The first thing you notice about these former American Basketball Association greats is the lack of tattoos.

If tattoos are intended to draw attention and make a statment, the current NBA players succeed. Those tattos are also the current shock-your-parents fad of teenagers.That's not to say these former ABA greats weren't into any shock treatments for the 1970s. These were the stars who were into Afros . . . gigantic Afros.

And the white players were into making their own statements with stylishly straight, long hair, a Prince Valiant effect. And what about those mutton-chop sideburns? Signs of the times.

These were the baby boomers. They questioned everything from the Vietnam War to sexual behavior to pop music.

They were also the so-called rebels who defied the NBA establishment and created a league of their own - the ABA.

And oh, my, did they ever defy the NBA, with their 3-point shot and, of course, that awful red, white and blue ball. The NBA called the ABA the "Beach Ball League."

With the established NBA, the red, white and blue ball wasn't dignified. But that was just fine with the defiant ABA stars. They never asked, "Why?" but "Why not?"

But despite the hokey ball and the sometimes unorthodox play, the ABA produced champions. They commanded respect with their play, and they continued to command respect in a gathering at the Crowne Plaza over the weekend. Respect from their peers. Respect from their ever-enduring and adoring fans.

The ABA mystique won't die. Terry Pluto's 1990 best-selling book, "Loose Balls," shed a long-overdue light on the ABA. This spring, an HBO special attacted a new generation of fans.

And this weekend's reunion may prolong the memories. The Classic Sports Network will film a special around the reunion, and an Indianapolis company, the 19th Star, is doing a documentary.

But what are the real ABA Utah Stars doing? Here's a glimpse of what some of the former 1971 Utah Stars are involved in today and the other former Stars who made the All-ABA 30-Year Team:

BILL DANIELS - Stars owner. A billionaire. Known as the "Father of Cable TV." Made a fortune with Daniels Cable Vision. Three years ago, sold "Sports Prime Ticket," which covers the Southern California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico sports markets, for $200 million. Had vision to move Stars from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City, June 1970. Wanted to make Salt Lake City the "Green Bay of Pro Basketball." Still owns 5 percent of NBA Los Angeles Lakers. At 75 years old, has been suffering from health problems.

VINCE BORYLA - Stars president, general manager and part-owner. Could not be beat in a trade. His shrewd vision put together championship-caliber teams for five years. A multi-millionaire living in Denver. Actually, he is still the only NCAA player to be a first-team all-American at two different schools (Notre Dame and Denver University). Was Denver Nugget general manager during competitive years in 1980s. When Coors Field was built for Colorado Rockies, he owned the land next to it and turned it into a parking lot.

ZELMO BEATY - The heart and soul of the Utah Stars. No. 1 draft choice of St. Louis Hawks out of Praire View A&M (1962). Played out an option with the NBA Atlanta Hawks and signed with Los Angeles Stars, 1969-70. MVP 1971 ABA playoffs for leading Stars to championship. Averaged 22 points and 12 rebounds with Stars. Led Stars to 1974 ABA championship with New York Nets, losing series, 4-1. Led Hawks and Stars to playoffs all 12 years he played with them. Ended career with NBA Los Angeles Lakers, 1975. In the words of Vince Boryla, "Should be in Pro Basketball Hall of Fame." Lives in Bellevue, Wash., with wife, Ann. Is an investment broker.

WILLIE WISE - Former Drake University star, 1968. Called best two-way (offense-defense) performer in ABA history. Came with Stars from L.A. in 1970-71. Averaged 18 points per game with Utah. Loved taking the toughest defensive assignment, too. Held Pacer star George McGinnis to 11 points in ABA Western Division championship game, 1974. Was one of the most popular players in ABA history. Lives in Bellevue, Wash., near Beaty. A truck driver.

GLEN COMBS - Obtained with Ron Boone from Dallas, January 1971. A pure shooter. Combs was the starter in the No. 2 position on ABA championship team. Led ABA in 3-point shooting. The former Virginia Tech star currently resides in Virginia. Multimillion-dollar food broker. Son plays football for Duke University.

RED ROBBINS - Obtained prior to 1971 ABA championship season from Memphis, with guard Mike Butler, for former BYU star Craig Raymond and Bobby Warren. The "Walking One Iron" was all-star in No. 4 position for 1971 ABA champs. Second-leading rebounder on the Stars' championship team. Great garbage man. Stars never ran plays for him, but still No. 3 scorer on team. Just missed all-time ABA team in voting. Sales rep for LA Logo. Lives in New Orleans.

MERV JACKSON - Former Utah All-American (1968) and inductee in Crimson Club Hall of Fame. Known as "The Magician" in playing days. A "smooth-as-silk" player. Played on Utah's last "Final Four" team, 1966. Starting point guard on Stars' 1971 ABA championship season. Worked with IBM in Denver for years. Lives in his native state - Georgia. Moved back home to help ailing mother.

RON BOONE - Former Idaho State star was known as "Instant Offense" for his role as the sixth man on 1971 championship team. Scored over 2,000 points twice in his ABA career with Stars. Holds all-time professional consecutive playing streak, with 981 games. Works with Rod Hundley on KFANZ broadcasting the NBA Western Division Champion Utah Jazz's games. Voted one of ABA's top 30 all-time players.

DICK NEMELKA - Prep All-American at West High, 1962, in three sports - football, basketball and baseball. An All-American at BYU, where he led Cougars to NIT Championship, 1966. Drafted No. 1 by Altanta Hawks, 1966. Was backup guard on Stars' 1971 ABA championship team. Member Utah Sports Hall of Fame. Lives in Salt Lake City, where he is an attorney.

JAMES JONES - Obtained as free agent, 1972, by Boryla. Played with New Orleans Bucs, Memphis Pros. A big 6-foot-4 guard who played No. 1 slot. Best one-on-one player in ABA. Helped lead Stars to 1974 championship playoffs against Julius "Dr. J" Erving's New York Nets team, losing series 4-1. Ended career with NBA's Baltimore Bullets. Voted one of ABA's top 30 players. Securities broker-investor.

CINCY (Cincinnatus) POWELL - Portland University business graduate. Played for Kentucky against the Stars in 1971 ABA championship game. Had Stars' fan hit him with her purse during championship series at Salt Palace. Big 6-8 power forward. Great shooter. Played with Boone at Dallas. Played for Stars' 1974 ABA Western Division championship team, losing ABA title to New York Nets. Lives in Dallas, where he works as account executive for Fidelity Funding mortgage corp.

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DONNIE FREEMAN - Traded in January, 1971, with Wayne Hightower to Dallas Chaparrals for Boone and Combs. Honored this weekend as one of top ABA players. Graduated Illnois University in business. Ended career with the Lakers. Voted one of ABA's 30 best players. Works in Houston for the Federal Reserve Bank.

MOSES MALONE - Signed with Utah Stars, summer 1974, thus becoming the first high school player ever signed by a pro basketball team. Named ABA Rookie of Year by Basketball Weekly, 1974-75 season, averaging 18.8 points, 12.3 rebounds. Injured his foot in exhibition game in San Juan, 1975. Did not play with Stars again before team went defunct, December 1975. Became one of the NBA's all-time greats with Houston and Philadelphia. Considered the NBA's best all-time offensive rebounder.

JIM EAKINS - Was Dick Nemelka's teammate at BYU in 1966 NIT Championship season. Played most of his ABA career with the Virginia Squires. Also, played with New York Nets. Respected, hard-nosed 6-11 player. Solid rebounder and shooter. Played 1974-76 with Utah Stars. Was boys' basketball coach at Mount Vernon and Mountain View high schools. Currently, girls' basketball coach at Granite High.

ROGER BROWN - At 6-5, he defined the No. 3 position in the ABA. Played most of his career with Indiana Pacers. A great scorer and backbone of Pacers' three ABA championship seasons. Among ABA's all-time 30 best players. Ended his career (1975) with Utah Stars. Died of cancer in spring. "My biggest regret is we didn't get this done in time for Roger," said former Pacer teammate Bob Netolicky, one of three chairmen for reunion gathering.

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