The Push To Secure Pensions For ABA Pioneers

Basketball Great George Carter died of throat cancer last November
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Photo: NASL

Basketball Great George Carter (above) died of throat cancer last November as the lights and life of Las Vegas carried on, unceasing, outside. He was 76, mostly alone, the cheering crowds of his youth a distant memory.

He had only one friend nearby, a woman who helped him sort his things, including the fan letters he was still getting 44 years after his last professional game, as he faced eviction from his home.

Carter's death notice was the first time many basketball fans had heard his name in several decades. His former teammates memorialized him as an unforgettable athlete -- a 6-foot-5 forward who led St. Bonaventure University in scoring for two of his three college seasons, a star who played seven seasons in the American Basketball Association until it dissolved and was partially taken over by the NBA in 1976.

Toward the end of his life, Carter was assisted by Dropping Dimes, a nonprofit foundation that helps former ABA players with financial needs. The circumstances in which he found himself at the end of his life -- facing mounting medical bills and eviction from his home of 15 years -- might seem shocking, but he's far from the first former ABA player to end up in tough times.

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