While the new generation of basketball fans has grown up watching the NBA as the only professional basketball league in North America, older fans recall it wasn’t always that way. Before the NBA merger in 1976, the American Basketball Association or ABA was a professional basketball league that existed for nine sports betting seasons, with 11 teams competing in the first nine seasons before the league was cut down to seven teams by the middle of its final year. While the ABA competed on its own as a rival to the NBA for many years, it is said that the point of the ABA was to eventually force a merger with the more well-established association, with the catch being that ABA team owners would have an in to eventually own an NBA team for much cheaper than if they had gone through the NBA expansion process or bought an existing team.
Considering that an ABA team cost approximately half of what an NBA team did at the time, it only makes sense that owners would have taken this 5Dimes route. Ultimately, the New York Nets, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, and San Antonio Spurs were the four teams that were absolved by the NBA, with the other clubs either disbanding or folding following the merger. The ABA had long established itself as a more flashy, offensive-minded style of game as opposed to the NBA with different rules that helped the league become what it was, giving birth to stars like Julius Erving, Larry Brown, and George McGinnis. Many stars from the ABA would go on to have successful careers in the NBA, and while a good majority of the newer generation of bookies won’t be able to recall that history, the older generation will never forget how the two leagues will forever be linked.