Ozzie Silna

Ozzie Silna is an American businessman best known for his success in the textile industry, as co-owner of the American Basketball Association's Spirits of St. Louis and the lucrative deal cut to fold that team during the ABA-NBA merger. Brothers Ozzie and Daniel Silna made a fortune as pioneers in the manufacture of polyester. In 1974, they wanted to own an NBA team. After an attempt to buy the Detroit Pistons fell short, the Silnas purchased the ABA's Carolina Cougars franchise with the expectation of moving it into the NBA with the impending merger of the two leagues. The Silna brothers moved the Cougars to St. Louis, Missouri because it was then the largest city in the United States without a professional basketball team and they thought this would make their team more likely to join the NBA. In 1974, the Cougars, roster and all, were overhauled and became the ABA's Spirits of St. Louis from 1974 through 1976. The 1974-75 Spirits had upset the reigning ABA champion New York Nets in the 1975 Eastern Division Finals before losing to the eventual champion Kentucky Colonels, but in the 1975-76 season the Spirits' play was uneven and their attendance waned.


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