Former ABA players still hope for a financial gesture from the NBA

Former ABA players still hope for a financial gesture from the NBA

As president of the Players Association, Chris Paul was most proud of offering health insurance to all players who played at least three years in the NBA.

Since 1965, all former basketball players in the league (provided they have played there for at least three years) receive a pension. A system that doesn’t take into account, however, the former ABA players, whose league merged with the NBA in 1976, leaving plenty of former ABAers on the ground…and now without retirement.

For years, Dropping Dimes, which has been trying to provide financial assistance to former ABA players, has been warning about this injustice, and has called on the National Basketball Association to harmonize its system.

Thus, the founder of the association, Scott Tarter, is angry. A month ago, he saw Sam Smith die at the age of 79. This ABA champion with the Utah Stars was one of the outcasts, with no retirement and no health insurance, from the ABA/NBA merger. He wasn’t the least wealthy because after working for Ford in Indianapolis, he was able to get his pension back. But this was not enough to make ends meet and he had to apply for a loan from Dropping Dimes to pay for his daughter’s funeral.

“It’s the money he made. It’s not a gift. He won it.”

Before his death, Sam Smith stood on his hospital bed with an ABA balloon.

“He grabbed my arm and pulled me toward him.” Scott Tarter, the author of the photo, explains. And he said to me, ‘I’m going to do whatever I can to get the NBA to help these guys. »

This staging may be uncomfortable but for Scott Tarter, it is the only way for the NBA to finally move on the fate of the 138 former ABA players awaiting a nod from him. NBA spokesman Tim Frank said the league is in negotiations with Dropping Dimes to find a solution.

For Scott Tarter, ABA players should be able to benefit from the same system as those in the NBA, with a monthly pension of $400 for each season played. In total, this would cost a maximum of $35 million a year, according to Dropping Dimes’ calculations, or a third of the amount of fines the NBA collects from players, which they then distribute to various charities.

For Sam Smith, she would have offered him a monthly pension of $2,000, which would have changed everything.

“It broke my heart to see how much he is a huge fan of the NBA and the players. He had no grudges and didn’t blame them. He died without recognition, with no respect, without a pension.. It is the money he made. It is not a gift. He won it” Scott Tarter concludes.

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