named the 2015 Sports Legend. He is currently head coach with the ABA Laredo Swarm, set to play against the Texas FUEL again this fall. Moore distinguished himself in professional basketball by leading the league in assists and then pulling off ten steals in a single game. His Spurs #00 jersey has officially been retired.
The relationship between the ABA and the NBA has never been better.
"The San Antonio Spurs and superstar George ‘Iceman’ Gervin, were the heart and soul of the original ABA," stated ABA co-founder Joe Newman. "Along with the Indiana Pacers, New Jersey Nets, and Denver Nuggets, the Spurs could be credited with ‘saving’ the NBA. Having the new ABA represented so well by Aurora Deiri and the Texas FUEL extends the tradition of the red, white, and blue ball in San Antonio and serves as a constant reminder of the legend of the Gervin led Spurs."
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