When Hal Greer, the ex-Philadelphia’76er, became ill and was unable to provide for himself and his family, a concerned group of retired NBA players decided that it was about time they took care of their own. (Unlike Major League Baseball players, with a strong pension plan for over 50 years, the once-struggling National Basketball Association had neglected their retired players.)

Dave DeBusschere, Oscar Robertson, Dave Bing and Dave Cowens, among others, created the NBRPA   (National Basketball Retired Players Association). What a mouthful! So I convinced them to ditch that cacophony of letters and be known by a familiar and memorable name: XNBA. To raise funds, we organized an XNBA Sports Award Dinner, MC’ed by NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, with a dais that included Muhammad Ali, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Senator Bill Bradley, and Detroit mayor Dennis Archer, along with dozens of superstar athletes. Then I enlisted 11 of the greatest men who ever played the game (and one legendary coach) to be part of an Anacin Dream Team television spot. The group we formed was truly mind-boggling to any hoops fan.

Each introduces himself in our Anacin TV spot: Oscar Robertson! Bill Walton! Bill Russell! Rick Barry! Elgin Baylor! Bob Pettit! Hondo Havlicek! Jerry West! Big George Mikan! Wilt Chamberlain! The Couse!...and their coach, Red Auerbach! The great Celtics coach, as usual, kept talking: We share a love of basketball...and in a group shot of the dynamic dozen, they call out with perfect teamwork: and Towering Headaches! A voiceover package shot proclaims, The all-time superteam comes back to Anacin. Regular strength Bayer, Bufferin or even Tylenol can’t get rid of Towering Headaches like Anacin! Coach Auerbach brings the commercial to its climax with Rediscover the power of Anacin!...and the greatest dream team to ever give a testimonial to a product, bellows at the top of their lungs, for Towering Headaches!

Any production starring disciplined athletes is a piece of cake, and this shoot was no exception, except GM Jerry West, under tremendous time pressure, was frantically trying to convince Shaquille O’Neal, on the phone, to jump ship and sign with his Los Angeles Lakers. When West rejoined the shoot for the umpteenth time, armed with a winning grin, my dream team knew full well that the victorious GM had snared O’Neal, ensuring years of championship teams. Though a hated competitor to his Celtics, Red Auerbach called out, “Discover the power of Shaquille O’Neal,” followed by the whole gang screaming: “for Towering Headaches!”