In the 1960s and 1970s, a rival professional basketball league known as the American Basketball Association (ABA) emerged and challenged the National Basketball Association (NBA) for players, fans, and market share. The ABA was known for its flashy style of play, colorful uniforms, and innovative rule changes, such as the use of a three-point line.
During this time, the ABA was able to sign several top college players, as well as established NBA stars, to lucrative contracts. This led to a fierce competition between the two leagues for talent, and the ABA was able to field several strong teams that were competitive with the NBA.
The ABA also attempted to expand into major markets where the NBA had teams, including New York and Los Angeles, in an effort to directly compete with the established league.
Despite the ABA's efforts, the NBA remained the more financially stable and popular league, but the ABA's continued existence put pressure on the NBA to merge with the ABA. Finally, in 1976, the two leagues agreed to merge, with four ABA teams joining the NBA.
The merger helped the NBA to increase its popularity and reach, as well as improve its financial stability. Some of the ABA's rule changes and innovations, such as the three-point line, were also adopted by the NBA, and continue to be used in the league today