Fifty-two seasons ago, a new professional basketball league made its debut. Unlike some other start-up sports leagues, the American Basketball Association managed to survive for more than just a season or two, with four teams eventually merging with the NBA in 1976. It took four years for the league’s players to appear on Topps basketball cards but its inaugural 1967-68 season now has a set of its own.
Indianapolis-baed Lana Sports has created a boxed set featuring hand-drawn and colored sketches of all 159 players who suited up that season—even for one game. The 160th card is a commemorative card for Les Powell, a Vietnam War casualty who had signed to play in the league but was drafted into military service and killed in action before getting the chance to play.
The backs of the cards feature fairly lengthy player biographies.
Many of the players who suited up in that first ABA season never had a trading card until now.
“The league has a legendary, almost mythical, place in pro basketball history because so few people actually saw the games in person or on (pre-cable) TV.” -Lana Sports
Only 750 sets were produced and a portion of the $249.99 cost will go to the Dropping Dimes Foundation, which helps former ABA players in need. Each player is also receiving a set created especially for him. The sets are available on the Lana Sports website.