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Officially, Julius Erving and Dan Issel, who were inducted on Monday into the Basketball Hall of Fame, are the NBA's 29th and 65th alltime leading scorers, respectively. But they rank that low only because of the league's refusal to include statistics from the American Basketball Association in career totals. Otherwise, Erving and Issel would rank third and fifth on the NBA scoring list, which is headed by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points in 20 NBA seasons) and Wilt Chamberlain, (31,419 in 14 NBA seasons). Erving's total would be 30,026 points (11,662 in five ABA seasons and 18,364 in 11 in the NBA), while Issel, who now coaches the Denver Nuggets, would have 27,482 points (12,823 in six ABA seasons and 14,659 in nine in the NBA).
It's time the NBA followed the lead of the NFL, which includes slats from the American Football League in its career totals. Ending the statistical freeze-out would do justice to former ABA stars like Erving, Issel, George Gervin, Artis Gilmore, Moses Malone and George McGinnis, all of whom went on to excel in the NBA.
Such a gesture would be especially timely since the NBA may be about to say goodbye to Malone, its last survivor from the ABA. The 38-year-old Malone played sparingly this season, his 17th in the NBA, for the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Bucks have bought out his option. Unless another NBA team picks him up, he may play in Europe next season. With 27,066 NBA points, Malone is fourth on the league's alltime list. If ABA totals were counted, Malone, who scored 2,171 points in his two ABA seasons, would leapfrog over Elvin Hayes, who's now No. 3 on the NBA list, with 27,313 points, but would still rank fourth—behind Erving and ahead of Issel.
Fido and Friends
After months of fruitless negotiations with dozens of potential sponsors, the New York Road Runners Club announced last week that Reebok had agreed to bankroll the New York Games only hours before the May 22 event was to be scratched. Founded in 1989, the track meet lost its main sponsor last fall when Mita, the copy-machine company, pulled out. Now it will go on at Columbia University's Wien Stadium as scheduled.
Obviously, that's good news. But one wonders how the New York City meet ever got so close to extinction. After all, it's one of only two Grand Prix events in North America—the other is the Bruce Jenner Classic, in San Jose, to be held this year on May 29—and it has consistently drawn such top athletes as Leroy Burrell, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Roger Kingdom and Carl Lewis. Yet attendance has been disappointing.
But then, track and field is having its troubles generally, especially in New York. Last week USA Track and Field announced that starting next year, the USA/ Mobil indoor championship will move to the Georgia Dome, in Atlanta. The indoors have been held in Madison Square Garden almost continuously since 1888, but lately attendance has declined and performances have been hampered by the Garden's narrow, 160-yard board track. The Georgia Dome will offer a state-of-the-art 200-meter track, and it is hoped that the Mobil meet can capitalize on increasing interest in track and field in Atlanta as the 1996 Summer Olympics draw closer.