The NBA that we know today looks quite a bit different from the way that it started. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and go back to the beginnings of the National Basketball Association and learn more about how the league became what it is today.
Beginning in 1946, the National Basketball League and the Basketball Association of America merged, forming the NBA. There were 16 teams in all, some from big cities and others from smaller markets.
A severe financial crunch led to eight teams dropping out of the league in the first six years. Even with expansion, some of those teams – such as the Chicago Packers, who became the Washington Wizards of today – wound up relocating.
Just like any other sport, there were dominant eras of the league. The Minneapolis Lakers, led by star George Mikan, were the kings of the early NBA. They won five titles from 1948 to 1956.
Then it was the Boston Celtics, winning 11 titles between 1957 and 1969. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers had a battle of dynasties, capturing eight of the titles between them in the 1980s.
The 1990s were dominated by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, winning six titles in the decade. The Lakers became the team of the 2000s, winning five titles in the decade.
Now, the league is in better shape than ever before. It is growing as a global game, with billions of dollars in revenue. Furthermore, the dynasty eras have continued, albeit in different forms.
The Golden State Warriors have recently won three titles in four years, but the real achievement is from a single player. Starting the 2011 NBA Finals, LeBron James would play in eight-consecutive NBA Finals.
Today, the game is driven by its star-power. With some of the most recognizable athletes on the planet, the NBA continues to grow the game’s popularity globally while fostering individual brand popularity among its star players.