Do You Remember The Wyoming Wildcatters? [VIDEO]
Most of Wyoming's greatest sports moments have been in Laramie. But did you know there was a team in Casper that produced 22 NBA players in the 80s?
From 1982 through 1988, the Wyoming Wildcatters were one of the most succesful teams in the Continental Basketball Association. In their six seasons, they advanced to the CBA Finals twice, including a match-up with future Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who led the Albany Patroons in 1984.
Four years later, the Wildcatters returned to the Finals after an unlikely playoff run that some local hoops fans will never forget.
Throughout the '87-'88 season, the franchise was marred by financial problems. On March 1st, then-owner John O'Donnell was forced to turn over the team to the league. The lame duck Wildcatters limped to the finish line, losing 20 of their last 23 games.
Luckily, every team made the playoffs in the CBA. On their last leg, the Wildcatters staged a remarkable run, upsetting the La Crosse Catbirds and Rockford Lightining on their way to a finals rematch against Albany.
The Patroons had finished the regular season 48-6; the best record in CBA history. Undaunted, Wyoming pushed the series against heavily favored Albany to the limit before finally losing in Game 7.
Sadly, it was the last time the Wyoming Wildcatters would ever take the court.
In their short time, many future NBA players came through Casper, including former Univerisity of Wyoming center Chris Engler, former two-time NBA All-Star John Drew, and Eddie Jordan, who played with five NBA teams and later coached the Kings, Wizards and 76ers.
The most famous player to ever suit up for the Wildcatters was Billy Donovan, who went to play for the New York Knicks before winning two NCAA Championships coaching the University of Florida. Donovan currently coaches the Oklahoma City Thunder.