The American Basketball Association or ABA was a professional basketball league which was founded in the year 1967. This professional league existed for nine full seasons until the year 1976. The association ceased to exist with the merger of the ABA and NBA in 1976.
According to history, the ABA fought a bitter war with the National Basketball Association or NBA. The NBA was already an established organization and both leagues fought for players, fans and media attention. It was the goal of the ABA to force a merger with the NBA. According to ABA officials, the league could get an ABA team for half the cost it would take to get an NBA expansion team. If the two leagues merged, ABA officials said that the league’s investments would more than double.
The two leagues finally made peace in June of 1976. Four of the strongest teams from the ABA were absorbed into the NBA namely the New York Nets, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs. The ABA along with its remaining teams namely the Kentucky Colonels, the Spirits of St. Louis and the Virginia Squires, disbanded and vanished.
There were a lot of differences between the ABA and the NBA. The ABA had a characteristic more wide-open and flashy style of offensive play. There was also a difference in rules such as a 30-second shot clock for the ABA as opposed to the 24-second clock for the NBA. The ABA is also still remembered today for adopting the three-point shot or the “home run” of basketball. The ABA used the colorful red, white, and blue ball; while the NBA used the traditional orange ball still being used today.
During the last year of its existence, the ABA pioneered the slam dunk contest, which is still being played today and has evolved to a very popular game. Another contribution made by the ABA to the sport of basketball is that it tapped into the markets in the southeast such as North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky while the NBA was only focused on urban areas.