Basketball isn't just a game; it's a saga of epic transitions and transformations. The tale of the American Basketball Association (ABA) teams merging into the National Basketball Association (NBA) is no less than a blockbuster sports drama. Let's dribble through history and uncover which ABA teams decided to play in the big league!

The ABA-NBA Merger

Back in 1976, the basketball world witnessed a pivotal transformation. The ABA, known for its flashy style and the introduction of the three-point line, merged with the NBA, the more established and globally recognized league. This merger wasn't just a blending of teams; it was like mixing a cocktail of excitement with a shot of tradition.

What ABA teams went to the NBA?

Four ABA teams secured their spots in the NBA. These four teams were the: Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets, Brooklyn Nets, San Antonio Spurs.

Each of these teams brought a unique flavor to the NBA, spicing up the competition and fan engagement.

Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers were among the ABA's most successful teams, having clinched three ABA championships. Their transition to the NBA was watched closely by fans and analysts alike. The Pacers maintained their competitive spirit, eventually making significant impacts in the NBA, including multiple conference titles and NBA Finals appearances.

Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets, originally known as the Denver Rockets, were another team that made the jump. In the ABA, they were known for their high-scoring games and dynamic playstyle, which they carried into the NBA. Over the years, the Nuggets have grown into a formidable team, consistently making playoff appearances and challenging the best in the league. They are the 2023 NBA Champions.

New York Nets

The New York Nets, now playing as the Brooklyn Nets, had a rollercoaster journey from the ABA to the NBA. Initially struggling with financial and performance issues, the Nets have since established themselves as a powerhouse, attracting top talent and making significant playoff runs, thanks to their strategic plays and star-studded lineup.

San Antonio Spurs

Perhaps the most successful of the former ABA teams, the San Antonio Spurs have built a dynasty in the NBA. With multiple NBA championships under their belt, the Spurs are a testament to the success that can be achieved with strategic planning, stellar coaching, and a commitment to team play.

The ABA Influence Still Felt Today

The legacy of the ABA is still evident in today's NBA. The three-point shot, which was an ABA innovation, has become a crucial part of modern basketball strategy. The ABA's emphasis on pace and excitement has also persisted, making the NBA one of the most entertaining sports leagues globally.


Please browse through our frequently asked questions section to get more insights on ABA teams.

How many teams from the ABA joined the NBA?

Four teams from the ABA joined the NBA: the Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets, New York Nets, and San Antonio Spurs.

What impact did the ABA teams have on the NBA? 

The ABA teams brought new styles and strategies, including the three-point shot and a faster pace of play, which have significantly influenced modern NBA games.

Which former ABA team has been the most successful in the NBA?

The San Antonio Spurs have been the most successful, with multiple NBA championships and a reputation for excellence and strategic gameplay.

Are there any ABA teams left in the league?

No, all of the ABA teams have merged into the NBA.

How many American Basketball Association teams were there?

There were a total of 11 ABA teams throughout its history, with the four mentioned above being the only ones to join the NBA. The other seven teams either folded or merged with existing NBA teams before the ABA-NBA merger.


The journey from the American Basketball Association to the National Basketball Association was a landmark event in basketball history. The Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets, New York Nets, and San Antonio Spurs not only joined the NBA but also left an indelible mark on it. Their legacy continues to influence the style and strategy of the game today, proving that their move was not just a change of leagues but a lasting evolution of basketball itself.