The original American Basketball Association was founded in 1967 and rivaled the NBA in the early 1970’s. The league offered a new style of basketball in an era that was changing the way we see the world. With innovative ideas like three point shot and dunk contest the ABA was creating excitement in the form of creativity and entertainment. Julius Erving was the face of the league in the 70’s and a big reason the league lasted nine seasons. 

If you remember the Doctor flying through the air with his afro gently blowing above the rim and his hands pressed tightly on a colorful red, white and blue ball. That was the ABA. This new ball was criticized by the basketball community but it gave the league its personality and something of its own competing with the NBA.

It is said by some that the main goal of the ABA was to force a merger with the more established NBA. After the NBA merged with the ABA in 1976 only four teams survived. The San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers and New York Nets were all given the right to become part of the NBA. The NBA wanted new and young talent so absorbing the ABA was a great move for the league.

Many of the ABA players went on to become all-stars in the NBA and enter the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame including a revolutionary and innovative player they called the Doctor; Julius Erving now a Hall of Fame member who was inducted to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame 1993.  The last game in the ABA was played on May 13, 1976.

As recently as 2012 Mel Daniels was inducted into the Hall of Fame having played his entire career in the ABA.  In 2013 Roger Brown who also played his entire career in the ABA was inducted into the Hall of Fame.  Other ABA players to move to the NBA when the leagues merged and made their mark included George Gervin, Artis Gilmore, Dan Issel, Moses Malone and David Thompson.


It’s worth mentioning because initially they were passed over for many reasons none of which included their ability to play the game they loved. This continues today at the highest levels. Most of the best players in the world play in the NBA. Many are left out or never get the chance none of which included their ability to play.

The current version of the ABA headed by CEO Joe Newman and includes 75% of team owners who are African-American, Hispanic, Asians or women. This was by design Joe told us: “I felt that minorities were denied too many opportunities and chose inclusion as a major goal.  It has worked and I believe we have the best overall ownership group in professional sports”

The Balloholics are more than proud to be added to the 75% as one its founding principles and guidelines was to provide participation for children who were being left out of youth basketball in Vancouver for a number of reasons, none of which included their ability to play.  With your help we hope to build an even more successful organization with long term stability and opportunities for local talent to follow their dreams to the highest levels.

The current version of the ABA started in 2000 and is made up of over 90 teams throughout the USA and Canada. Canada West development is underway and we are happy to be selected to join the ABA family this fall 2014.