|History||Washington Tapers (1961), New York Tapers (1962), Philadelphia Tapers (1962–1963)|
|Arena||Philadelphia Civic Center|
|Head coach||Mario Perri|
The Philadelphia Tapers were an American professional basketball team that played a partial 1962–1963 season and traces its history to the 1950s AAU New York Tapers.
AAU New York Tapers
Originally the amateur New York Tapers, the team played in the NABL and was sponsored by Technical Tape Corporation, makers of Tuck brand adhesive and recording tapes. The Tapers were a top AAU club team in the 1950s featuring many former collegiate stars and pro players.
Washington Tapers 1960–1961
When Abe Saperstein's American Basketball League was born in 1961, Tuck Tape owner Paul Cohen purchased a franchise, gave it the Tapers name, and placed it in Washington. Cohen signed Gene Conley, who had played for the Boston Celtics and pitched for the Milwaukee Braves. With the Tapers, Conley often accompanied Paul Cohen on sales calls for his Tuck Tape Company.
The team was a failure in Washington, and Cohen transplanted the team mid-season, on January 2, 1962, to Commack, New York and renamed the New York Tapers. They played their final game in New York at Long Island Arena on March 14, 1962.
Philadelphia Tapers 1962–1963
When the ABL began their second season in 1962, the Tapers moved to Philadelphia, where Cohen hoped to take advantage of the NBA Philadelphia Warriors' (and Wilt Chamberlain) departure to San Francisco. Harvey Pollack kept the Tapers' statistics as he had for the Warriors. The Tapers hired Mario Perri to coach the team in Philadelphia. Perri had been the athletic director at the Technical Tape Corp where he coached the softball team to a national title.
In a bizarre bit of scheduling, the team twice faced the Chicago Majors on November 15, winning the first game, 51-46, before dropping the nightcap, 65-63, in overtime. The Tapers played only 28 games during the abbreviated 1962–1963 season. The final game was against the Chicago Majors in a neutral site game at the Cleveland Arena on December 30, 1962.
During their time, the Tapers boasted of many outstanding players.
Also starring on the team was the mysterious Sylvester Blye, a strapping 6-9 player who saw his college career at Seattle University quashed after one game when officials discovered that he had been playing professionally for the touring Harlem Clowns. Blye then went to work for Tuck Tape and became the team's signature player. He was known as a legend in the New York Rucker league and was a full-fledged star in the ABL, but no NBA team ever called on him after the league's demise.
Another notable Taper was point guard Cleo Hill, who was a superstar at Winston-Salem State University several years prior to Earl Monroe. Hill was a number one draft pick of the NBA St. Louis Hawks but was mysteriously cut a year later. His stay with the Tapers also did not result in a call by any NBA teams, which Hill attributed to racism. In fact, NBA teams at the time largely subscribed to an unwritten code that limited black players on the rosters and generally saw (at most) two black players start at home and three on the road. Reserve players at the time were almost all white.
- Husman, John M. "SABR Baseball Biography Project: Gene Conley". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
- Bradley, Robert (1999). Compendium of Professional Basketball. Xaler Press. ISBN 0-9644774-3-2.
- Sprechman, Jordan; Shannon, Bill (1998). This Day in New York Sports. Sports Museum Press. ISBN 1-57167-254-0.
- Fitzpatrick, Frank (June 25, 2015). "Harvey Pollack, 76ers' legendary stat man, dies at 93". Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Fitzpatrick, Frank (January 17, 2015). "Remember the Philadelphia Tapers?". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2016-01-18.