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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Johnny Newmann

(Born September 11, 1951) -- Johnny Newmann has had one of the most interesting basketball careers imaginable. None of it, more or less, came in Buffalo.

He grew up in Memphis and signed at Mississippi. The 6-6 swing man averaged more than 40 points per game there as a sophomore, stirring up comparisons to LSU legend Pete Maravich.

Newmann didn’t stay long. He became the first pro basketball player to claim “hardship status” and signed with Memphis before his college eligibility had expired. He averaged almost 20 points per game in his first two years with the Pros of the American Basketball Association. He bounced from there to four other ABA teams when the league merged with the NBA in 1976.

Braves co-owner John Y. Brown brought Newmann in to Buffalo in the fall of 1976, as Brown wanted an ABA flavor to the team. But this signing didn’t work out, as Newmann only played four games here and was released. He went to the Lakers and Pacers before leaving the NBA in 1978.

But Newmann wasn’t finished yet, as he played and then coached overseas. His passport must have been well-stamped after coaching in such places as Cyprus, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, China, and Japan. In 2010, he was picked as the coach of Romania’s national team.

-- Budd Bailey

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Basketball | History
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