NBA – The Inception
Basketball Association of America (BAA) came into fore in 1946. Previously, there were attempts at other basketball leagues such as the National Basketball League and the American Basketball League but it was BAA league that hosted the basketball tournament in major cities. BAA joined hands with National Basketball League on 3rd August 1949 which brought National Basketball Association into life. In 1950, NBA allowed the African American players to feature in the league for the first time. This is the time when “Sweetwater” Clifton joined the team New York Knicks, Chuck Cooper joined Boston Celtics, and Washington Capitols was joined by Nat and Earl Lloyd.
Starting with seventeen franchises, NBA condensed to eleven franchises and in the year 1953-54, the league faced all time low with merely eight franchises in it. The teams which featured in the league at that time (Celtics, Knickerbockers, Los Angeles Lakers, Hawks, Warriors, Pistons, Royals/Kings and Nationals/76ers) are members of the league till date.
NBA – Expansion of the League and the Surging Popularity
During 1950, the Minneapolis Lakers won five NBA Championships and hence became the NBA’s premiere dynasty. In 1957, Bill Russell came in Boston Celtics and in 1959, Wilt Chamberlain joined NBA with the Warriors. In 1960, Wilt Chamberlain created single game records by scoring 100 points. Bill Russell’s and Wilt Chamberlain soon became rivals in American team sports history. NBA league accredited with immense popularity.
The shift of the franchises further fostered the popularity of the league. The Minneapolis Lakers was shifted to Los Angeles and came to be known as Los Angeles Lakers, the Philadelphia Warriors franchisee was relocated to San Francisco and came to be known as San Francisco Warriors (now known as Golden State Warriors) and the Syracuse Nationals shifted to Philadelphia to become the 76ers.
In 1961, the Chicago Packers, now known as Washington Wizards joined NBA as the ninth team in 1961. Between the years 1966 to 1968, the NBA league saw the franchisees rise to fourteen from nine. The teams such as Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder (then Seattle SuperSonics), Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns and San Diego Rockets joined the league. Within a span of six years, the league further expanded as in 1974, the number of franchises became seventeen. Three new teams joined the league since 1968 and they were the Buffalo Braves (now known as now the Los Angeles Clippers), Portland Trail Blazers and Cleveland Cavaliers. The New Orleans Jazz joined in 1974 and the total number of franchises rose to eighteen.
Following a settlement in1976, the NBA saw inclusion of four ABA franchises to theist league and the number of franchises thus climbed to 22. The franchises who joined as a result of this settlement were Denver Nuggets, San Antonio Spurs, New York Nets (now New Jersey Nets) and Indiana Pacers. This was a different tide that surged the popularity of NBA to the very best. Some of the biggest names of the game such as Elvin Hayes, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Moses Malone, Pete Maravich, Rick Barry, Julius Erving, Dave Cowens were some of the eminent names.
In 1979, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird joined the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics and respectively. This period saw a rise of popularity for the game and the league, pan USA as well as throughout the world. Michael Jordan, one of the legends of the game, joined Chicago Bulls in 1984. The consequence was bewildering for the league as the support and the growing interest for the league escalated tremendously. Such popularity saw emergence of more city franchisees that held keen interest to participate in the league. In the year 1988 and 1989, four more franchisees joined in – Miami Heat, Charlotte Hornets (now the New Orleans Hornets), Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic. This brought the total number of teams to 27.
In 1995, NBA also moved to Canada and the Vancouver Grizzlies and the Toronto Raptors got an entry to the league. However, in 2001, the Vancouver Grizzlies transferred itself to Memphis, and hence Raptors is the team from Canada to feature in the NBA.
NBA – Team
The Boston Celtics have been the champions of 17 NBA Finals. The second most successful NBA franchise is the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers have won sixteen overall championships. Then there is Chicago Bulls who have bagged six championships and San Antonio Spurs have won four championships.
The NBA league organization has divided the thirty teams into two conferences – Eastern Conference and Western Conference. Each of the two conferences has three divisions. Eastern Conference has three divisions namely – Atlantic, Central and Southeast, whereas the Western Conference has Northwest, Pacific and Southwest division.
After Chicago Bulls broke out in 1998, the Western Conference has dominated the league. Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs have combined to win the title in nine out of thirteen years.
With the recent explosion of social media, the impact in the sports world has definitely been felt. NBA has not been any exception. The NBA Tweeter feeds from athletes have become common phenomenon, to interact with the fans who can easily stay updated with their favorite player’s activities.
Prominent players in the NBA players actively use Twitter to connect to their fans. Popular stars of the game such as Shaquille O’Neal, Charlie Villanueva, Kobe Bryant Twitter accounts have attracted huge followers. Twitter has evolved to become so popular that NBA is on the verge of setting guidelines on Twitter usage for players.
NBA Tweeter regulation is designed to limit the Twitter use during game time situations. The major idea behind this, as the league official asserts, is to restore a player’s focus solely on the game.
NBA Tweeter has its own set of advantages and demerits. While the fans get the inside scoops, the athletes themselves can also assess their fan following. However, a just policy will help both the athletes and the fans to tread in the rightmost path of professionalism and hero-worshiping.