Jersey Monday: Mike Lewis

Of all the basketball jerseys I own, Mike Lewis is probably the most anonymous player. That's mostly because Mike Lewis never played in the NBA, and the NBA likes to pretend the ABA never existed.

Now, Lewis wasn't exactly a star in the ABA -- he only had one All-Star appearance in six seasons, the last two of which were cut short by an achilles tendon injury. But before he got hurt, he appeared to be on his way up.

Lewis, a 6-8 forward/center from Duke, finished his career with a double-double average: 12.1 PPG and 11.9 RPG. In his all-star season with the Pittsburgh Condors in '70-71, Lewis averaged 13 points and 14.6 rebounds, and followed that up with an 11.4/12.1 season (with 54% shooting) in '71-72, the year this jersey represents.

The Condors -- originally the Pittsburgh Pipers -- were the last major pro basketball team in Pittsburgh. They folded after a failed relocation attempt in the summer of 1972, and their players were dispersed throughout the league (Lewis ended in with the Carolina Cougars, but played just 18 games over two years due to his injury). The city has had CBA and "ABA 2000" teams since, but has never really been considered a potential relocation prospect for an NBA team.

This particular Condors jersey is a Mitchell & Ness throwback, and I love the quality of it. The picture doesn't do it justice. The logo is chain stitched, and is just stunning up close. I think I might try and add some more ABA jerseys to my collection in the future, since they really did have some daring styles, and plenty of players worth getting.

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