Chicago Steam vs. Team Lithuania at Fosco Park | Photo
The ABA once competed with the NBA before its merger in 1976, which I'm old enough to vaguely remember. These days that league's heyday represents a kind of free-spirited, funky era in professional sports where locker room weed, massive 'fros and team astrology were all in the mix (see Will Ferrell in Semi-Pro or Dr. J in The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh.) This year's NBA lockout was almost a win for a new upstart ABA, which, this past weekend, kicked off the 2011 pro season in Chicago. How the league can be called the ABA after the ABA was merged I do not know, but intend to find out. With no NBA this year, it would have been interesting to see if the ABA got bumped up to some bigger venues. I've yet to see an ABA game, but I'm intrigued—especially by the cheap tickets. This weekend, the Chicago Steam ("2008-2011 Midwest Regional Champions of the American Basketball Association") took on the Team Lithuania (not the Gem City Hall of Famers as I reported earlier) on two nights this weekend. Getting box scores on these games is tough if you weren't in the room—but via Facebook, it looks like the Steam took the Famers both nights (125-81, 132-116), Sam Mack led the team with 29 pts and 8 rbs at Fosco. The wins give the Steam a 5-1 record on the season thus far. The team fell to the Milwaukee Blast back in November, but otherwise, we're often to a strong start. The Chicago Steam is back Saturday, Dec. 10, 5:30 pm, South Suburban College.