Do you remember a particular ABA team or player? Contribute to this page by describing your favorite ABA memories.

with comments, suggestions and questions about this site.

What's New

(updated September 20, 2017)

ABA Team Histories & Fan Memories

Looking Up - From the ABA to the NBA, the WNBA to the NCAAIf you followed the ABA in the 1970's, you're likely familiar with Jim O'Brien. You might have read his weekly ABA columns in The Sporting News. He did them on his own at first, and then in tandem with Woody Paige for the last two years of the league (Jim had the "ABA East" duties, and Woody had the "ABA West" duties). Or you may have purchased his Complete Handbook of Pro Basketball for the 1970-71 and 1971-72 seasons, to read the most detailed ABA team and player profiles available anywhere. Or you might have purchased the yearly Street and Smith's Basketball Yearbook. Jim was the founding editor of this publication in 1970, and always made sure that its ABA coverage was equal to its NBA coverage. Overall, it is fair to say that Jim became the national writer of the red, white and blue league.
In his new book Looking Up - From the ABA to the NBA, the WNBA to the NCAA, Jim has given us an insider's view of basketball from his many years of covering the sport. While the book covers organized basketball as a whole, Jim's heart is with the ABA. So he's devoted specific chapters to many of the unique ABA coaches, players and personalities he worked with. If you're an ABA fan, you'll enjoy the chapters on Bill Sharman, Simmie Hill, Art Heyman, Woody Paige, Willie Wise, Reggie Harding, Connie Hawkins, Bill Melchionni, Dr. J, John Brisker, Fly Williams, and Roger Brown. Jim also has chapters devoted to the 1976 ABA/NBA merger, and the final ABA records/statistics (personally passed along to Jim by Jim Bukata, the last publicist of the ABA, after the conclusion of the 1976 playoffs). There are also chapters on Red Auerbach, Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Bob Lanier, Bill Bradley, Jerry Tarkanian, Jerry West, and Mike Krzyzewski, among many others.
If you ever wondered what it was like to receive a token of kindness from a busy Dr. J of the New York Nets, have a ringside seat to many of the on-court fights provoked by John Brisker of the Pittsburgh Pipers/Condors, receive targeted abuse from Bobby Knight of the Indiana Hoosiers, or struggle through an interview with an irritated Dave Cowens of the Boston Celtics, then this is the book for you. It has fond memories, sad recollections, and candid admissions - highly recommended, and you won't soon forget the stories and experiences that Jim conveys.
This book - intended to be the first of two editions - is over 480 pages with over 200 photos and illustrations (including many from the ABA). It's available by visiting, or by just e-mailing Jim at The price of the book is $29.95 plus $3.95 postage, and Jim is happy to provide personalized signatures with any purchase.

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.

Remember the ABA Site Reviews, Awards & Credits

Links to other Defunct Sports League Web Sites
Information about the New "ABA 2000" Basketball League
All pages at were created, coded, and written [unless otherwise noted] and are copyright © 1996-2018 by . Please note that no goods, products or services are sold on this web site. This web site is intended for reference and educational purposes only, and any commercial use of the images and language on this web site is prohibited. Outside contributors (including photographers and writers) retain copyright for their work. Outside contributions are noted as such.
Larry BrownWillie WiseDan Issel"Pogo Joe" CaldwellDarnell HillmanArtis GilmoreJulius "Dr. J" ErvingBilly KnightDavid ThompsonJulius "Dr. J" Erving