NOLA Life Stories: Ronnie Kole & The New Orleans Buccaneers

Jan 30, 2015

Local basketball fans have rooted for the Pelicans, the Hornets and the Jazz, but did you ever root for the Buccaneers? 

The Buccaneers were one of the original 11 teams in the American Basketball Association and New Orleans' first professional basketball team. People took notice of the ABA because of the flashy chances they took: they invented the Slam Dunk contest, had celebrity owners, and made open invitations for anyone to play on their teams.

Local musician and nightclub owner Ronnie Kole was as surprised as anyone to become one of the founding members of the ABA and remembers how the Buccaneers and New Orleans made for a perfect marriage of off-kilter energy.

  After three seasons in New Orleans, money was tight for the Buccaneers and they were purchased by an investor who moved the team to Memphis. The ABA didn’t last much longer — by 1976 they had merged with the NBA. 

This interview was originally conducted by Mark Cave for the Historic New Orleans Collection and produced for broadcast by Thomas Walsh.