The 1970s was a pivotal era for professional basketball in the United States. The NBA was in a bit of a lull, as the stars of the league were reaching the tail end of their careers. Meanwhile, the upstart ABA was in full swing, with the quality of talent and style beginning to rival the NBA. As talks for a merger were on the table, as well as some bad blood between the leagues, the rivalry between the ABA and the NBA were at an all time high.
Did the ABA play against the NBA? The ABA and NBA participated in exhibition games during the preseason from 1971 to 1975. A total of 155 exhibition games were played, with the ABA winning 79 to the NBA’s 76 wins. The ABA-NBA exhibition games ceased once the ABA-NBA merger occurred in 1976.
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When was the first ABA-NBA exhibition game played?
The first ABA-NBA exhibition game was played on September 21st, 1971, between the Milwaukee Bucks (NBA) and the Dallas Chaparrals (ABA). It was a close contest, but Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the Milwaukee Bucks came out with the victory over the Chaparrals, 106-103.
When was the last ABA-NBA exhibition game played?
The 2 last ABA-NBA exhibition games were played on October 21st, 1975. The first game was between the Kentucky Colonels (ABA) and the Washington Bullets (NBA), in which the Colonels were victorious 121-111. The second game featured the Utah Stars (ABA) and the Milwaukee Bucks, who also played in the first exhibition game; however, this time the Bucks lost to their opponent in another close contest, 106-101.
Why did the ABA-NBA exhibition games stop after 1975?
The last ABA-NBA exhibition games were played in the preseason of the 1975-1976 season. By the end of the season, the ABA and NBA had agreed to a merger. The existing ABA teams either joined the NBA or were folded up, meaning that there would be no more exhibition games.
When were ABA-NBA exhibition games played?
The ABA-NBA exhibition games occurred during the off-season, in the months of September and October.
What major players participated in the ABA-NBA exhibition games?
Nearly every star at the time participated in the ABA-NBA exhibition games, leading to exciting matchups with great talents. NBA stars include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson, Willis Reed, Nate Archibald, John Havliceck, and many others. ABA stars, some who eventually became NBA stars, include Julius Erving, Rick Barry, Moses Malone, Artis Gilmore, Charlie Scott, and more. Interestingly enough, some players represented the ABA and the NBA at one point in these exhibition games, with the most famous example being Julius Erving.
Were there special rules for the ABA-NBA exhibition games?
The ABA had a similar but different set of rules for their games compared to the NBA. The ABA used a flashy red, white, and blue ball compared to the NBA’s orange ball. The ABA also used a three point line, which did not exist in the NBA at the time. Furthermore, the ABA had a 30-second shot clock, 6 seconds more than the 24-second NBA shot clock. The ABA did not have a maximum fouls rule either.
In an interesting agreement, ABA and NBA rules were used for each half. For example, in the first half, the ABA ball would be used, and then switched to the NBA ball in the second half. The same would apply for the ABA shot clock and three point line, which would be in effect for a single half. Sometimes, the no foul-out rule would be in effect for the whole game.This set of special rules created an interesting dynamic for these ABA-NBA exhibition games. The NBA ended up adopting the three-point line a few years later in the 1979-1980 season, it would catch on.
Did all teams participate in the ABA-NBA exhibition games?
All ABA teams and NBA teams participated in the exhibition games, except for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers, who refused to schedule any games with ABA teams.
Were there any other ABA-NBA matchups?
There were no scheduled, official ABA-NBA games beyond the exhibition pre-season games. However, there were two ABA-NBA games called the “Supergames”; these games were organized by players from both leagues and not authorized by the league. In fact, the NBA threatened to fine players who participated in the second “Supergame. The games were quite similar to All-Star Games, with both leagues assembling their best talent, but with more intensity.
The first game, “Supergame I”, took place in May 1971, prior to any scheduled ABA-NBA exhibition games. The NBA side won 125-120 in a game decided by free throws. “Supergame II” took place a year later, with extra buzz as the ABA felt they had made big strides in their level of play in just a year. It was another matchup that went down to the wire, but the NBA emerged victorious once again, 106-104.
Has the NBA played games against other leagues?
The NBA has played many games with international teams since the late 1970s. These games involved teams from China, Brazil, Philippines, and other countries. The NBA has also scheduled games with the EuroLeague, which makes up the bulk of their inter-league games. There has been at least one NBA-EuroLeague matchup nearly every year since 1984.
The ABA saw their exhibition games with the NBA to showcase themselves; they were confident in the talent that they had, and they were sure that their uptempo, showy style of basketball was superior to the NBA’s technical and rigid game. When put to the test, it’s hard to say the ABA didn’t prove their point; while the overall record gives the ABA the marginal edge, it doesn’t tell the whole story. The NBA outclassed the ABA in their first few games, but by the last season, the ABA would regularly beat the NBA. The ABA did enough to prove themselves on the court, and earned their much-desired merger after just a few years of exhibition games.