Template:Infobox sports team The Minnesota Muskies were a charter member of the American Basketball Association, born with the league's creation on February 2, 1967. L.P. Shields and Fred Jefferson bought in to create the franchise for $30,000. They played one season in Minnesota and then moved to become The Floridians.
The Muskies wore blue and gold and played in the Metropolitan Sports Center. The ABA first located its league office in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The future looked bright for the Muskies, who shared the same home city as the league. The Muskies began with a solid roster. Their first draft pick was talented center Mel Daniels, who would go on to become one of the ABA's most celebrated players. Daniels was also drafted by the Cincinnati Royals of the NBA in the first round of that draft but he decided to cast his lot with the upstart league. Daniels, Donnie Freeman and Les Hunter all represented the Muskies in the first ABA All Star Game. The Muskies' roster also included Ron Perry. The head coach was Jim Pollard, a former teammate of ABA Commissioner George Mikan for the Minneapolis Lakers of the NBA.
Early in the league's first season the Muskies and the Indiana Pacers dueled for first place in the Eastern Division. The Muskies pulled away from the Pacers but the Pittsburgh Pipers rallied to catch them The Pipers eventually won the Eastern Division title and the Muskies finished four games behind in second place with a record of 50 wins and 28 losses. The Muskies averaged 2,473 fans per home game but that figure may have been exaggerated as it was also reported that the Muskies had only 100 season ticket holders.
In the 1968 Eastern Division semifinals the Muskies split the first four of five games with the Kentucky Colonels and then won the decisive Game Five, 114-108, at home. The Muskies then met the Pipers for the Eastern Division Championship and with 4 wins to the Muskie's 1 the Pipers won the series (and eventually the league championship).
For their success on the court, the Muskies were a complete bust off the court. They lost an estimated $400,000 in their first season. They only averaged 2,800 people per game, but some ABA experts think they actually lured far less, given that they only sold 100 season tickets. Muskies' management sought to make changes for the upcoming 1968-69 season. The Muskies made plans to play nine of their home games at other locations in Minnesota and the Muskies reached a favorable television contract. In spite of this, the Muskies later decided to relocate the franchise to Miami, Florida, for the 1968-1969 ABA season. Prior to the start of that season the team made what many consider to be the worst personnel move in ABA history: they sold Mel Daniels, the league's Rookie of the Year, to the Indiana Pacers for cash to use to pay off debts accumulated in Minnesota. On May 24, 1968 the Muskies relocated to Miami where they continued play as The Floridians through the 1971-1972 ABA season.
Minnesota was not left without an ABA team, however, as the league champion Pittsburgh Pipers relocated to Minneapolis as the Minnesota Pipers for the 1968-1969 ABA season.