Upon hearing of the passing of Jack Ramsey I thought back to those four years he coached the Buffalo Braves and what a different time that was. Ramsey took the Braves and Bob McAdoo to the playoffs three straight years, 74-75-76, before leaving for the Portland Trailblazers where he immediately won an NBA Championship in 1977.

Ramsey was flamboyant and animated and a great character in the history of Buffalo sports. It was those characteristics that led to his eventual career in broadcasting and made him a great interview.

The Buffalo Braves only won one playoff series and that was in 1976 when they beat the Philadelphia 76’ers in a first round three game series, but they were a high scoring, exciting team to watch. With the likes of NBA MVP Bob McAdoo, Ernie DeGregorio, and Randy Smith and others, the Braves were a run and gun fast paced team.

There are several reason for the demise of the Buffalo Braves and certainly they faded fast after being sold by Paul Snyder. Snyder often blamed the Sabres and the Knox brothers for preventing the Braves from getting preferred weekend nights at Memorial Auditorium and thus preventing the team from being profitable. Former ABA owner John Y. Brown bought the team from Snyder and started selling off the group of higher tier players and in 1978 swapped franchises with Celtics owner Irv Levin. Levin moved the Braves organization to California were they became the San Diego Clippers, but technically the actual franchise now legally exits in Boston as the Celtics.

The existence of the Buffalo Braves also meant the end of the great college basketball double headers played at the Aud by Canisius, Niagara and St. Bonaventure. The interest in the local college game was diminished in Western New York by the presence of NBA and it never fully returned.

All of this was forty years ago, but for those old enough to remember, the passing of Jack Ramsey signifies another connection to those brief golden years now gone.



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