The inaugural red, white and blue tip-off of the American Basketball Association, a game between the Oakland Oaks and the Anaheim Amigos, took place at the Oakland Coliseum Arena on Oct. 13, 1967, which happened to be a Friday the 13th. It also happened to be the day after Game 7 of the World Series; the day Charlie Finley officially announced his intention to move the Kansas City A's to Oakland; and the same night that the San Francisco Warriors, the NBA's Bay Area outfit, were opening at home. No, the stars were not aligned for an auspicious debut.
The owner of the Oaks, Pat Boone, who had promised a Hollywood-type atmosphere for the opener, sang the national anthem. The ABA's best player, Rick Barry, did indeed gab with a Hollywood type, James Garner, as he watched his Oak teammates from the stands. ( Barry's previous boss, Warrior owner Franklin Mieuli, had obtained an injunction preventing Barry from suiting up for any other team that season.) Miss Oak was crowned. Two Honda motorcycles were given away. And, oh yes, the Oaks defeated the Amigos 134-129 before a crowd of 4,828, more or less.
The contest itself showcased no players of any lasting distinction. Oakland forward Willie Porter scored the league's first basket 64 seconds into the game on a tip-in. The Oak backcourt of Andy Anderson and Levern (Jelly) Tart combined for 56 points. John Fairchild, a 6'8" former Los Angeles Laker, led the Amigos with 30 points, more or less; the scoring totals for the Amigos actually added up to 131, not 129, in the San Francisco Chronicle box score the next day.
Amigo owner Art Kim was not entirely displeased with being part of the ABA's lackluster opener. In fact, because gate revenues were split evenly between both teams and because Kim sensed that he was unlikely to draw well at home, he had scheduled his club for as many road openers as possible. In a 13-day trip the Amigos went from Oakland to Denver to Dallas to Indiana to Kentucky to Minnesota and lost five of six, before arriving in Anaheim, where they lost again.