NBA creates jointly funded program to pay former ABA players

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The NBA cares about players from its past.

On Tuesday, the league and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced a new jointly funded program that will pay approximately 115 former American Basketball Association (ABA) players $3,828 per year of service.

A general view of the 50th Anniversary logo during a game between the Denver Nuggets and the Phoenix Suns on January 19, 2018 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.

A general view of the 50th Anniversary logo during a game between the Denver Nuggets and the Phoenix Suns on January 19, 2018 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.
(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

All players played at least three seasons and were not eligible for an NBA retirement plan.

“Both our current players and team leaders have felt the 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 have made a significant contribution to the development of professional basketball and we all feel it is fitting to give this group financial recognition for their contributions.”

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The nonprofit Dropping Dimes Foundation, which aims to help former ABA players not involved in the NBA-ABA merger, has been pushing the NBA to help former players since 2014.

The San Antonio Spurs logo before a game against the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the 2018 NBA Playoffs First Round on April 19, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.

The San Antonio Spurs logo before a game against the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the 2018 NBA Playoffs First Round on April 19, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.
(Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

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“This is an incredible day for former ABA players, one that we and the players have been hoping for and working so hard on for years.” Scott Tarter saidCEO and Founder of Dropping Dimes.

NBA and ABA teamed up in 1976, when all four ABA teams remain in the NBA to this day.

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“Our players truly appreciate those who paved the way and helped us achieve the success we enjoy today,” said NBPA Executive Director Tamika Tremalho. “We have always considered ABA players to be part of our fraternity and we are proud to finally recognize them as that asset.”

The NBA 75th Anniversary logo is seen on a billboard before a game between the Denver Nuggets and the Washington Wizards at Ball Arena on December 13, 2021 in Denver, Colorado.

The NBA 75th Anniversary logo is seen on a billboard before a game between the Denver Nuggets and the Washington Wizards at Ball Arena on December 13, 2021 in Denver, Colorado.
(Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)

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A player who plays three years in the ABA will receive $3,828 for each year of service, for a total of $11,484 per year.