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Sports News

Former ABA commissioner Storen dies at 84

Mike Storen, a sports executive who served as commissioner of the American Basketball Association in the 1970s, died Thursday at age 84.

His daughter, ESPN broadcaster Hannah Storm, said her father died in Atlanta due to complications from cancer.

Among Storen’s early sports jobs was running the ABA’s Indiana Pacers as their first general manager beginning in 1967.

The Pacers wrote in a statement Thursday, “It is impossible to overstate the impact Storen had on our franchise and the American Basketball Association, for which he would later serve as commissioner. He paved the way for the Pacers’ eventual entry into the NBA by putting together a talented front office and assembling a roster led by eventual Hall of Famers Roger Brown and Mel Daniels.

“He hired Hall of Famer Bobby ‘Slick’ Leonard as head coach in the Pacers’ second season, was instrumental in choosing the name ‘Pacers,’ designed the team’s first logo and chose its blue and gold colors. Storen was the first captain of the ABA’s flagship franchise and the foundation for the tradition of success the Pacers maintain to this day. We offer our most sincere condolences to his family.”

Storen became co-owner and general manager of the ABA’s Kentucky Colonels in 1969 before taking over as the ABA’s commissioner in 1973.

He later was part owner of the ABA’s Memphis Sounds.

The Atlanta Hawks hired Storen as president and GM in 1977. He also had stints in the front offices of the World Football League’s Memphis Grizzlies and Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros.

Storm tweeted a statement Thursday night that read, in part, “I’m so proud of my dad’s legacy -- as a distinguished member of the US Marines he helped launch the now-famous Toys for Tots program -- and then forged a decades long sports career, as an executive for teams such as the Baltimore Bullets, Cincinnati Royals, Indiana Pacers, Kentucky Colonels, Memphis Sounds, Atlanta Hawks and baseball’s Houston Astros as well as football’s Memphis Grizzlies and the IPFL. His proudest accomplishments are from his days as Commissioner of the American Basketball Association.

“His creativity was evident everywhere and he was instrumental in the success and legacy of that league; the name, Mike Storen, is still there on any old ABA basketball you might come across and I take comfort in that.”

--Field Level Media

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