Al Bianchi says he gets the same reaction nearly every time he runs into a former Virginia Squire.
“Whoever you talk to says, ‘We really had the best time in Virginia,’ ” the longtime basketball coach said Thursday at a news conference to announce that Virginia Beach will host a Squires reunion May 1-2.
The Virginia Squires Legends Reunion is the first American Basketball Association team reunion, according to organizers. The Squires were based in Norfolk from 1970-76, during which they also played “home” games in Hampton, Richmond and Roanoke. They folded a month before the NBA-ABA merger in June 1976. There hasn’t been a major league professional franchise in Hampton Roads since.
Bianchi, the Squires’ coach from 1970-75, and former owner Earl Foreman attended the announcement and plan to attend the reunion. Among the players expected to attend are former Old Dominion standout Dave Twardzik, Charlie Scott, Fatty Taylor and Jim Eakins. Organizers say they are still working to bring in Hall of Famers Julius Erving and George Gervin.
“Everybody I’ve talked to is really looking forward to this,” Twardzik said Thursday. “There’s going to be a lot more lies than truths told.”
The reunion will start Thursday afternoon, May 1. Former Squires players and former Philadelphia 76er Wali Jones will hold a youth basketball clinic and academic program at the new Williams Farm Recreational Center in Virginia Beach.
The Cavalier Hotel will hold a ticketed reception at 7 that night. The next day, the Squires will join Virginia Beach business leaders for the seventh annual Business Appreciation Charity Golf Classic at the Virginia Beach National Golf Club.
Coordinators of the reunion include Charlie Hatcher, host of the Sports Inside and Out radio show, and Kirk Levy, a Beach lawyer and former Squires ball boy. The Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development chipped in by allowing the reunion organizers to partner with the golf tournament and receive some funding through the event.
Ticket information for the reception can be obtained on Facebook (search: Virginia Squires Last Stand). Tickets aren’t yet on sale but will be soon, organizers say. Contact Delceno Miles for sponsorship opportunities at 757-499-9627 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proceeds will benefit a number of local charities including Sickle Cell Association, Wounded Warriors and the Virginia Beach public school system.
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