Image Courtesy of NBA

The game of basketball has already come a long way, with this season celebrating NBA’s 75th Anniversary. From east to west, and from north to south. The sport was invented by the great James Naismith back in 1891. Since then, a lot has changed to one of the most popular sports in the world.

There came a league that showcased the talents and hard work of players in America, and soon recognized other talents from outside the country – the NBA. This league was founded back on June 6, 1946. Now, it has been 75 years since the league started. A lot of great players, legends, Hall of Famers have passed by and have shared their gifts together on the hardcourt. Let’s take a look back in time and sift through the wonderful history of the NBA.

The NBA was founded in 1946, which came by the name “Basketball Association of America”.

Three years later, they merged with another league called the NBL (National Basketball League), and together they formed the league we know today, the NBA.

Since the ’50s, the league has been entertaining the American people. The first game ever played in this league was a game between the Toronto Huskies versus the New York Knicks.

Toronto Huskies vs New York Knicks (1946), Photo Courtesy of nba.com

Basketball wasn’t as popular back then, and the sport was just like a part-time job for people with day jobs. Popular sports back then were sports like Football, Baseball, and Hockey. It wasn’t until a group of talents came to the league and brought excitement to the game.

Before, basketball wasn’t even considered a sport.

It was just more of like a hobby for some. Then, the NBA expanded. Players before weren’t as talented and as skilled.

During the early ’60s, a new era of players emerged. The Boston Celtics created a whole new landscape for the NBA. Spearheaded by Bill Russel, the team was the most dominant in the league. Imagine a team winning 11 championships, now that is a dynasty!

Wilt and Russel, Photo courtesy of sportscasting.com

The league also found great talents in Jerry West, John Havlicek, Wilt Chamberlain, Pete Maravich, Elgin Baylor; just to name a few. The league has never been this good since it started. Overall, the NBA is showing the people a new great sport.

After a long time, people seemed to get bored of the game.

Even though new talents came into the league, they looked stagnant at times. The ’70s weren’t as forgiving as the ’60s. People thought that the league was already “dying”. Even though this was also a great era that featured Kareem, Dr.J, Bill Walton, Walt Frazier, Oscar Robertson, and more.

Kareem, Dr.J, and Big O, Photo Courtesy of fadeawayworld.net

Then, the ’80s came.

In a turn of events, the game was saved by two of the greatest players – Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. The two greats went at it every time they played together. They commanded the best rivalry in the league during that time. Also, this was the era when the great Michael Jordan was drafted, as well as some future superstars.

Bird and Magic, Photo Courtesy of sportsnet.ca

The NBA is now a worldwide sport, as it has already featured talents from all around the globe, especially from Europe.

People were dying to watch the Magic-Bird rivalry, Air Jordan and the Bulls, the Detroit Pistons Bad Boys, the Twin Towers of the Rockets, and many many more. The mass got interested once again in the sport.

Air Jordan, Photo Courtesy of dailyutahchronicle.com

Since then, the NBA has been a steadfast league. Producing the best of the best talents.

The NBA is growing and is even getting better. We’ve seen players who’ve changed the game – MJ, Kobe, Shaq, LeBron, Curry, just to name a few.

Greatness, Photo Courtesy of Jimmy Mitchell (twitter.com)

The game has come very far now, and it doesn’t seem to slow down even a bit. Take a look at the league’s 75 greatest players to play the game in its 75th Anniversary:

NBA’s 75 greatest, Photo Courtesy of nba.com
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