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The original AMERICAN BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION (ABA) was a major-league professional basketball league founded in 1967. The ABA ceased to exist with the American Basketball Association–National Basketball Association merger in 1976, leading several teams to join the National Basketball Association and the introduction of the 3-point shot in the NBA.

CONTENTS

* 1 League history

* 1.1 Commissioners

* 2 Teams * 3 List of ABA championships * 4 Prominent players

* 5 Season leaders

* 5.1 Scoring leaders * 5.2 Rebounding leaders * 5.3 Assists leaders * 5.4 Steals leaders * 5.5 Blocks leaders

* 6 Awards * 7 Succession * 8 See also * 9 References * 10 External links

LEAGUE HISTORY

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The ABA was conceived at a time stretching from 1960 through the mid-1970s when numerous upstart leagues were challenging, with varying degrees of success, the established major professional sports leagues in the United States. Basketball was seen as particularly vulnerable to a challenge; its major league, the National Basketball Association , was the youngest of the Big Four major leagues, having only played 21 seasons to that point, and was still fending off contemporary challenging leagues (it had been less than five years since the American Basketball League (ABL) shut down). According to one of the owners of the Indiana Pacers, its goal was to force a merger with the more established league. Potential investors were told that they could get an ABA team for half of what it cost to get an NBA expansion team at the time. When the merger occurred, ABA officials said their investment would more than double.

The ABA distinguished itself from its older counterpart with a more wide-open, flashy style of offensive play, as well as differences in rules—a 30-second shot clock (as opposed to the NBA's 24-second clock, though the ABA did switch to the 24 second shot clock for the 1975–76 season) and use of a three-point field goal arc , pioneered in the earlier ABL. Also, the ABA used a colorful red, white and blue ball, instead of the NBA's traditional orange ball. The ABA also had several "regional" franchises, such as the Virginia Squires and Carolina Cougars , that played "home" games in several cities.

The ABA also went after four of the best referees in the NBA: Earl Strom , John Vanak , Norm Drucker and Joe Gushue , getting them to "jump" leagues by offering them far more in money and benefits. In Earl Strom's memoir _Calling the Shots_, Strom conveys both the heady sense of being courted by a rival league with money to burn—and also the depression that set in the next year when he began refereeing in the ABA, with less prominent players performing in inadequate arenas, in front of very small crowds. Nevertheless, the emergence of the ABA boosted the salaries of referees just as it did the salaries of players.

The freewheeling style of the ABA eventually caught on with fans, but the lack of a national television contract and protracted financial losses would spell doom for the ABA as an independent circuit. In 1976, its last year of existence, the ABA pioneered the now-popular slam dunk contest at its all-star game in Denver .

The league succeeded in forcing a merger with the NBA in the 1976 offseason. Four ABA teams were absorbed into the older league: the New York Nets , Denver Nuggets , Indiana Pacers , and San Antonio Spurs . Two other clubs, the Kentucky Colonels , and the Spirits of St. Louis , were disbanded upon the merger, with each getting a buyout: the Colonels received a one-time buyout that owner John Y. Brown, Jr. used to purchase the NBA's Buffalo Braves , while the Spirits owners negotiated a cut of the other ABA teams' television revenues in perpetuity. This deal netted the ownership group of the Spirits over $300M through nearly four decades due to a large increase in television revenues. In 2014, the NBA and the Spirits ownership agreed to phase out future payments in exchange for a one-time payment of $500M, making the total value for the deal over $800M. The seventh remaining team, the Virginia Squires , received nothing, as they had ceased operations shortly before the merger.

One of the more significant long-term contributions of the ABA to professional basketball was to tap into markets in the southeast that had been collegiate basketball hotbeds (including North Carolina, Virginia, and Kentucky). The NBA was focused on the urban areas of the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast. At the time, it showed no interest in placing a team south of Washington, D.C.

COMMISSIONERS

* George Mikan 1967–1969 * James Carson Gardner 1969 (interim ) * Jack Dolph 1969–1972 * Bob Carlson 1972–1973 * Mike Storen 1973–74 * Tedd Munchak 1974–75 * Dave DeBusschere 1975–76

NBA great George Mikan was the first commissioner of the ABA, where he introduced both the 3-point line and the league's trademark red, white and blue basketball. Mikan resigned in 1969. Dave DeBusschere , one of the stars of the New York Knicks championship teams, moved from his job as Vice President and GM of the ABA's New York Nets in 1975 to become the last commissioner of the ABA and facilitate the ABA–NBA merger in 1976.

TEAMS

Of the original 11 teams, only the Kentucky Colonels and Indiana Pacers remained for all nine seasons without relocating, changing team names, or folding. However, the Denver Larks/Rockets/Nuggets , a team that had been assigned to Kansas City, Missouri , moved to Denver without playing a game in Kansas City due to the lack of a suitable arena. In addition to the four surviving ABA teams, seven current NBA markets have ABA heritage: Utah, Dallas, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, Memphis, and Charlotte all had an ABA team before the NBA arrived. The Louisville, Kentucky-Indiana market, former home of the ABA Kentucky Colonels, is considered a top contender for the next NBA expansion or relocation, and in fact the then Vancouver Grizzlies had Louisville as one of its four "finalists" for a new home before choosing Memphis in 2001. The Colonels led the ABA in attendance five of the ABA's nine seasons, with regular sellouts of 16,600+ fans at Louisville's Freedom Hall, since replaced by the 22,000-seat KFC Yum! Center .

FRANCHISE CITIES/NAMES YEARS FATE

Anaheim Amigos Los Angeles Stars Utah Stars Anaheim Amigos 1967–1968 Folded, 1975 NBA entered Utah in 1979 (Jazz )

Los Angeles Stars 1968–1970

Utah Stars 1970–1975

Dallas Chaparrals Texas Chaparrals San Antonio Spurs Dallas Chaparrals 1967–1970 Joined NBA, 1976, as San Antonio Spurs NBA added franchise in Dallas (Mavericks ) in 1980.

Texas Chaparrals 1970–1971

Dallas Chaparrals 1971–1973

San Antonio Spurs 1973–1976

Houston Mavericks Carolina Cougars Spirits of St. Louis Houston Mavericks 1967–1969 Folded, 1976

NBA added franchise in Charlotte (1988–2002, moved to New Orleans) and added a replacement franchise in 2004.

Carolina Cougars 1969–1974

Spirits of St. Louis 1974–1976

Indiana Pacers Indiana Pacers 1967–1976 Joined NBA , 1976, as Indiana Pacers

Kansas City / Denver Larks/Rockets/Nuggets Kansas City (unnamed) 1967 Joined NBA, 1976, as Denver Nuggets

Denver Larks 1967

Denver Rockets 1967–1974

Denver Nuggets 1974–1976

Kentucky Colonels Kentucky Colonels 1967–1976 Folded, 1976

Minnesota Muskies Miami Floridians Floridians Minnesota Muskies 1967–1968 Folded, 1972 NBA added Miami market in 1988 with Heat , which wear Floridians jerseys in Hardwood Classics days. NBA added Minnesota market in 1989 with Timberwolves , which wear Minnesota Muskies jerseys in Hardwood Classics games.

Miami Floridians 1968–1970

Floridians 1970–1972

New Orleans/Louisiana Buccaneers Memphis Pros /Tams /Sounds Baltimore Hustlers/Claws New Orleans Buccaneers 1967–1970 Folded, 1975 Both New Orleans (Pelicans ) and Memphis (Grizzlies ) have NBA teams.

Louisiana Buccaneers 1970

Memphis Pros 1970–1972

Memphis Tams 1972–1974

Memphis Sounds 1974–1975

Baltimore Hustlers 1975

Baltimore Claws 1975

New York/New Jersey Americans New York Nets New York Americans 1967 Joined NBA, 1976, with name changes to reflect move to New Jersey (1977) and currently Brooklyn Nets (2012).

New Jersey Americans 1967–1968

New York Nets 1968–1976

Oakland Americans/Oaks Washington Capitals Virginia Squires Oakland Americans 1967 Folded, 1976 NBA relocated San Francisco Warriors to Oakland (as the Golden State Warriors ) in 1971 and the Baltimore Bullets to Washington (now the Washington Wizards ) in 1973.

Oakland Oaks 1967–1969

Washington Capitals 1969–1970

Virginia Squires 1970–1976

Pittsburgh Pipers/Pioneers/Condors Minnesota Pipers Pittsburgh Pipers 1967–1968 Folded, 1972 NBA has been in Minneapolis–St. Paul since 1989 with the Timberwolves .

Minnesota Pipers 1968–1969

Pittsburgh Pipers 1969–1970

Pittsburgh Pioneers 1970

Pittsburgh Condors 1970–1972

San Diego Conquistadors /Sails San Diego Conquistadors 1972–1975 Folded, 1975 NBA operated in San Diego from 1967 to 1971 with the San Diego Rockets (now the Houston Rockets ) and from 1978 to 1984 with the San Diego Clippers (now the Los Angeles Clippers ).

San Diego Sails 1975

LIST OF ABA CHAMPIONSHIPS

Main article: List of ABA champions

YEAR WESTERN DIVISION CHAMPION GAMES EASTERN DIVISION CHAMPION PLAYOFFS MVP

1967–68 New Orleans Buccaneers 3–4 PITTSBURGH PIPERS Connie Hawkins C, Pittsburgh

1968–69 OAKLAND OAKS 4–1 Indiana Pacers Warren Jabali G, Oakland

1969–70 Los Angeles Stars 2–4 INDIANA PACERS Roger Brown F/G, Indiana

1970–71 UTAH STARS 4–3 Kentucky Colonels Zelmo Beaty C, Utah

1971–72 INDIANA PACERS 4–2 New York Nets Freddie Lewis G, Indiana

1972–73 INDIANA PACERS 4–3 Kentucky Colonels George McGinnis F/C, Indiana

1973–74 Utah Stars 1–4 NEW YORK NETS Julius Erving F, New York

1974–75 Indiana Pacers 1–4 KENTUCKY COLONELS Artis Gilmore C, Kentucky

With the ABA cut down to seven teams by the middle of its final season, the league abandoned divisional play.

YEAR WINNER GAMES RUNNERS-UP PLAYOFFS MVP

1975–76 NEW YORK NETS 4–2 Denver Nuggets Julius Erving F, New York

PROMINENT PLAYERS

* Marvin Barnes * Rick Barry * Zelmo Beaty * Ron Boone * John Brisker * Hubie Brown * Larry Brown * Roger Brown * Don Buse * Mack Calvin * Darel Carrier * Jim Chones * Billy Cunningham * Louie Dampier * Mel Daniels * Julius "Dr. J" Erving * Donnie Freeman * George "Ice Man" Gervin * Artis Gilmore * Jerry Harkness * Connie Hawkins

* Spencer Haywood * Dan Issel * Warren Jabali * Bobby Jones * Jimmy Jones * Larry Jones * Larry Kenon * Freddie Lewis * Maurice Lucas * Moses Malone * George McGinnis * Doug Moe * Bob Netolicky * Johnny Neumann * Billy Paultz * Charlie Scott * James Silas * David "Skywalker" Thompson * George Thompson * Fly Williams * Willie Wise

For more information, see ABA All-Time Team .

SEASON LEADERS

* Elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

SCORING LEADERS

SEASON PLAYER TEAM(S) Games played POINTS PPG

1st 1967–68 Hawkins, Connie Connie Hawkins * Pittsburgh Pipers 70 1875 26.8 BEST PPG

2st 1968–69 Barry, Rick Rick Barry * Oakland Oaks 35 1190 34.0

3st 1969–70 Haywood, Spencer Spencer Haywood * Denver Rockets 84 2519 30.0

1970–71 Issel, Dan Dan Issel * Kentucky Colonels 83 2480 29.9

1971–72 Scott, Charlie Charlie Scott Virginia Squires 73 2524 34.6 BEST POINT

1972–73 Erving, Julius Julius Erving * Virginia Squires 71 2268 31.9

1973–74 Julius Erving* (2) New York Nets 84 2299 27.4

1974–75 McGinnis, George George McGinnis * Indiana Pacers 79 2353 29.8

1975–76 Julius Erving* (3) New York Nets 84 2462 29.3

REBOUNDING LEADERS

SEASON PLAYER TEAM(S) Game played Offensive rebounds Defensive rebounds Total rebounds RPG

1967–68 Daniels, Mel Mel Daniels * Minnesota Muskies 78 502 711 1213 15.6

1968–69 Mel Daniels* (2) Indiana Pacers 76 383 873 1256 16.5

1969–70 Spencer Haywood* Denver Rockets 84 533 1104 1637 19.5

1970–71 Mel Daniels* (3) Indiana Pacers 82 394 1081 1475 18.0

1971–72 Gilmore, Artis Artis Gilmore * Kentucky Colonels 84 421 1070 1491 17.8

1972–73 Artis Gilmore* (2) Kentucky Colonels 84 449 1027 1476 17.6

1973–74 Artis Gilmore* (3) Kentucky Colonels 84 478 1060 1538 18.3

1974–75 Nater, Swen Swen Nater San Antonio Spurs 78 369 910 1279 16.4

1975–76 Artis Gilmore* (4) Kentucky Colonels 84 402 901 1303 15.5

ASSISTS LEADERS

SEASON PLAYER TEAM(S) Games played ASSISTS APG

1967–68 Brown, LarryLarry Brown * New Orleans Buccaneers 78 506 6.5

1968–69 Larry Brown* (2) Oakland Oaks 77 544 7.1

1969–70 Larry Brown* (3) Washington Caps 82 580 7.1

1970–71 Melchionni, Bill Bill Melchionni New York Nets 81 672 8.3

1971–72 Bill Melchionni (2) New York Nets 80 669 8.4

1972–73 Bill Melchionni (3) New York Nets 61 453 7.4

1973–74 Smith, AlAl Smith Denver Rockets 76 619 8.1

1974–75 Calvin, Mack Mack Calvin Denver Nuggets 74 570 7.7

1975–76 Buse, Don Don Buse Indiana Pacers 84 689 8.2

STEALS LEADERS

SEASON PLAYER TEAM(S) Games played STEALS SPG

1973–74 McClain, Ted Ted McClain Denver Rockets 84 250 2.98

1974–75 Taylor, BrianBrian Taylor New York Nets 79 221 2.80

1975–76 Don Buse Indiana Pacers 84 346 4.12

BLOCKS LEADERS

SEASON PLAYER TEAM(S) Games played BLOCKS BPG

1973–74 Jones, Caldwell Caldwell Jones San Diego Conquistadors 79 316 4.00

1974–75 Caldwell Jones (2) San Diego Conquistadors 76 246 3.24

1975–76 Paultz, Billy Billy Paultz San Antonio Spurs 83 253 3.05

AWARDS

Main article: List of American Basketball Association awards and honors

SUCCESSION

In 1999, a new league calling itself the ABA 2000 was established. The new league uses a similar red, white and blue basketball as the old ABA, but unlike the original ABA, it does not feature players of the same caliber as the NBA, nor does it play games in major arenas nor on television as the original ABA did.

SEE ALSO

* _1960s portal * 1970s portal

* American Basketball Association (2000–present) * List of defunct sports leagues * Loose Balls _, written by Terry Pluto * _ Semi-Pro _, a comedy about the ABA starring Will Ferrell , of the fictional Flint Tropics * World Hockey Association , another league that intended to compete with its professional counterpart, the NHL

REFERENCES

* ^ _The Official NBA Basketball Encyclopedia_. Villard Books. 1994. p. 180. ISBN 0-679-43293-0 . * ^ Burke, Monte. "The NBA Finally Puts An End To The Greatest Sports Deal Of All Time". _Forbes_. Retrieved 2016-12-11. * ^ Sports Encyclopedia * ^ "ESPN Classic: Mikan was first pro to dominate the post". Retrieved 2007-12-04. * ^ " Dave DeBusschere Bio". NBA.com . Archived from the original on 11 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-09. * ^ Official ABA Guides, 1967–1976. * ^ RememberTheABA.com ABA All-Time Team Page (as selected at 30 year ABA anniversary event)

EXTERNAL LINKS

* Remember the ABA

* v * t * e

American Basketball Association seasons

SEASONS

* 1967–68 * 1968–69 * 1969–70 * 1970–71 * 1971–72 * 1972–73

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