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The seats were uncomfortable, the snack bar didn't have much of a selection and the halftime show was nonexistent (the sound system broke, causing the scheduled singer to go home). But professional basketball returned to San Francisco on Tuesday, and for the 1,000 people or so who turned out at Kezar Pavilion, that was enough.

Yes, the American Basketball Association is back. The original version gave us Dr. J, Rick Barry and the 3-point shot and lasted until 1977, when four of its teams merged with the NBA. It resurfaced in 2000 as a minor league, with eight teams. And four years later (skipping 2003-04 to "reorganize") the league boasts 47 teams, including an expansion franchise in San Francisco, the Pilots. And when we heard about their opener on Tuesday, vs. the Fresno Heat Wave, we couldn't resist. So off we went to ancient Kezar Pavilion, once the occasional home to the great Bill Russell, Casey Jones USF teams of the 1950s and the NBA San Francisco Warriors before they moved to Oakland and became Golden State.

The team, owned by local attorney Parimal Rohit and using a roster made up primarily of ProCity Summer Basketball League players, isn't bad. They've got former UAB forward Anthony Johnson, and guard Kevin Butler from UC Riverside, another player we always liked. We must say it took a while for us to get acclimated to the ABA rules, which call for, among other things, a four-point shot. Also, it should be noted that this is the only pro league we're aware of in which one can actually buy a franchise online. Yep. Just fill out a form, pick a name (Brentwood White Broncos would be ours), and go nuts. Players earn $600-$800 a week (there's a $1,200 salary cap) for a 35-game league schedule.

We sat in the stands (the "press area" consisted of a folding table which was occupied by a large box of promotional T-shirts), where we met Tim Weidner, a San Francisco native who plans on attending every home game. "It's about time pro basketball came back to San Francisco," he said. "It's pretty good basketball. For five bucks you can't beat it."

Yeah, $5 to get in. Compared to our recent viewing of the film "Doom," that's a steal. Of course, ticket prices will be raised to $10 when the Tijuana Dragons come to town on Nov. 22. The Dragons, of course, feature Dennis Rodman.

"We're expecting Rodman to show up," said ever-hopeful Pilots chief operating officer Chris Conley. "I call the Dragons every day, and they say he'll be here. But of course, I don't think even Dennis knows what he's going to do on any given day. He quit his marriage after one week, so what's to stop him from quitting his team?"

Yes, but one can dream. And of course, if Rodman does show up, we'll be there โ€” perhaps dressed as Beetlejuice, just for laughs.

San Francisco Pilots [Official Site]
American Basketball Association [Official Site]