This feature appears on the Court Side newspaper website.
Decades before Del Curry, Reggie Miller, Paul Pierce, and Stephen Curry raised the blood pressure of opposing NBA coaches, the American Basketball League developed the 3-point shot in 1961. Harlem Globetrotters owner Abe Saperstein created the league and the shot was a relic of its brief history. The ABL folded after 1 1/2 seasons.
But the 3-point shot lived to see another day, with the upstart ABA giving it the green light when it began operations in 1967.
With a visually tantalizing red, white and blue ball, the ABA was unique. And the 3-pointer added an element of excitement to its game. The NBA was staid and conservative in comparison.
Ironically, the NBA’s first great big man, George Mikan, pushed for the 3-pointer to be a part of the ABA. Mikan served as the ABA’s first commissioner.
Mikan once said, “We called it the home run because the 3-pointer was exactly that. It brought fans out of their seats.”