The original ABA was founded in 1967, competing with the well-established National Basketball Association, until the ABA-NBA merger in 1976. According to The NBA Encyclopedia, its long-term goal was to force a merger with the more established league. ABA officials told potential owners that they could get an ABA team for half of what it cost to get an NBA expansion team at the time. When the merger occurred, ABA officials said, their investment would more than double.Ultimately, four ABA teams were absorbed into the older league: the New York Nets, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs. Two other clubs, the Kentucky Colonels and the Spirits of St. Louis were disbanded upon the merger. A third, the Virginia Squires, had folded less than a month earlier, missing out on the opportunities that a merger might have provided.

   The ABA distinguished itself from its older counterpart with a more wide-open, flashy style of offensive play, as well as differences in rules (a 30-second shot clock – as opposed to the NBA’s 24-second clock. The ABA did switch to the 24 second shot clock for the 1975-76 season – and use of a three-point field goal arc. Also, the ABA used a colorful red, white and blue ball, instead of the NBA’s traditional orange ball. The ABA also had several “regional” franchises, such as the Virginia Squires and Carolina Cougars, that played “home” games in several cities. The freewheeling style of the ABA eventually caught on with fans, but the lack of a national television contract and protracted financial losses would spell doom for the ABA as an independent circuit. In 1976, its last year of existence, the ABA pioneered the now-popular slam dunk contest at its all-star game in Denver. One of the more significant long-term contributions of the ABA to professional basketball was to tap into markets in the southeast that had been collegiate basketball hotbeds (including North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky). The NBA was focused on the urban areas of the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast. At the time, it showed no interest in placing a team south of Washington, D.C.

The History of the ABA

The ABA continues to be innovative in its approach to bring fast-paced, fan-friendly, exciting basketball to true fans. The game has evolved and so has the rules. The ABA combines NCAA, FIBA and NBA rules to create the best show for the fans. The ABA was the creators of the 3 point shot (now used by the NBA and other leagues). The ABA now has a rule focusing on defense called the 3D. Learn about our unique rules here and how we plan on making the game more fun and exciting. In the ABA we’re “Havin’ a ball.”






“Every ABA game should be a fan-pleasing entertainment experience.”
“League play will emphasize pure basketball skills, while eliminating rough style of play.”
“Officials should set a new and refreshing example by enforcing the rules of the game.”
“Players are expected to sign autographs and interact with fans after each ballgame”
“Players are expected to demonstrate professional conduct at all times.”
“ABA basketball can be a fun and exciting experience for the fans. We offer a great athletic, fast-paced game at affordable prices.”


There will be consistent & universal enforcement of sporting behavior
There will be ZERO TOLERANCE for taunting & baiting


The 3-D Rule light is On when…

The offensive team loses possession of the ball while the ball has backcourt status
The ball goes out-of-bounds after touching the frontcourt (or a player or official in the Frontcourt)
If the offensive team does not establish ball control in the frontcourt, the 3D Light will remain in effect.

When the 3-D Rule is on, an additional point is added to the point value of the field goal. (i.e. two point (2pt) baskets count as three, three point (3pt) baskets count as four)
3-D Rule remains on until the team scores, attempts a free throw for a personal foul; or the other team gains control of the ball.
When the defense commits a foul with in 3D, the number of free throws will be increased by one.
When the defensive team receives a technical foul in 3D, the 3D light remains on following the Free Throws


When a player has committed a 6th Foul (combination of personals & a direct technical); he may continue to participate in the game as a 6th Foul Player.
When a 6th Foul Player commits a Personal Foul, the penalty is One Free Throw (or one additional free throw) for the offended team, plus the ball for a throw-in at a designated spot, nearest the foul.
The 6th Foul Player Rule allows the extra free throw attempt by either one of the five players of the offended team.


All FOUR of the following factors must be Present for a violation to occur:

Player must be dribbling
Player must be closely guarded
Player must have his back to the basket
Player must be below the free throw line extended

The covering official shall use a visible count.
The offensive player may NOT continue his dribble for more than Three seconds.
The Back-Down count ENDS when ONE of the four factors is Missing.
The penalty is a VIOLATION by the Dribbler and the team loses possession.


“3-10 &OUT”

All Overtime periods begin with a jump ball.
The length of the first overtime period is 3 MINUTES
All Team Members are allowed to play during the Overtime period.

6th Foul Players status is cancelled.
Players who have been disqualified are not eligible

There are NO TIME-OUTS ALLOWED during the Overtime period(s)

During the first Overtime Period, the clock is used the same as during regulation play.

Fouls in the Overtime period:

A player fouls out on his 2nd Foul (could be only his 2nd foul of the game)
A Bonus situation occurs on the 4th Foul of the Overtime period
The fouled player gets Three (3) Free Throws.  If fouled in the “Act of Shooting” and the shot is missed, the shooter will receive three free throws.  If the shot is made…just one free throw is attempted.

Double Overtime: There is no clock involved

The Game Clock is NOT used.
The Shot Clock IS used.
Team members who fouled out during the first overtime period are NOT allowed to return to play in the 2nd Overtime period.
The first team to score 10 points is the winner.


The count shall be Visible.
If the defensive team deflects the ball out of bounds, the 7-Second count does not start over when play resumes.

Official shall inform the in bounding player of the remaining time to get the ball in the frontcourt.

If the offensive team is granted a time-out, the count does not start over when play resumes.

Official shall inform the Head Coach of the remaining time to get the ball in the frontcourt.


60-Second Time-Outs

Each team is allotted Two (2) 60-Second time outs per half.
No carry-overs from first half to the second half
The timer should sound two horns: One after 45 seconds & one after 60 seconds
Play should resume at second horn

20-Second time-outs (players may sit)

Each team is allotted One 20-second time out per half
No carry-overs from first half to second half
The timer shall sound two horns:  The First Horn after 5 Seconds & the Second Horn after 20 Seconds (15 Seconds After First Horn)
Play should resume at second horn

Media time-outs

75 seconds in length
There are two media time outs during each quarter
At or below the 8:00 minute & 4:00 minute marks
The timer shall sound two horns:  The First Horn after 60 Seconds & the Second Horn after 75 Seconds (15 Seconds After First Horn)


Four (4) twelve (12) minute quarters
24-second shot clock
No “One & One” free Throw Situations
Penalty of two shots on the 8th team foul of each quarter
All successful field goals from the back court are FOUR points
Must be BEYOND the division line (Foot Cannot Be On The Division Line)


If a held ball occurs in the backcourt and the AP arrow favors the Defense, the 3D Rule is in effect and the 3D light is on.