The Oakland Oaks were a charter member of the original American Basketball Association. Formed in February 1967 as the Oakland Americans, the team changed its name to the Oaks prior to play that fall. Playing in the ABA during the 1967-68 and 1968-69 seasons at the Oakland Arena, the team colors were green and gold.
The Oaks were owned in part by pop singer Pat Boone. They were probably noted more for a major contract dispute with the cross-bay San Francisco Warriors of the established National Basketball Association over the rights to star player Rick Barry than for any on-court accomplishments. Barry, a former NBA Rookie of the Year who led the Warriors to the NBA finals in 1966–67, was so angered by management's failure to pay him certain incentive awards he felt he was due that he sat out the 1967–68 season. He joined the Oaks in the following year, leading the franchise to the ABA championship in 1968-69.
The road to the championship was lead by pioneering owner, S. Kenneth Davidson, who aggressively pursued top NBA talent, Rick Barry and head coach Alex Hannum, signing them for an unprecedented $85,000 per year. His efforts drove an historic turnaround, from last place to first in one year. The defining moment on the court came in Indiana as Larry Brown reminded his coach they could win this playoff game in one shot: the brand new 3-point line. A stunned Indiana crowd watched the first come from behind 3-point shot in basketball history. The glory on the court was not fully appreciated by the league office, which prevented a local player from joining the ABA: Lew Alcindor. With the ABA missing out on both this dominant player and TV rights, the economics favored the incumbent NBA.
With or without Barry, the team proved to be a very poor investment for Boone and his co-owners. Despite winning the ABA championship, the Oaks were an abysmal failure at the box office, due in large part to the proximity of the NBA Warriors. The team was sold and moved to Washington, D.C. for the 1969–70 season, where it was renamed the Washington Caps. After one season in the nation's capital, the team moved to Norfolk, Virginia for the 1970–71 season and became the Virginia Squires. The team disbanded after the 1975-76 season, keeping it out of the ABA–NBA merger which occurred just weeks later.