ABA History and Unique Rules

The ABA is back in Central Indiana!

The American Basketball Association (ABA) is a men’s professional basketball league with nearly 200 teams across North America and Japan. The league has grown to become the largest and most diverse professional sports league in the world. Minorities, women, disabled, and Native Americans make up 70% of team owners. In addition to the men’s league, the Women’s ABA (WABA) was formed in 2017.

In 1999, ABA Owner Joe Newman and attorney Richard P. Tinkham founded the league. This was a re-launch of the 1967 ABA, which merged with the NBA in 1976. Tinkham co-founded both the original ABA and the Indiana Pacers. Some of the ABA notable players at that time, who later became NBA players, include: Julius Irving (Dr. J) George Gervin (The Iceman), Ricky Barry, Billy Keller, and Moses Malone, and many others that came to be NBA players.

The Reformation

The ABA was reformed in 2000 in a partnership with the NBA and has been operating in harmony ever since. Many of the ABA players and coaches go on to play or work for other national or international professional teams. ABA players work with schools and other organizations through Anti-Bullying and reading programs.

Unique ABA Rules

  •  3D Rule: When a team loses possession of the ball in the backcourt (by turnover or foul), the flashing red 3D light comes on, and an additional point is added to any basket made during that possession. Therefore, a 2-pointer becomes a 3-pointer, and a 3-pointer becomes a 4-pointer. If a foul is committed against the player with the ball while the 3D light is on, that player receives an additional free throw attempt.
  • Basket Interference Rule: Once the ball touches the rim, it’s live. Snatching it off the rim is not goaltending.
  • 7-second Rule: Teams have seven (7) seconds to get the ball across midcourt.
  • Sixth Foul Player Rule: Players cannot foul out of a game. However, after the player accumulates six (6) fouls, each additional foul against him results in the opposing team being awarded a free throw attempt and then possession of the ball.
  • Four-Point Field Goal: Four (4) points are awarded to a team that makes a field goal from behind midcourt.

For even more rules that are unique to the ABA, click here.