Mike Storen, 84, Dies; Ran a Basketball League and Three Groups

Mike Storen, a peripatetic sports activities govt who, throughout the transient lifetime of the upstart American Basketball Affiliation within the 1960s and ’70s, ran three groups and was the league’s commissioner, died on Could 7 in Atlanta. He was 84.

The trigger was issues of a uncommon type of most cancers, mentioned his daughter, Hannah Storm, an anchor for ESPN’s SportsCenter.

When Mr. Storen was employed by the Indiana Pacers as its normal supervisor in 1967, the A.B.A. was about to start out its inaugural season as a flashy different to the older Nationwide Basketball Affiliation. It used a patriotic crimson, white and blue ball and adopted the three-point area objective, from not less than 25 ft from the basket.

He had no expertise in expertise analysis however had some basketball expertise, having held jobs within the N.B.A. with the Baltimore Bullets (now the Washington Wizards) and the Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings).

“Our greatest drawback now’s considered one of time,” Mr. Storen mentioned at a information convention to announce his hiring by the Pacers. “We don’t have any ballplayers, we don’t have movies on the highest school prospects, we don’t even have an workplace.”

Working at first from the again of a jewellery retailer in Indianapolis, he started to construct the crew. He signed Roger Brown, a highschool sensation from Brooklyn who had been blacklisted by the N.B.A. for his ties to a infamous gambler and was working in an vehicle plant in Dayton, Ohio; traded for the middle Mel Daniels, a fantastic rebounder, in 1968; and employed Bob Leonard, known as Slick, to be the coach.

Mr. Storen displayed crafty as nicely. In 1969, each the A.B.A. and the N.B.A. coveted Lew Alcindor (later generally known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), the sensational middle from U.C.L.A.

To lure Alcindor (if to not the Pacers, then to a different A.B.A. crew) Mr. Storen concocted a scheme he known as Operation Kingfish. It included growing a psychological profile of Alcindor, hiring a personal detective to comply with him and attempting to get Howard Hughes to place up $1 million to signal him in alternate for syndicated TV rights.

However Mr. Hughes by no means met with them, and Alcindor signed with the N.B.A.’s Milwaukee Bucks.

Nonetheless, the Pacers improved beneath Mr. Storen and received the 1970 A.B.A. championship, however he left every week later for an additional A.B.A. crew, the Kentucky Colonels, as their president and normal supervisor. “I’m not the least involved concerning the means of the A.B.A. to outlive, it doesn’t matter what,” he mentioned confidently on becoming a member of the Colonels.

The Colonels turned a dominant crew as nicely, partly as a result of Mr. Storen outbid different groups for the draft rights to the center Artis Gilmore, who, together with the ahead Dan Issel, fashioned the nucleus of the crew that received the 1975 A.B.A. title. However by then Mr. Storen had additionally left that crew after a dispute with the proprietor, John Y. Brown.

Mark Storen Jr. was born on Sept. 14, 1935, in Michigan Metropolis, Ind. His father was a lawyer and a decide. His mom, Marion Lois (Riley) Storen, was a trainer and a jail clerk. To differentiate Mark Jr. from his father, his household known as him Mike.

Mr. Storen graduated from the College of Notre Dame after which served 5 years within the Marines. After his discharge, he learn a newspaper article reporting {that a} younger N.B.A. crew, the Chicago Zephyrs, had offered solely 600 season tickets for the 1963 season. He known as the crew and acquired an appointment with considered one of its homeowners.

“I assured him that if he’d rent me, I’d promote 600 new ones on my own,” Mr. Storen told Sports Illustrated in 1974. He acquired the job as promotion director and moved with the crew to Baltimore, the place it was renamed the Bullets. He joined the Cincinnati Royals two years later as promotion and ticket gross sales director

By the point of the merger he had stepped down as commissioner, after lower than a 12 months within the job, to run the Memphis Tams, a financially-troubled A.B.A. franchise of which he was half proprietor. The Tams, renamed the Sounds, floundered additional, and Mr. Storen left the league in 1975.

Afterward, he held govt posts with the Memphis Southmen of the World Soccer League; the Atlanta Hawks of the N.B.A., the Houston Astros of Main League Baseball and the Georgia Power of the Enviornment Soccer League. He was additionally the commissioner the Continental Basketball Affiliation, the International Basketball Affiliation and the Indoor Skilled Soccer League — all of them minor leagues.

“My dad was essentially the most enthusiastic, loudest man within the room,” Ms. Storm mentioned in an interview. “However his sturdy persona led him to have quite a lot of jobs.”

Along with his daughter, he’s survived by his spouse, Lynn (Roberts) Storen; two sons, Mark and Stephen, who is named Duke; two stepdaughters, Susan Duncan and Lisa Roberts; 14 grandchildren; and a sister, Patricia Storen Weisflog. His marriage to Hannah Grasberger resulted in divorce.

Mr. Storen by no means retired. His most up-to-date job, in his 80s, was promoting sports activities caps at Lids sportswear retailers in Atlanta.

“He was on his ft 10 hours a day,” Ms. Storm mentioned, “telling sports activities tales.”

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