I was young when the ABA fizzled out, but do remember the league. Dr J. his big afro flying toward the hoop. iceman George Gervin. Marvin Barnes and all the crazy stories about his tenure in St. Louis.
Today's NBA is the way it is because of the ABA. The NBA in the 70s had a boring brand of basketball, mostly played by white players who weren't all that athletic. Mid-range shooting and cutting to the hole for layups was the style of play.
In the ABA, with the three point shot, there was more room to get to the basket. It was a three point shooting take the ball tot he hook and dunk it league, where individuals were allowed to put on a show to get fans in the door.
For any fan of today's NBA, I strongly recommend you find and read the book "Loose Balls" by Terry Pluto. http://www.amazon.com/Loose-Balls-American-Basketball-Association/dp/141654061X
Great stuff in it, like when the team was getting ready to depart on a flight that left Louisville at 8 p.m. and would get into St. Louis at 7:56 p.m. due to a time-zone change. Barnes said, "I ain't getting on no time machine," and rented a car for the trip.
Or Bob Costas first play by play gig, also with St. Louis, where the color man was the team owner's wife.
There was so much talent in the ABA - Dr. J, Iceman, Larry Kenon, Rick barry, George McGinnis, Artis Gilmore, who was a dominant player, Dan Issel. Moses Malone, Marvin Barnes, Mel Daniels, Mo Lucas.
For a brief time, Iceman and Dr J were even on the same team, the Virginia Squires. When the ABA broke up, they had a disbursal draft and Portland added Moses Malone and Marvin Barnes, to their Bill Walton and Mo Lucas. Portland, with their shaky big man history, flipped Malone for a first round pick and also traded Barnes.