New Line Cinema today is releasing its latest feature film, giving a comedic glimpse of life in the American Basketball Association. Will Ferrell plays Jackie Moon, an ABA player-owner trying to break into the big-leagues. Woody Harrelson has a supporting role. Joe Newman, an Indianapolis broadcasting veteran who re-launched the ABA in 2000, thinks the 20-team league will get a big marketing bounce from the film. The movie will use the trademark ABA ball and makes many references to the league. ABA teams late this week launched special promotions and movie ticket giveaways to capitalize on the exposure. The ABA won’t get much cash from the movie, though. Most of the cash will flow to the National Basketball Association, which controls the ABA trademarks. The ABA did sell New Line Cinema 1,800 red-white-and-blue basketballs used in the movie, which probably brought the league about $45,000, sporting goods experts said. Even though the movie depicts some of the crazy antics the ABA has become known for, Newman doesn’t think it will cast the league in a bad light.
“It’s satire, and doesn’t represent what the ABA is,” Newman said. “It’s a fun farce. And it’s gotten the league a tremendous amount of attention. The people from the league here in Indianapolis and their families all plan to attend the premiere tonight. It should be great.”