NBA/ABA Merger at 35 & the 25th Anniversary of the 1986 NBA Draft
June 17, 2011- Today June 17, 2011 is the 35th Anniversary of the announcement of the NBA/ABA (American Basketball Association) Merger of 1976. Its also the 25th Anniversary of the 1986 NBA Draft. Both historic milestones are honored and celebrated during the national observance of NBHHCM (National Basketball & Hip-Hop Culture Month) 2K11.
On June 17, 1976 the NBA and ABA announced to the public that the two leagues would merge and 4 of the 6 remaining ABA teams would become NBA franchises and increase the league from 18 to 22 teams (the 2011 NBA Finals Champion Dallas Mavericks became the 23rd NBA franchise in 1980).
The Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, New York (New Jersey) Nets, and San Antonio Spurs were the 4 ABA teams involved in the merger. The other two ABA franchises the Kentucky Colonels and Spirit of St. Louis folded.
The ABA's influence in the NBA can be seen in the 3-point shot, the Slam Dunk Contest, and the ever changing hair-styles of the players. Back in the 70's it was the Afros of Julius"Dr. J" Erving, Darnell"Dr. Dunk" Hillman, and Artis Gilmore. In today's NBA the corn-rows of Allen Iverson, Michael Beasley, and Udonis Haslem are on display. The corn-row hair-style is not as popular as it was 4-5 years ago, but for a decade it was the talk of the league and the hip-hop culture.
Gilmore the former Kentucky Colonel center will be inducted into Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall-of-Fame as a member of the 2011 Class.
The 1986 NBA Draft that was held on June 17, 1986 and is remembered for the shocking death of Len Bias. Bias was the second overall pick by the Boston Celtics and considered the most-talented player of the draft class. The Celtics had just won its 16th NBA Championship and were looking to Bias to carry on the winning tradition of the franchise that was being run by Larry Bird.
The Celtics didn't win another Championship for 22-years until 2008. They won their 17th NBA Championship on June 17, 2008.
The 1986 Draft did produce two Hall-of-Fame players Arvydas Sabonis the Lithuanian and Portland Trail Blazer star, and 5-time NBA Champion Dennis Rodman.
Rodman won two NBA Championships with the Detroit Pistons, and three with the Chicago Bulls.
The 1986 Draft was marred by drug addictions by players Chris Washburn, Roy Tarpley, and William Bedford.
There were successful careers in the NBA from '86 draft class Mark Price teamed with the Brad Daugherty the number 1 pick of the same draft in Cleveland. Kevin Duckworth, Jeff Hornacek, Johnny Newman, Drazen Petrovic, Nate McMillan, Dell Curry, Chuck Person, and Scott Skiles had very productive careers.
McMillan is the current head-coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, and Skiles the current head-coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.
John Salley the 11th pick and Ron Harper the 8th pick won multiple NBA Championships. Harper is a 5-time NBA Champion (3-Bulls, 2-Lakers) , and Salley a 4-time NBA Champion (2-Pistons, 1-Bulls, 1-Lakers) and sports TV personality.
Since 2009 June has been proclaimed and observed as NBHHCM (National Basketball & Hip-Hop Culture Month).