LAS VEGAS — The National Basketball Association and its players association announced Tuesday a new program to provide recognition payments to former American Basketball Association players.
The program is jointly funded and will provide annual payments to about 115 players who played three or more seasons in the ABA and did not qualify for a benefit from the NBA players’ pension plan. The annual payments will total about $3,828 per year played.
“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,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “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.”
The ABA was a major professional basketball league that existed alongside the NBA from 1967 to 1976, when the two associations merged. Four ABA teams joined the NBA: the Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets, New York Nets and San Antonio Spurs.
The announcement of the ABA recognition payment program comes off the heals of a record financial year for the NBA. For the first time, revenue topped $10 billion and basketball-related income reached $8.9 billion.
The commissioner noted that the numbers are particularly strong considering the league is still dealing with a pandemic.
“The numbers did surprise me to a certain degree because it exceeded projections, and the projections represent where we think our business is going,” Silver said. “I think it’s quite remarkable from where we came 2 1/2 years ago.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.