Baltimore Claws

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The Baltimore Claws was an American Basketball Association team. After the 1974-75 season, a group of Maryland businessmen bought the moribund Memphis Sounds franchise (which the ABA league officers had taken over midway through the previous season) and relocated it to Baltimore. After the league objected to the new owners' first choice of a nickname, "Hustlers," it was changed to "Claws."

Hustlers or Claws, the Baltimore team lasted all of three preseason games.

The team was to play the 1975-76 season at the Baltimore Arena. But almost immediately after the move, the franchise began to implode: missed paydays to players, scant meal money, and no rent payments to the city of Baltimore, which owned the arena. On Oct. 20, five days before the start of the season, the city padlocked the team's office at the arena and the ABA ordered the franchise shut down, its players to be distributed to the nine surviving teams in a dispersal draft. (Before going their separate ways, the former Indiana Pacers star Mel Daniels recalled in Terry Pluto's book "Loose Balls," players were allowed to take equipment and furniture from the team office in lieu of payment.)

The collapse of the Claws began a chain reaction that, in short order, sparked the dissolution of the San Diego Sails (the rechristened Conquistadors) and Utah Stars early in the season, abruptly shrinking the 10-team league to seven.

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