The Rise of the National Basketball Association
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of Illinois Press
Title Page, Copyright
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A large number of people provided help along the way in completing this manuscript. As always, few authors work in isolation. Several curators and research librarians provided crucial material. Thanks to Matt L. Zeysing, historian and archivist, and Kip Fonsh, curatorial assistant, of the Joseph...
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The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a successful professional sports league that has either absorbed or thwarted at least three rival leagues. Its athletes are among the most recognized and highest paid on the planet. However, the league and its players were not always so highly acclaimed. The Basketball Association..
1. Economics of Sports Leagues
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Owners in professional team sports leagues enjoy advantages that other business owners do not. The league owners are, in a sense, a cartel. Cartels are usually against U.S. antitrust laws. All professional team sports leagues have partial or full antitrust exemptions, thanks to the courts and to congressional legislation...
2. The Beginnings (1946-48)
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The popularity of college basketball implied a potentially strong demand for a chance to watch well-known college stars continue their playing careers. Why not professional basketball? Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, and professional football were enjoying the effects of pent-up wartime craving...
3. The Merger and Its Aftermath (1948-51)
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Because the NBL possessed George Mikan and other well-known stars, BAA owners faced difficulties in persuading the public that their teams played the best basketball. After two seasons the BAA owners had to decide whether to woo the more attractive NBL teams to join their league. The owners also faced the issue...
4. Shakedown (1951-54)
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With the NBL gone, along with some of the original BAA franchises, the surviving owners hoped consolidation would provide stability if not prosperity. However, the elimination of six weak teams did not immediately create prosperity for the remaining NBA teams. Three more teams folded before the league settled into...
5. Stability (1954-57)
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With the NBA down to eight teams, owners still faced inadequate revenues. They continued to grapple with the unattractive aspect of the league’s end games, where fouling and rough play were still the tactics of choice. How to reduce the primitive aspects of the game remained a difficult problem, but it was one with an elegant...
6. Moving to Major League Status (1957-62)
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Although some of the eight franchises were still struggling to earn sufficient revenues, the NBA’s stability and the success of its twenty-foursecond shot clock encouraged NBA owners. Some began considering relocating their teams to larger cities. Their improved product on the court and growing prosperity spurred...
Conclusion: The NBA Becomes "Major League"
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Why did the NBA survive and eventually prosper? A series of events and decisions helped improve the league’s prospects. Ned Irish’s high hopes aside, the BAA/NBA’s early history was written in red ink. The attrition of teams during the league’s first decade buttressed the owners’ claims of losses, and the demand for pro...
Appendix A: Estimating Factors Affecting Net Gate Receipts
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Appendix B: Tables
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About the Author, Production Notes, Back Cover
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Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2012