The peak basketball league and dream of every professional basketball player, the NBA is now over seventy-one years old. The basketball league started as the Basketball Association of America in 1946, under which it operated for three years.
Then, in 1949, it merged with the National Basketball League and became the National Basketball Association, a name that stuck for decades. In this post, we will dissect the interesting history of the NBA as well as facts concerning the league.
The BAA and NBL: The Start of a New Dawn
The Basketball Association of America, BAA, started in 1946 with eleven teams; it lost four before the next season started. Nevertheless, the association enjoyed many successes against the National Basketball League, its major rival.
By 1948, it had amassed enough glory to convince four NBL premiere franchises to join it. The NBL and BAA merged in 1949, bringing the total number of teams to seventeen, but the new league wasn’t performing well.
Six years after the merge, the number of teams had dropped to eight and the league began experiencing financial troubles. The NBL, in particular, was having financial troubles because they were in smaller markets.
Frank Zollner, the owner of Fort Wayne Pistons, played a key role in keeping the NBA financially afloat. The newly formed NBA continued with eight teams for six years, between ’55 and ’61; the Chicago Packers joined in 1961.
Five years after the Chicago Packers, now Washington Wizards, joined, the Chicago Bulls joined in 1966. The Chicago Bulls hold the record for being the first expansion team because they had an expansion draft. Between 1966 and 2004, eleven more teams joined the league, bringing the total number of teams to twenty-one. Today, on several platforms like the Parimatch India app, you can stake on your favorite teams and players.
Remarkable Teams and Players in NBA History
The National Basketball Association has always been dominated by “teams of the era” as described by some historians. During the first few decades of the league, the Minneapolis Lakers and their star player, George Mikan, dominated the league.
The Lakers won five championships between 1948 and 1954 while the Celtics won 11 championships in thirteen seasons between 1975 and 1966. The Lakers and Celtics continued to dominate the league until the 1980s with combined wins of eight out of ten titles.
In 1990, the Chicago Bulls started dominating with their star player, Michael Jordan, who won six titles in the decade. The Lakers took over dominance in the 2000s winning five titles throughout the decade.
Michael Jordan is the only athlete that has had an impact that extended outside of their game. In the 1990s, he became the NBA itself, maybe even bigger; he would have won more titles but for his two-year retirement.
After the Jordan era, in the 2000s, the NBA saw an increase in international players joining the league. Players from all over the globe began joining the NBA and finding success, one of which is Dirk Nowitzki.
Meanwhile, while the NBA was experiencing a growth spurt in the 1960s, a rival league sprang up to challenge it. The rival challenged it in the ABA, which lasted for nine years, between 1967and 1976; the rival eventually merged with the NBA.
Top 7 Facts about the NBA You Probably Don’t Know
The history of the NBA is replete with events, awards, and facts very few people are aware of. If you have read this article to this point (and continue reading), you will be among those “few” people.
Below, we’ve gathered seven interesting facts about the National Basketball Association you probably did not know:
- Shaquille O’Neal, one of the league’s all-time best players, dominated every aspect of the basketball game saving one: three-pointers. O’Neal attempted twenty-two three-pointers in his career but could only make one shot – ever.
- Air Jordan, one of the best basketball sneakers ever, was once banned in the NBA. Michael Jordan wore the sneakers and was fined $5,000 for every game he played with them.
- Kobe Bryant was selected in the 13th pick in the 1996 NBA draft; his parents had to co-sign his contract until he turned 18.
- Muggsy Bogues is the shortest NBA player and an underrated shot-blocker famous for his steals. Meanwhile, Manute Bol is the tallest NBA player, an outstanding shot-blocker and rebounder, and an underrated three-point shooter. Both players played for the Washington Bullets in the 87/88 basketball season.
- While double-doubles and triple-doubles are very common in the NBA, there has never been a quintuple-double.
- Paul Pierce tried to stop a fight on 25 September 2000 but ended up getting stabbed eleven times in his face, neck, and back. He went through surgery but was back on his feet three days later; he played 82 games that season.
- According to Sports Illustration, sixty percent of NBA players go broke five years after retiring.
The National Basketball Association is the highest professional league and the ultimate goal of every professional basketball player. It is impossible to discuss all of the NBA’s history in one short post, but we’ve managed to cover the major aspects.