Philadelphia Tapers

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The Philadelphia Tapers were an American amateur and professional basketball team. Originally the New York Tapers, the team played in the NABL and was sponsored by Technical Tape Corporation, makers of Tuck brand adhesive and recording tapes.

They were a top AAU club team in the 1950s featuring many former collegiate stars and pro players. In 1960, Tuck Tape owner Paul Cohen moved the Tapers to Washington and joined the fledgling American Basketball League of Abe Saperstein as the "Washington Tapers". The team was a failure in Washington and Cohen made the unprecedented move of transplanting the team in mid-season back to New York. On January 2, 1962, the team was relocated to Commack, New York and renamed the New York Tapers.[1] They played their final game in New York at Long Island Arena on March 14, 1962.[2]

When the ABL began their second season in 1962, the Tapers had moved to Philadelphia, where Cohen hoped to take advantage of the fact that this basketball hotbed had just lost its beloved Warriors (and Wilt Chamberlain) to San Francisco. 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 team did not finish this season in its new venue, ending its existence after playing those same Chicago Majors in a neutral site game at the Cleveland Arena on December 30.[2]

During their time, the Tapers boasted of many outstanding players. Star of the team was Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets guard Roger Kaiser, who later became an outstanding college coach at West Georgia College and Life College. 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.[citation needed]

ABL Year-by-year

Year League Reg. Season Playoffs
1961/62 ABL 4th, Eastern Semifinals
1962/63 ABL 5th No playoff


  1. Bradley, Robert (1999). "Chapter 2: The Chronological History of the Major Basketball Leagues". Compendium of Professional Basketball. Xaler Press. ISBN 0-9644774-3-2. line feed character in |chapter= at position 50 (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sprechman, Jordan; Shannon, Bill (1998). This Day in New York Sports. Sports Museum Press. ISBN 1-57167-254-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>