Ask the ABA
WELCOME TO ASK THE ABA. If you have any questions about the ABA that you would like answered, please fill-out the form below. Each week, we’ll select the best question and post it below. The ABA is now in its 51st year. A league with an incredible history and a great present and future. We want to know what you are thinking. Thank you.
From Jeff Walker, Los Angeles: Why does the ABA make such a big deal about diversity?
Thank you for the question. We certainly don’t intend it to be a “big deal,” but rather a point of pride. You see, minority ownership in professional sports leagues throughout the years has been lacking unless you happen to be a famous athlete or celebrity like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Jay Z, Usher and a very few others. We think the reason is more than economic and thus when the ABA was founded, we decided that diversification of ownership would be the foundation of our new league and we would make inclusion and opportunity available to everyone, not just a few select people. That’s why we made it easier to own and operate an ABA team than any other. The result: 75% of ABA ownership is African-American, Hispanic, Asian, women and disabled, a mark that no other professional sports league in history has achieved and something of which we are very proud. It is a “big deal?” Yes it is if you are one of those who have dreamed of owning a professional sports team and have been denied the opportunity based on race, creed, religion, nationality or gender. It is very “big deal.” Hope this answers your question. Appreciate the interest.
From John P, Chicago: Why doesn’t the ABA play D-league teams?
Great question. The ABA has been open to playing D-league teams for many years. In fact, the ABA has even challenged D-league teams. We feel that the quality of players in the ABA is as good if not better than the D-league. Perhaps the reason is because the NBA does not want to dispel the myth that the D-league is the second best non-NBA league in the US. However, the D-league is important to the ABA because our players see it as a path to the NBA and we certainly do not want to upset the NBA or D-league and thus prevent more of our players to advance. We are ready, willing and able to play games vs. the D-league at any time, any place. We truly believe that many of our players are NBA caliber and that if ABA players were scouted as much as NCAA and international players are scouted, you would see many ABA players in the NBA. Anyone who has seen players like Maurice Mickens of the Jacksonville Giants or Andre Muse of the Chicago Steam or Jesse Jones of the Jersey Express or Chris Cromartie of the South Florida Gold or any of dozens of great ABA All Stars would know that they are far better than many of the players drafted into the NBA or on D-league rosters. And hopefully one day, the NBA and D-league will wise up – starting with some games between the D-league and the NBA.