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Earl Marin Foreman (March 29, 1924 – January 23, 2017) was an American lawyer and sports executive.[1]

Foreman practiced law in the District of Columbia.[2][3] He was the owner of the short-lived Washington Whips professional soccer club of the NASL and a minority owner of the Baltimore Bullets franchise in the National Basketball Association. He was owner of the Washington Caps/Virginia Squires of the American Basketball Association. At one time he also owned an interest in the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League.[3]

Early life[edit | edit source]

Born in Baltimore, Maryland. Foreman served in the United States Army during World War II and was a medic. He graduated from University of Maryland and University of Maryland School of Law.[4]

Basketball[edit | edit source]

On August 29, 1969 Foreman, with Thomas Shaheen and Louis Diamond, purchased the Oakland Oaks professional basketball team in the American Basketball Association. The team was heavily indebted, a situation that would haunt the team until its demise in 1976 just prior to the ABA–NBA merger. Foreman and his two co-owners paid $2.6 million for the team and moved it to Washington, D.C. where it became the Washington Caps for the 1969–1970 ABA season. The Caps brought on Al Bianchi as head coach and finished that season with a record of 44–40, good for third place in the Western Division. The Caps lost in the first round of the 1970 ABA Playoffs to the Denver Rockets, 4 games to 3.[2]

For the 1970–71 season Foreman moved the Caps to Virginia and the team became the Virginia Squires. Strapped for cash due to debts, the Squires traded Warren Armstrong to the Kentucky Colonels for a draft pick and cash, and sold Rick Barry to the New York Nets for $250,000. The Squires finished in first place in the Eastern Division with a 55–29 record. In the 1971 ABA Playoffs the Squires defeated the New York Nets 4 games to 2 in the first round, but lost the Eastern Division Finals to the Kentucky Colonels 4 games to 2. With the conclusion of the season, on April 6, 1971, the Squires signed future star Julius Erving to a 4-year, $500,000 contract.[2]

The Squires finished the 1971–72 season with a record of 45–39, good for second place in the Eastern Division. The Squires defeated The Floridians 4 games to 0 in the first round of the 1972 ABA Playoffs but then lost the full seven-game Eastern Division Finals to the New York Nets 4 games to 3. In this season Johnny Kerr joined the team as administrative vice president.[2]

The Squires finished the 1972–73 season with a 42–42 record which put them in third place in the Eastern Division. The Squires lost in the 1973 Eastern Division Semifinals 4 games to 1 to the Kentucky Colonels despite Erving's outstanding play. At the conclusion of the season Foreman added George Gervin to the Squires' roster, putting two future Hall of Famers on the same team.[2]

In August 1973 Foreman, again motivated by the Squires' indebtedness, traded Erving and Willie Sojourner to the New York Nets for George Carter, the rights to Kermit Washington and $1 million. Discussing his sales and trades of the Squires' best players, Foreman said, "It's not a pleasant thing to hear, but I did what I had to do out of necessity. This is not a public utility. I can't ask for a fare increase when things go bad."[5] The Squires signed center Swen Nater but then sold Nater to the San Antonio Spurs for a draft pick and $300,000. Just after Gervin played in the 1974 ABA All-Star Game (which the Squires hosted) it was announced that Foreman had sold Gervin to the San Antonio Spurs for $225,000. Legal action ensued and Gervin ended up with the Spurs.[2] By this point the constant selling off of the team's stars had a major effect on the Squires' dwindling fan base. The team finished the 1973–74 season with a record of 28–56 which was good for fourth place in the Eastern Division, but the Squires lost in the first round of the 1973 ABA Playoffs to the New York Nets, 4 games to 1.[2]

During the ensuing off season Barry Parkhill of the Squires, angry about bouncing paychecks, filed suit against Foreman, the Squires and the ABA for $24,000 in back pay and $360,000 for anticipated breach of contract. Jack Ankerson became the Squires' General Manager. The ABA then purchased the Squires franchise. In its last two years the debt-ridden Squires finished 15–69 both seasons, the worst records in ABA history, and failed to make the playoffs. The team came to an end on May 11, 1976 after its failure to pay a $75,000 league assessment. Because of that, the Squires were not a part of the ABA–NBA merger that took place just weeks later.[2]

Soccer[edit | edit source]

In 1977 through 1978 Foreman was instrumental in creating the Major Indoor Soccer League.[6] Foreman was commissioner of the MISL from 1978 to 1985, and again in 1989.[6][7][8]

Personal[edit | edit source]

Earl Foreman died on January 23, 2017. He was survived by his wife, Phyllis and their sons, Scott, Ronald and Stuart.[9]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Earl Foreman, former Eagles part-owner, dies at 92". philly.com. http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/eagles/20170124_Earl_Foreman__former_Eagles_part-owner__dies_at_92.html. Retrieved 24 January 2017. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 "Year-to-Year Notes (courtesy Robert Bradley)". Archived from the original on May 14, 2011. https://web.archive.org/web/20110514135629/http://www.remembertheaba.com/TeamMaterial/VirginiaMaterial/OaksCapsSquiresYearly.html. Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Show, Sex And Suburbs". CNN. February 28, 1983. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1120568/3/index.htm. Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  4. 'Earl Foreman, who shared ownership of the Baltimore Bullets, dies at 92, The Washington Post, Bart Barnes, January 24, 2017
  5. Robert W. Creamer, ed., They Said It, Sports Illustrated, February 25, 1974
  6. 6.0 6.1 "MISL". Archived from the original on February 4, 2005. https://web.archive.org/web/20050204100128/http://www.misl.net/news/?cat=1&id=3817. Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  7. "Show, Sex And Suburbs". CNN. February 28, 1983. http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1120568/3/index.htm. Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  8. "SPORTS PEOPLE: SOCCER; Foreman Role Solidified". The New York Times. September 27, 1990. https://www.nytimes.com/1990/09/27/sports/sports-people-soccer-foreman-role-solidified.html. Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  9. https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/earl-foreman-who-shared-ownership-of-baltimore-bullets-dies-at-92/2017/01/24/ff0f73b2-e246-11e6-a547-5fb9411d332c_story.html

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