No NBA, no problem

Oct. 31, 2011

Tyler Bodlak
[email protected]

Remember the ABA? Remember the red, white, and blue balls, the birth of the dunk contest, and the highflying beauty of Dr. J’s well-groomed afro?

If you said “yes” to any of these questions, you’re either old, or you’re lying.

During its far-too-short existence in the late 60s and 70s, the American Basketball Association (ABA) revolutionized the entertainment aspect of professional basketball, providing spectators with the type of up-tempo, rim-rattling action that dominates today’s highlights.

The ABA died in 1976, but now it is back. This time around, Colorado Springs is getting in on the action with its own team, the Crusaders.

Established in Nov. 2010, the Colorado Springs Crusaders are one of four teams in the ABA’s Rocky Mountain Conference. The other conference teams are the Colorado Cougars (Greeley), the Colorado Kings (Denver…better watch out, Nuggets), and the Wyoming Roughnecks (Gillette, WY).

The Crusaders play their home games at James Irwin High School and are currently 1-0 for the season, having defeated the Wyoming Roughnecks 116-108.

Beginning on Nov. 5th and 6th with a double header against the Colorado Kings, the Crusaders will have games every Saturday and Sunday until the season concludes in early March.

Tickets can be purchased by email at [email protected] or at the door on game days. Students and members of the military both receive ticket discounts.

The original ABA marketed itself as a unique league, one predicated on pure entertainment and innovation, introducing new rules such as the three-point line and a longer shot clock. True to its flashy roots, the resurrected ABA has also implemented a few new twists of its own.

The most unusual of these innovations is the 3-D rule. In short, the 3-D rule awards teams with an extra point per basket after the opposing team has turned the ball over.

Following a turnover in the backcourt, the “3-D rule light” flashes on until another turnover occurs. While the light is on, an additional point is added to all field goals by the team who didn’t commit the turnover. Consequently, no lead is ever truly safe in the ABA.

Other unique rules include the sixth foul rule and the four-point shot. The sixth foul rule allows players who have committed six fouls to stay in the game as “six foul players.”

When a 6th Foul Player commits a foul, the other team is awarded one (or one additional) free throw, plus the ball.

The four point shot is exactly what it sounds like: a shot that is worth four points. All baskets made from behind the division line are “four pointers.”

As NBA labor negotiations drag on and players and owners squabble over exactly how many millions of dollars it takes to feed a family, the season is gradually shrinking into nothingness. The ABA can help fill the void.

No, it’s not the NBA, but it doesn’t want to be. Just like the ABA of old, this upstart league is dedicated to providing its fans with a unique brand of basketball. High scoring games will be the norm and five point plays are possible (can you say “comeback”?).

If nothing else, the ABA promises to be exciting. After all, the league’s commissioner has a little experience when it comes to excitement. You might have heard of him: his name is Julius Erving.