Phoenix Welcomes Basketball World for 1975 All-Star Game
Phoenix Suns 25th Anniversary Book
The NBA All-Star Game has grown from humble beginnings into one of the hottest tickets in all of sports. The Suns hosted the 1975 All-Star Game at a time when the game, and the hoopla surrounding it, was just beginning to come into its own.
While the Pittsburgh Steelers were celebrating their first Super Bowl victory, Johnny Miller was walking toward the 18th hole at the Phoenix Country Club with a 14-stroke lead in the final round of the Phoenix Open golf tournament.
In less than 40 hours, the focus of the sports world shifted from the Phoenix Country Club to the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, less than two miles away, where the Phoenix Suns, still relative newcomers on the NBA block, with just a seven-year history, were hosting the 25th Annual NBA All-Star Game.
For a few hours on the night of Tuesday, Jan. 15, 1975, Phoenix became the “Professional Basketball Capital of the World.”
Ironically, while television sets around the nation flickered with images of Rick Barry, Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, John Havlicek, Bob McAdoo, Spencer Haywood, Gail Goodrich, Elvin Hayes and Nate Archibald, Bob Lanier and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Phoenix fans who weren’t among the record 12,885 in the Coliseum had to listen to radio stations KXIV-AM and KHEP-FM.
The game was blacked out on Phoenix-area television channels and cable television was then only available in rural areas that couldn’t get a consistent signal.
Although the players were the star of the show, there were some celebrities of note on hand from the sports and entertainment worlds.
NBA Commissioner Walter Kennedy was presiding over his last NBA All-Star Game before retiring and celebrities like recording star Andy Williams, comedian Foster Brooks and TV star McLean Stevenson entertained a then-record crowd of 1,500 at the NBA All-Star banquet at the Phoenix Civic Plaza on the eve of the All-Star Game.
At the time Williams was still a partner in the ownership of the Suns.
Most of the league dignitaries stayed at the All-Star headquarters hotel, the Del Webb Townehouse. The overflow stayed at the Clarendon Hotel, a few blocks away. Recent All-Star Games have required over 4,000 rooms for players, coaches, team and league officials and sponsors. The 1975 game in Phoenix required only a few hundred.
On the floor of Veterans Memorial Coliseum that unseasonably warm Tuesday evening in 1975, the East All-Stars, coached by K. C. Jones of the Washington Bullets, defeated the West, coached by Al Attles of the Golden State Warriors, 108-102.
Buffalo’s McAdoo (34.5) and Golden State’s Barry (30.6) would finish the season as the NBA’s top scorers, but Walt “Clyde” Frazier of the Knicks stole the all-Star show with 30 points and earned Most Valuable Player honors.
Frazier was 10 of 17 from the floor and made 10 of 11 free throws.
Charlie Scott was the Phoenix Suns’ contribution to the West effort. He was one of six from the floor, with two rebounds and an assist in 16 minutes of playing time.