The Virginia Squires was a basketball franchise in the former American Basketball Association that existed from 1970 through 1976. The Squires were originally a charter member of the ABA as the Oakland Oaks in 1967, winning the 1968-1969 ABA championship series. The Oaks moved to Washington, DC at the Washington Coliseum in 1970 and played there one season as the Washington Caps. Later in 1970, the Caps moved to Norfolk, Virginia and became the Squires. The Squires' colors were red, white, and blue.
The Virginia Squires' history started out fairly controversially. Player Rick Barry, who originally played with the inaugural Oaks, appeared on the August 24, 1970 front cover of Sports Illustrated in a Squires uniform; in the accompanying article inside the magazine, Barry made several negative remarks about the state of Virginia. (He angered sensitive Southerners by remarking that he didn't want his children to grow up saying, "Hi, y'all, Dad.") On September 1, 1970, the Virginia Squires traded Barry to the New York Nets for a draft pick and $200,000.
The Squires started their tenure in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia by playing their home games at Old Dominion University's fieldhouse. In spite of the initial controversy surrounding former-player Barry, the Squires finished their inaugural season in Virginia by winning the Eastern Division by 11 games. The Squires defeated the New York Nets in the first round of the ABA playoffs but went on to be upset by the Kentucky Colonels. In 1971, the Squires make their biggest draft pick ever by drafting Julius Erving from the University of Massachusetts and splitting games between Norfolk, Roanoke, Hampton, and Richmond. During the 1971-1972 season, Erving became an instant sensation with his scoring prowess and dazzling on-court acrobatics; the Squires defeated The Floridians in the first round of the playoffs but lost to the New York Nets in the second round.
The 1972-1973 season marked the beginning of the Virginia Squires downturn. Although blessed with a combination of Julius Erving ("Dr. J") and a young George Gervin, the duo only played together late in the season. The Squires lost to their division rival Nets in the first round of the playoffs. During the summer of 1973, Dr. J was sold to the New York Nets and Gervin was sold to the San Antonio Spurs in the middle of the 1973-1974 season for cash. This angered many Squire fans, and attendance soon plummeted. The Squires' final two seasons in the ABA were forgettable as the losses mounted and popular coach Al Bianchi was fired. As the 1975-1976 season came to a close, the sun set on the Squires and the ABA as well. The ABA had four remaining franchises absorbed into the NBA but the Squires were not in that group of teams, having folded during the last ABA playoffs. The final legacy of the team was that of early success, potential, and financial mismanagement, a sort of microcosm of the ABA itself.
The Oakland Oaks were a charter member of the original American Basketball Association, playing in the ABA during the 1967-1968 and 1968-1969 seasons. The team colors were green and gold. The Oaks were owned in part by pop singer Pat Boone. They were probably noted more for a major contract dispute with the cross-bay San Francisco Warriors of the established National Basketball Association over the rights to star player Rick Barry than for any on-court accomplishments. Barry, a former NBA Rookie of the Year who led the Warriors to the NBA finals in 1966-1967, was so angered by management's failure to pay him certain incentive awards he felt he was due that he sat out the 1967-1968 season. He joined the Oaks in the following year, leading the franchise to its one and only ABA championship in 1968-1969.
With or without Barry, the team proved to be a very poor investment for Boone and his co-owners. Despite winning the ABA championship, the Oaks were an abysmal failure at the box office, due in large part to the proximity of the NBA Warriors. The team was sold and moved to Washington, D.C. for the 1969-1970 season, where it was renamed the Washington Capitals. After one season in the nation's capital, the team moved to Norfolk, Virginia for the 1970-1971 season and became the Virginia Squires. The team disbanded after the 1975-1976 season.