The American Basketball Association (ABA) began in 1967 until it's merger with the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1976 and reformed in 1999 as a new and improved organization in partnership with the NBA.

Throughout the years, the league has adapted its rules with the game. The ABA combines NCAA, FIBA and NBA rules to create the best show for the fans. The ABA was the creator 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 Rule. Learn about our unique rules here and how we plan on making the game more fun and exciting.

ABA Statements:

Every 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 and universal enforcement of sporting behavior.
  • There will be ZERO tolerance for taunting and baiting.

The 3-D Rule!

The 3-D Rule 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 3D light is on, an additional point is added to the point value of the field goal, (i.e. two point baskets count as three, three point baskets count as four.)
  • 3D light 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 within 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.
  • Half-Court violation: the ABA is 7 seconds opposed to 8 seconds in the NBA to get across the half-court line. If an ABA team is not successful in getting over the half-court line within 7 seconds it results in a turnover which initiates the 3D light

6TH Foul Rule

  • When a player has committed a 6TH Foul (combination of personals and a direct technical), he may continue to participate in the game as a 6TH Foul Player.
  • When a 6THFoul 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.

Back Down Rule

The purpose of the Back Down Rule is to promote the movement of the basketball in the area below the Free Throw Line extended.

All Four Of The Following Factors Must Be Present For A Violation To Occur:

1.     The Player Must Be Dribbling.

2.     The Player Must Be Closely Guarded (within 6 feet).

3.     The Player Must Have His Back To The Basket.

4.     The Player Must Be Below The Free Throw Line Extended.

The Covering Official Will Use A Visible Count.

The Offensive Player May Not Continue The Dribble For More Than Three (3) Seconds.

The Back Down Count Ends When One Of These Four Factors Is Missing.

Overtime: "3-10 & Out

  • The Overtime Period will be Three Minutes in length, with ONE 30-SECOND TIMEOUT per team.
  • The Overtime Period shall begin with a Jump Ball at the Center Circle.
  • The game clock shall stop just as it does during regulation play, including the clock stopping in the last minute, after each field goal.
  • All players are eligible to play in the “3-10 & Out” Overtime, so the best players can participate in the final minutes of the game. Sixth Foul Players are NO LONGER Sixth Foul Players.

Other Unique Rules

A bonus of TWO FREE THROWS will be in effect on the 8th Foul of Each Quarter. There is no “one & one” in the ABA.

A 4-Point Field Goal is scored on field goals made from BEHIND the Division Line.

Once the ball hits the ring, either team is allowed to make contact with the ball.  Anytime the ball is on the ring, basket interference cannot occur by touching the BALL. The ball may be touched when in the imaginary cylinder, IF the ball has already made contact with the ring. When the ball is on or within the basket, the basket continues to be “off-limits.”  The unique ABA Basket Interference Rule only pertains to the touching of the BALL… AFTER the ball has made contact with the ring.

When Branch Rickey broke the color line with Jackie Robinson in major league baseball, it changed the face of professional sports in America – all for the good.  And soon thereafter, the NFL and NBA followed suit.  And professional sports became even better.  At last, inclusion and opportunity were available to minorities and they’ve certainly taken advantage of it by providing some of the greatest players in basketball history like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Moses Malone, LeBron James, Tim Duncan and players with equal impact in football and baseball.  And the same holds true for Hispanics and Asians. Unfortunately, that same inclusion and opportunity has not been extended to ownership except for a few fortunate elite athletes, musicians or actors such as; Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Jay Z or Usher. That is, until the ABA, where diversity has found a home. Diversity is at the core of the ABA. Over 75% of ABA teams are owned by African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians and women. This did not just happen. We made it happen by making it easier to own and operate an ABA team than any other sports opportunity. As a result of our inclusion of minorities, we now have over 90 teams in the ABA and are still growing.

Some Facts About The ABA

  • Professional Basketball League with over 90 teams
  • Signature red, white, and blue basketball
  • Instituted 3-point shot and slam dunk competitions
  • NBA teams that started in the ABA include:  San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets, and Brooklyn Nets (formerly in New Jersey)
  • NBA players that played in the ABA:  Julius “Dr. J” Irving, Artis Gilmore, Moses Malone, Christian Laettner, George “Iceman” Gervin, Rick Barry

For more information on the American Basketball Association visit