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Jan 3, 2022

Valdosta State University Professor of History and African American Studies Thomas Aiello ("Dixieball: Race and Professional Basketball in the Deep South") joins our first podcast of the New Year - with an intriguing look into the tortuous history of pro hoops in America's Deep South.
While NBA fans take today's Hawks and Pelicans as historical "givens," their very existences belie the Sunbelt South's complicated economic and social relationship with professional sports during the modern era - especially with respect to basketball. 
We dig into the sport's tenuous first professional incursions into both New Orleans (the ABA's charter Buccaneers) and Atlanta (the NBA's relocated St. Louis Hawks) during the culturally and politically charged late-1960s - as well as why it took so long for those franchises to even materialize in the first place.
​Aiello also takes us through the similarly challenged exploits of the NBA's New Orleans Jazz (today domiciled in Utah) of the 1970s - who, despite the dazzling on-court wizardry of adopted LSU native son Pete Maravich, found the going in the Big Easy to be anything but.