The American Basketball Association (ABA) is Founded

The American Basketball Association (ABA) was founded on February 1, 1967, by sports promoter Dennis Murphy and a group of investors, as a competitor of the NBA. It spanned nine seasons and a countless number of franchises before merging with the NBA in 1976.

The ABA distinguished itself from the NBA with what was considered at the time to be a more wide-open style of offensive play as well as a number of other differences--a 30-second shot clock (as opposed to the NBA's 24-second clock), use of a three-point basket, and an All-Star Game which also featured a Slam Dunk contest. Additionally, the ABA’s first commissioner, NBA Hall of Famer George Mikan, introduced the league’s colorful red, white and blue ball instead of the NBA's brown ball. Despite the league’s freewheeling style of play and exciting players, a lack of a national television contract and continued financial losses ensured the league could not survive.

In 1976, the NBA absorbed four teams: the New York (later renamed the New Jersey) Nets, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, and San Antonio Spurs. The Virginia Squires had folded less than a month earlier, missing out on the opportunities a merger might provide. Two other clubs, the Kentucky Colonels and the Spirits of St. Louis were disbanded upon the merger. Just a week before the first season after the merger was about to begin, the Nets sold Julius Erving, the ABA’s biggest name, to the Philadelphia 76ers because of their financial constraints. Strapped for cash, the Nets faced a $3.2 million fee to enter the NBA, plus $480,000 in annual indemnity payments to the New York Knicks. They agreed to sell Erving to the 76ers for $3 million, along with George McGinnis. The two led the Sixers to the NBA Finals in their first year in the NBA.

Other ABA players who had esteemed NBA careers including Mel Daniels (Indiana Pacers), Billy Cunningham (Carolina Cougars), Rick Barry (Oakland Oaks), Connie Hawkins (Pittsburgh Pipers), David Thompson (Denver Nuggets), George Gervin (San Antonio Spurs), Spencer Haywood (Denver Rockets), Artis Gilmore (Kentucky Colonels), Dan Issel (Kentucky Colonels), and Moses Malone (Drafted in 1974 by the Utah Stars from Petersburg High School in Petersburg, Virginia, Malone exclusively played in the NBA, from 1976 to 1995).