The San Diego Conquistadors (known as the San Diego Sails in their final, partial season), were an American Basketball Association (ABA) team based in San Diego. The "Q's", as they were popularly known, played from 1972 to 1975. As the Sails, they played an incomplete season only, beginning the 1975–1976 season but folding after only 11 games with 3 wins and 8 losses.
The franchise was founded by Leonard Bloom in 1972 as the ABA's first—and as it turned out, only—expansion team. The team was slated to play at the San Diego Sports Arena, but a feud between Bloom and Peter Graham, operator and lease-holder of the city-owned 14,400 seat arena, led Graham to lock the newborn team out of the facility for two years. Graham was reportedly upset about Bloom being awarded the ABA expansion team he had also sought. By the time the conflict was resolved in the fall of 1974, it was too late for a weakened franchise that had been forced to play, in the interim, at bandboxes Peterson Gymnasium (3,200 seats) on the campus of San Diego State University, and Golden Hall, a multipurpose facility in Downtown.
After reaching the 1973 ABA Playoffs in their inaugural season, the Q's seemingly pulled off a coup by paying center Wilt Chamberlain $600,000 to become their player-coach. But the Los Angeles Lakers sued to block their former star from playing for his new team. Relegated to a sideline role, Chamberlain was reduced to an indifferent, 7-foot-1-inch sideshow who once skipped a game in favor of an autograph session for his recently published autobiography. (His fill-in, on that and other occasions, was Stan Albeck, who later skippered the Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and New Jersey Nets of the NBA.) Nonetheless, the team again reached the postseason, bowing out in the first round, for the second year in a row, in the 1974 ABA Playoffs.
The season, however, was overshadowed by the arena situation. Frustrated with his inability to get a lease for the Sports Arena, Bloom announced plans for a 20,000-seat arena in Chula Vista. However, a referendum on the arena, held just after the season started, failed by only 294 votes. League officials then ordered Bloom to take preliminary steps toward moving to Los Angeles, in hopes of returning to a market abandoned by the Utah Stars four years earlier.