The NBA recently launched a program to assist former American Basketball Association players that are currently struggling to pay for their basic necessities.
Prior to the National Basketball Association leading the way for what is modern professional men’s basketball, the ABA had significant influence. In 1976, the two leagues merged and the NBA became the dominating organization.
Prior to the 75-76 season, the Denver Nuggets and the New York Nets applied to be in the NBA and opted to leave the ABA. Following this event, countless other ABA teams disappeared off the roster and were admitted into the opposing league, which formally put an end to the American Basketball Association.
However, the effects of this merge continue to plague former ABA players to this day. Roughly 46 years after the American Basketball Association–National Basketball Association merger, respirations are finally being given to the ex-ABA players that can no longer afford to pay for basic living expenses.
“Both our current players and team governors felt a need to act on behalf of these former ABA players who are aging and, in many cases, facing difficult economic circumstances,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver shared in a press release.
He added the sentiments, “These pioneers made meaningful contributions to help grow the game of professional basketball and we all believe it’s appropriate to provide financial recognition to this group for their impact.”
How exactly is the NBA working to assist former ABA players?
Despite the fact that ABA players were essential in the growing world of basketball, many of the players currently struggle to pay for housing, amenities, and other economic struggles. As a part of the NBA’s program, players who played for at least three seasons receive an annual payment of $3,828 for each year they played. For example, the association shared that if an ABA played for five years, they would receive $19,140 from the program.
The program comes after the Dropping Dimes, an Indiana nonprofit that advocates for former ABA players living in subpar conditions, shed light on the difficulties that came after the 1976 merge. In a tweet, the organization wrote, “A huge win for the game of basketball, for the fans, and, most importantly, for the players who changed the game!”
“Our players have a genuine sense of appreciation for those who paved the way and helped us achieve the success we enjoy today,” said NBPA Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio in a statement. “We have always considered the ABA players a part of our brotherhood and we are proud to finally recognize them with this benefit.”
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