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(updated September 20, 2017)

ABA Team Histories & Fan Memories

We Changed the Game - 1967-1976The players from the inaugural 1967-68 ABA season never really got their due. The Topps Company only made ABA player cards for the seasons of 1971-72 through 1975-76. Aside from Indiana and Denver, attendance was sparse across the league. As teams gained their footing, many first-year ABA players were traded or cut before they had the chance to shine. Of all the players from the 1967-68 season, only Louie Dampier, Bob Netolicky, Byron Beck, and Gerald Govan played in all nine seasons of the red white and blue league.
Scott Tarter, an ABA fan based in Indianapolis and a co-founder of the Dropping Dimes ABA charity, has engaged in a years-long project to honor all of the players who played in the league's first year. Scott and others provided the groundwork to create a limited edition card set, which has been produced by Lana Sports. The "ABA Lively League" set has 166 cards featuring unique artist renderings of each of the 159 men who logged any playing time in a first year ABA game. The cards have their season stats and fascinating career facts on the back. Also included in the set are 5 parallel cards (numbered to 50 or less), a special Vietnam veteran card, and a rare first year player autographed card. 
While every living player from the inaugural year of the ABA will be given a set, only 750 individually numbered retail sets have been produced. While supplies last, the set can be purchased from Lana Sports. 100% of the profits from sales of these sets will be donated to Dropping Dimes Foundation - this is the 501(c)(3) charitable organiztion that provides grants of financial support to former ABA players who face severe financial hardship. Questions can be directed to Scott at

If you can identify any of the pro basketball players and coaches pictured above and to the left (click on them to see if you're right), then you remember the "red, white and blue" league: the defunct American Basketball Association.

The ABA existed from 1967 to 1976 -- for nine full seasons. During that time, the ABA fought a bitter war with the established National Basketball Association (the NBA) for players, fans, and media attention. In June 1976, the two rival pro leagues finally made peace. Four of the strongest ABA teams (the New York Nets, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, and San Antonio Spurs) joined the NBA and survived. The other remaining ABA teams (the Kentucky Colonels, the Spirits of St. Louis, and the Virginia Squires) vanished, along with the ABA itself.

However, the ABA is still vividly remembered by its loyal fans. The ABA was the "outlaw" league with the psychedelic red, white and blue basketball, outlandish promotions, and huge afros. It was the "lively" league that adopted the three-point shot -- the exciting "home run" of basketball -- as its own.

The ABA was the "frontier" league that successfully brought (or returned) modern professional basketball to hoops-crazy cities like Indianapolis, San Antonio, Dallas, Salt Lake City, Charlotte/Greensboro, Louisville, Norfolk, and Denver. ABA franchises succeeded and even thrived in these locations.

The ABA was also the league without any business sense. The ABA placed unstable franchises in cities like Pittsburgh, Memphis, Miami, San Diego, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Houston, Baltimore and Anaheim. For various reasons, these teams struggled to survive. Eventually they disappeared or relocated, leaving their few fans with some strange and indelible memories.

During the course of its existence, the ABA featured dazzling above-the-rim players like Julius ("Dr. J") Erving, Connie Hawkins, George ("Ice") Gervin, David Thompson, George McGinnis, Artis Gilmore, Moses Malone, Roger Brown and Dan (the "Horse") Issel. Each of these electric stars first played professional basketball in the ABA -- with young legs and few limitations. The "frontier spirit" of the ABA also led to a group of memorable characters. The ABA had a coach named "Slick" and players named "Whopper," "Fatty" and "Goo." And, who could ever forget Marvin "Bad News" Barnes, "Mr. Excitement" Wendell Ladner, Warren Jabali, and Babe "Magnolia Mouth" McCarthy? But all of these brilliant ABA artists went on stage in front of notoriously small crowds. Most ABA teams had serious attendance problems and almost no national or local television coverage.

As a result, the colorful history of the ABA is almost entirely word-of-mouth. The purpose of this web site is to preserve this history, and provide a much needed space for ABA fans to share their favorite memories. This web page is actually a "collaborative" work--all of the photos, uniforms, and memories on this page have been contributed by various ABA fans across the country. If you would like to help in any way, please click here to find out more.

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Larry BrownWillie WiseDan Issel"Pogo Joe" CaldwellDarnell HillmanArtis GilmoreJulius "Dr. J" ErvingBilly KnightDavid ThompsonJulius "Dr. J" Erving