George Gervin talks about how the merger helped shape the modern day NBA

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Football News

The style of play in the NBA has changed significantly over the past 20 years. 

Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls dominated the 1990s in a time where the league was considered more physical. In the 21st century, Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors are leading the way with a philosophy of team basketball and spreading the floor. 

While there have been numerous rule changes throughout history that have led to the style of play we currently see, how much of an influence did events in 1976 have on the shaping of today's game? 

The merger between the NBA and ABA is a defining moment in history and has produced one of the most successful franchises ever in the form of Western Conference outfit the San Antonio Spurs. 

Since joining the league 40 years ago, the Spurs have gone on to win five NBA Championships and six Conference titles - most of that being down to Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan and Co., but one man who represented the Texas-based franchise during their transition into the league, believes the merger has had a huge impact in many ways.

The 63-year-old Hall of Famer spent 11 years in San Antonio from 1974 to 1985 and said the influence of the merger can be seen in the current champions of the NBA.

"Golden State Warriors won a Championship shooting threes," Gervin said. "The ABA transitioned the three-point shot into the NBA so it played a big part."

The three-point shot has become a huge part of every franchise's arsenal and the Warriors have taken the game plan to a whole new level; Stephen Curry has already broken the season record for buckets from behind the arc. 

But Gervin believes the merger also had a huge impact on the All-Star weekend. The annual event took place in Toronto in February - the 65th instalment and first outside of the United States - and the former swingman believes a combination of the NBA and ABA helped the exhibition develop into today's entertaining spectacle. 

"The NBA did not have an All-Star weekend, they had an All-Star game. Angelo DeRosa and Carl Sheer are the two that helped develop to make this weekend like it was back in 1976.

"Our entertainment was Glen Campbell. So they had an idea and a vision way back when of what this could be. Neither one of them is alive to really appreciate it but I want to thank them for having that kind of vision."

It has been 40 years since the merger took place and the effects of the historic event are still clear for all to see. Not only did it produce one of the most successful franchises in NBA history, it also helped develop the league into the spectacle we see today.

As far as defining moments in history go, the year of 1976 is up there as one of the most significant. Despite so many years passing, the effect of the merger can still be seen every day.

San Antonio Spurs
Southwest Division
Western Conference
Pacific Division
Golden State Warriors

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