The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a billion-dollar machine. However, before the league became what we know today, the American Basketball Association (ABA) was a prime competitor in terms of talent and skill.

As the ABA dissolved, many of its players were left without some of the benefits necessary to live a full life after their athletic careers. With the help of the Dropping Dimes Foundation, former ABA players will now receive a $24.5 million payout.

A Long Time Coming

According to an official release by the NBA, the league and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced a jointly funded program that will recognize and provide payments to players from the ABA. An estimated 115 former ABA players who played in the league during the final three seasons of the defunct league did not qualify for the NBA’s pension plan for its players. However, under this new program, those players will receive payments for their contributions to the ABA.

Once the ABA dissolved, players without any retirement or pension plans were left to struggle to cover the cost of household necessities, medical bills, and pay rent.

The Math Is Clear

Now that the NBA Board has approved the program of Governors, the eligible ABA players will receive an estimated annual payment of $3,828 per year of service in the ABA. So, if a player played ten years in the league, they will receive $38,280 per year from the new NBA/NBPA program.

“Both our current players and team governors felt a need to act on behalf of these former ABA players who are aging and, in many cases, facing difficult economic circumstances,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.  “These pioneers made meaningful contributions to help grow the game of professional basketball, and we all believe it’s appropriate to provide financial recognition to this group for their impact.”

Count It As A Win

This new program announcement is a big win for the Dropping Dimes Foundation. Since its inception in 2014, the nonprofit organization has worked to provide relief to former ABA players who experience financial or medical hardships.

“It’s an incredible day for former ABA players,” Scott Tarter, CEO and founder of Dropping Dimes told the Indy Star. “[It’s] one that we and the players have been hoping for and working so hard toward for many years.”