NBA vs ABA: Difference and Comparison

People use different sports as a medium to stay fit or also as a recreational activity by simply watching them. Several tournaments that are held in different sports are thoroughly enjoyed by people.

People support their favourite teams and cheer for them. The organizations that organize those tournaments make sure that decorum is maintained throughout the tournament of the respective sport.

There are several associations for different sports. For basketball, the two renowned associations are 1. NBA or the National Basketball Association, and 2. ABA or the American Basketball Association.

Key Takeaways

  1. NBA is the National Basketball Association, while ABA is the American Basketball Association.
  2. NBA is considered the more prestigious of the two leagues, while ABA was dissolved in 1976.
  3. ABA had a distinctive red, white, and blue ball, while NBA had an orange ball.


NBA (National Basketball Association) is a basketball federation. There are a total of thirty teams in this league. Each team plays eighty-two games in the NBA. NBA players are professionals. ABA (American Basketball Association) is a college player league. There can be more than sixty teams in ABA. ABA players are not professionals.


The National Basketball Association, or the NBA, is a competent basketball federation in North America. The league includes 29 teams from the United States of America and 1 team from Canada.

It was founded on 6 June 1946 and has its headquarters in New York. The league was known as the Basketball Association of America when it was first founded.

The American Basketball Association, or the ABA, is a basketball federation for college players. It was founded in the year 1999. The founders of this association are Joe Newman and Richard Tinkham.

It is a semi-professional league. This men’s basketball secondary event has been won maximum times by the Jacksonville Giants ever since its advent.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonNBAABA
Full form National Basketball Association American Basketball Association
Founded on/in6 June 19461999
Number of teams30More than 60
PlayersProfessional playersCollege players
Most titles Boston Celtics, Los Angeles LakersJacksonville Giants

What is NBA?

The National Basketball Association, or the NBA, is a competent basketball federation in North America. The league includes 29 teams from the United States of America and 1 team from Canada. It was founded on 6 June 1946 and has its headquarters in New York.

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The Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers are the two teams that have won the most titles. In the United States of America, the National Basketball Association has television partners like ABC, ESPN, TNT, NBA TV etc.

In Canada, the NBA has television partners like TSN, TSN2, Sportsnet, Sportsnet One, NBA TV Canada etc.

Each team in the NBA plays 82 games that are held from October to April, and the playoff games are lengthened to June. There were only 11 teams when the National Basketball Association was founded, but now it has nearly 30 teams.

These 30 teams are segmented into 2 conferences, and those 2 conferences are divided into 3 divisions each, and each division has 5 teams in it.

The conferences are the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference. The Western Conference has teams like Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, New Orleans Pelicans etc.

The Eastern Conference has teams like Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, Washington Wizards etc.


What is ABA?

The American Basketball Association, founded in 1999, is a league for college players who wish to play even more advanced tournaments in their future life.

Joe Newman and Richard Tinkham founded it. It is merely related to the American Basketball Association, which was founded in the year 1967 and later was merged with the National Basketball Association.

The Indiana Pacers won the most titles in the previous American Basketball Association, and Richard Tinkham was an administrator with the team. The current American Basketball Association started in the year 2000.

There were only eight teams back then, but now the league has more than 60 teams. Later in 2002 and 2003, all the activities affiliated with the league were jettisoned due to reorganization purposes.

A new format was introduced in the league in the years 2004 and 2005. This new format ensured that many teams participated in the league, and a huge audience was attracted to the league.

The league was expanded drastically. New franchises were introduced to the league. The motto of the league is “More than just a game”, and the league truly lives up to it.

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The current American Basketball Association includes several teams from the Pacific region, Mid-Atlantic region, North Central region, Northeast region, Southeast region and even South Central region.

The teams are Fresno Flaming Sun Rays, San Diego Kings, Baltimore Hawks, Richmond Elite, Illinois Bulldogs, Indiana Lyons, Central Jersey Sharks, Wyoming Valley Clutch, Austin Bats, Pensacola Lightning etc., from the respective regions.


Main Differences Between NBA and ABA

  1. The NBA is the abbreviation National Basketball Association. On the other hand, the ABA is the short form for the American Basketball Association.
  2. The National Basketball Association was founded in the year 1967 and was later merged with the original American Basketball Association in the year 1976. On the other hand, the American Basketball Association was founded in the year 1999 and is not even merely related to the original American Basketball Association.
  3. The National Basketball Association has 30 teams, which include teams like Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder etc. On the other hand, the American Basketball Association has more than 60 teams, which includes teams like Illinois Bulldogs, Indiana Lyons, Central Jersey Sharks, Wyoming Valley Clutch, Austin Bats etc.
  4. The slogan of the American Basketball Association is “More than just a game”, on the other hand, the slogan of the National Basketball Association is “I Love this Game” and also has its other slogans and taglines.
  5. The National Basketball Association consists of professional-level players. On the other hand, the American Basketball Association consists of college players.
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Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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