Like many other sports leagues that have existed over time, it is vital to know the story and the overall history behind it. The NBA is no exception. It has a pervasive history that is worth exploring. We will do a deep-sea dive into the history of the league.
In order to examine the history of the NBA, it is important to explore the origins of the game of basketball. Basketball was invented in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith. Naismith discovered the game during an assignment in which he had to come up with a winter sport to be played indoors at a local YMCA. Naismith would travel across the country promoting the sport.
The first pro league was established in 1898. It was called the National Basketball League. Yet, it only lasted six years. The National Basketball League would be formed once again in 1937. However, it only lasted until 1946. Two years later, the NBA would be formed, consisting of teams from the National Basketball League and another pro league called the Basketball Association of America.
The league’s first superstar was George Mikan. George Mikan led the Minneapolis Lakers to the first NBA Championship. Mikan’s talent caused the league to create new rules. One of those rules was the three-second violation.
However, during the 1950s, fans were put off by a strategy put forth by teams that involved holding the basketball for long periods of time. Thus, the shot clock was instituted in 1954. As a result, scoring would dramatically increase.
Once Chuck Cooper broke the color barrier as the first black player in the NBA in 1950, the league would experience exponential growth based on the emergence of superstars such as Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. The American Basketball Association would emerge as a potential threat to the league’s progress. However, the NBA would merge with the ABA in 1976.
The NBA was boosted by the dominance of the Lakers and Celtics through the 1980s. Additionally, Commissioner David Stern steered the NBA through an outstanding economic period during his tenure. This was highlighted by the fact that the NBA signed lucrative contracts with NBC and Turner Broadcasting.