1968/69: After a successful first season in Minnesota, the Muskies moved to Miami and became the Miami Floridians. Playing their games at the famous Miami Beach Convention Center, the Floridians beat the New Orleans Buccaneers in their first home game 123-109 on November 6th, after winning three of their first five games on the road. One of the side shows at Miami Floridians games were ball girls in bikinis who helped pave the way for future cheerleaders and dance squads in the NBA. The Floridians needed a distraction as they struggled, early in the season and sat with a record of 9-17 on December 19th. As the New Year arrived they would begin to turn things around powered by a six game winning streak. Miami would put together two more six game winning streaks in February as they climbed over .500. The Floridians would go on to finish in second place with a solid record of 43-35. In the playoffs the Floridians would return to Minnesota to take on the Pipers, who moved to the Twin Cities after they left. The series would be a hard fought seven game battle with Miami advancing to the Eastern Division Finals with a 137-128 win in Game 7 at the Convention Center. However, in the Division Finals the Floridians would dig a deep hole as the Indiana Pacers took the first three games. The Floridians would win Game 4, to avoid the sweep, but in the end the Pacers would take the series in five games.
1969/70: In their second season the Floridians played most of their home games at Diner Key Auditorium, which was a disaster from the start as the former aircraft hangar had no air conditioning leading to stifling conditions. Once again the Floridians would get off to a slow start, losing 15 of their first 20 games. This would lead to the dismissal of Coach Jim Pollard. Under new Coach Harold Blitman the Floridians would not do any better as they floundered in last place and limped their way to an awful 23-61 season. Following the season, the Floridians would get new ownership as the team was sold to Ned Doyle. Doyle’s first move was to break the old rule of being able to fire an entire team, as every player was either traded or released while Coach Harold Blitman kept his job.
1970/71: In addition to completely overhauling the roster, the Miami Floridians became a regional team with a unique new color scheme black, magenta and orange. Simply called The Floridians the team would play games throughout the sunshine state. While Coach Harold Blitman survived the initial purge, he would not survive another slow start from the Floridians, as he was dismissed in January as the Floridians held a record of 18-30. Though they would continue to struggle under new Coach Bob Bass, the Floridians would finish the season strong, posting a seven game winning that would propel them into the playoffs as they finished the season in fourth place with a record of 37-47. After the dropping the first two games on the road against the Kentucky Colonels, the Floridians would hang tough at home, winning Games 3 and 4. However, in the end the Colonels were too strong as they took the series in six games.
1971/72: In their fourth season the Floridians reduced their home courts this time just splitting their games between Miami and Tampa. Slow starts continued to be a tradition of the Floridians, as they held a 12-19 record on December 13th. The Floridians would continue to struggle into February as they continued to sit below .500 at 21-34. However, for the season straight season the Floridians would finish the season strong, as they again slipped into the last playoff spot in fourth place with a record of 36-48. One key moment as a 116-115 win in overtime on the road against the Carolina Cougars on March 24th. The Floridians would beat out the Cougars by one game for that last playoff spot. However, in the playoffs the Floridians would be swept by the Virginia Squires. Following the season with continued poor fan support, Owner Ned Doyle decided to cut his loss and fold the Floridians. The Floridians players would be distributed in a dispersal draft. However, the Floridians planted the seed for professional basketball in Florida that nearly 20 years later would lead to the NBA adding two expansion teams, one in Orlando and one in Miami.
©MMXII Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the American Basketball Association. This site is not affiliated with the Miami Floridians or the ABA. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on August 9, 2012. Last updated on August 9, 2012 at 12:30 am ET.