History of the ABA

  • Period: to

    The ABA is formed

    The ABA was an idea of Dennis Murphy who originally planned for it to be a football league, but the AFL was already established. He decided on basketball instead due to the fact there wasn't a lot of basketball teams, despite most NBA teams not making money. It only cost an inital investment of $55,000 to get into the league
  • George Mikan Hired as First ABA Commissioner

    George Mikan Hired as First ABA Commissioner
    He was one of the most prominent NBA icons at that time. He was hired mainly to give a name to the league, but he also came with many issues. He was located in Minneapolis, Minnesota and forced the league offices to be located there. He was very poor at his job, the most infamous story being when he met with Kareem-Abdul-Jabar out of college and had a check for a million dollars in his pocket, which he never showed him. Later Kareem said if he would of seen it he would of signed with the ABA.
  • Connie Hawkins Signs with Pittsburgh

    Connie Hawkins Signs with Pittsburgh
    Connie Hawkins signing was a big deal because he had been blackballed by the NBA. During his freshman year of college he was banned due to connections with gamblers. He was never convicted of anything And Mikan approved of him. He was an ABA champion and MVP, and was able to get back into the NBA. He also opened the door for several other players in similar scenarios to play in the ABA.
  • Rick Barry Becomes First Big Name to Jump Leagues

    Rick Barry Becomes First Big Name to Jump Leagues
    Rick Barry was the NBAs second leading scorer at the time, and this was the first big name player the ABA had signed. He instantly gave the league credibility and a player people recognized. The contract was for 75,000 over three years and a 15% ownership stake. This also led to the first of many lawsuits between the NBA and ABA, this one over if the option clause was legal. the courts ruled it was and that Barry had to sit out a year or play one more for the Warriors, so he sat out.
  • Mel Daniels Becomes first top pick to choose ABA over NBA

    Mel Daniels Becomes first top pick to choose ABA over NBA
    Mel Daniels was the first player to be a first round draft pick in the NBA, but sign with an ABA team instead. He went on to have one of the greatest ABA careers of all time winning two MVPs and leading the Indiana Pacers to three titles. He was later on inducted into the NBA hall of fame.
  • First ABA Game Played

    The game took place on a Friday the 13th between the Oakland Oaks and the Anaheim Amigos. The Oaks won 132-129 in the Oakland Coliseum in front of 4,800 fans. Willie Porter scored the first basket in the history of the league, sixty four seconds into the game.
  • Spencer Haywood Becomes First Hardship Case and Signs with Nuggets

    Spencer Haywood Becomes First Hardship Case and Signs with Nuggets
    SPencer Haywood was a college sophomore and averaged 32 points and 22 rebounds, and wanted to turn pro but couldn't because of a rule that required you to play four years in college. The ABA took this rule down by creating a term called a "hardship case" which meant that this player was a special case because he needed to support his family. The courts ruled in the ABA's favor and the basketball world was turned on its head. Haywood was a dominate player and MVP but jumped to the NBA.
  • ABA Lures away top NBA Refs

    The ABA was able to get Earl Strom, Norm Drucker, Joe Gushe and John Vanak to come over from the NBA. This was a completely different form of attack by the ABA. The leagues management viewed it as one of the best moves the ABA ever made, because the ABA officiating had been so bad, and it really affected NBA officiating. The refs had been making 22,000 dollars a year and their new contracts were up to 200,000 over three years.
  • Dolph Gets the ABA Its "TV Deal"

    Jack Dolph's main job as commisoner was to get the ABA a TV deal and he somewhat succeeded. The deal got six games a year televised as well as the all star game. It was only worth $10,000 dollars a year to each team. The first game it was supposed to televise almost never happened as players went on strike right before the all star game. It wasn't until 45 minutes before the game when the ABA recognized the players association the players agreed to play.
  • The NBA and ABA Merger; Until Players Get Involved

    The ABA's goal was to merge with the NBA within three years and they successfully did that. This was until the NBAPA led by Oscar Robertson got involved. They filed a suit that said this merger would create an illegal monopoly on basketball business. This led to major roadblocks and the issues between the owners in each league came to a head again. In 1972 this merger was approved by the Senate but they made a few changes which favored the ABA, so the NBA did not approve.
  • Pacers Sign Rick Mount to a "Million Dollar Contract"

    Pacers Sign Rick Mount to a "Million Dollar Contract"
    Rick Mount was a college all-american and home grown Indiana boy. He was viewed as a sure thing but turned out to be anything but. He only lasted two years in Indiana, but he is known because he was the first to sign a "million dollar contract". This contract included the dolgoff plan which was how the ABA lured away a lot of NBA players. The contract was set up so Mount made 40,000 dollars over five years, and then 50,000 thousand a year for 20 years starting in 1991.
  • Julius Erving is Traded to New York Which Turns Into ABA's Most Covered Story

    Julius Erving is Traded to New York Which Turns Into ABA's Most Covered Story
    Erving had become unhappy with his contract and wanted a new one but Virginia said no. He instead signed a deal with the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA. The issue was Dr.J was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks and the NBA ruled the Bucks owned his rights despite the Hawks having a contract. New York of the ABA came in and gave the Hawks $500,000, the Squires $1 and Erving a new five year $2 million deal. Erving also got $250,000 from the Hawks who also had to send the Bucks $250,000.
  • Wilt Chamberlian Becomes San Diego's Player-Coach or Actually Just Coach

    Wilt Chamberlian Becomes San Diego's Player-Coach or Actually Just Coach
    San Diego managed to sign Wilt to be their new player-coach in their first year. This was a huge deal for the ABA as Wilt was one of the most recognizable faces in basketball. The Lakers took it to court and it was ruled he had to sit out a year, so he just coached San Diego for the year. Coach can be used lightly to describe what he actually did as he commonly missed games and didn't truly partake in practice. After the year of coaching he went back to the NBA.
  • Ice Man Sold to San Antonio

    Ice Man Sold to San Antonio
    George Gervin was a player came into the ABA very unknown, but turned into one of the best players in the ABA's history. He was in his 2nd season for VA and was clearly becoming a star but VA's owner was in money trouble and San Antonio's president offered $225K for him. The deal was agreed upon contingent on Gervin wouldn't play for SA until after the all-star game in VA. After the game VA's owner said he was no longer making the trade. This went to court and they ruler in SA's favor.
  • Moses Malone Becomes First Player to go Straight From High School to Pros

    Moses Malone Becomes First Player to go Straight From High School to Pros
    Moses Malone was one of the most highly recruited basketball players there ever was. The ABA had been signing players from college so the Utah Stars drafted him while he was in high school. He was injured most of his time in the ABA and the Utah team folded. It was when he got to the NBA he became one of the most dominant rebounders there ever was.
  • The Spirits signed the Spirit of the ABA

    The Spirits signed the Spirit of the ABA
    Marvin Barnes was the number two overall pick in the 1974 NBA draft. He instead signed $2.1 million contract over seven years. Barnes was as talented as any player to ever come across the ABA the issue was he was uncontrollable. He had tons of drug porblems and rarely ever showed up to anything on time or made team flights. He is known for representing the ABA in the way of how crazy he was being the same for the ABA. Despite this he was a rookie of the year and member of ABA all time team.
  • The ABA gets MJ before MJ

    The ABA gets MJ before MJ
    David Thompson signed with the Nuggets out of college for a 3 year $450,000 per year deal. This instantly boosted Denver's popularity and they had by far the best attendance in the ABA and fourth best in pro basketball following his signing. He was a rookie of the year, and many consider that first year to be his best. He quickly fell to cocaine issues, and then tore up his knee. Before these issues people view him know as the closest thing there was to Michael Jordan.
  • The First Slam Dunk Contest

    The ABA was down to seven teams and Virginia was on the verge of collapsing. The ABA wasn't sure how to do an all star game with seven teams so they decided to make it Denver v. the best of the other six teams. The main attraction of this was the first dunk contest to ever and it included all time dunkers like Dr.J and David Thompson. It was won by Dr.J who was able to dunk from the foul line. It was an instant success and was carried to the NBA and is still a key part of all star weekend today.
  • The ABA Comes to an End and Reaches Its' Ultimate Goal.

    On Feb. 3 the Oscar Roberson Suit was finally settled which reopened merger talks. It appeared a deal wouldnt be reached but in the end it was done. SA, Denver, NY, and Idiana were admitted to the NBA and each had to pay $3.2 mil. Kentucky got $3 mil for folding. St.Louis signed a deal that paid based on NBA TV revenue for folding their franchise which to this day still makes them over $5 mil annually.
  • Julius Erving Signs With Virginia Squires

    Julius Erving Signs With Virginia Squires
    At the time Dr.J was an unknown player at UMASS who just finished his sophomore year. He signed a 4 year deal worth 200,000 dollars up front. He came into the league as a question mark and left as the best player in ABA history, along with NBA history. He was known for being one of the best dunkers of all time and would draw crowds to stadiums that typically had 500 people coming to games. He was a two time ABA champion and three time MVP.