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The NBA began life as the Basketball Association of America in 1946 and played under that monkier for 3 years before, in 1949, merging with the National Basketball League and changing names to the NBA. The BAA started out with 11 teams in 1946 but lost four of them before the start of the next season. Despite the loss of four teams the BAA was having a lot of success against its rival the NBL and was able to entice four of the NBL's premire franchises to join the BAA in 1948.

When the two leagues merged in 1949 it brought the total number of teams to 17 but the new league would quickly start losing teams. After just six years the number of teams had dropped to just 8. Financial troubles plagued the league from the start and this was especially true for the NBL teams that joined during the merger due to them being in smaller markets. The owner of the Fort Wayne Pistons, a former NBL team, named Frank Zollner was key in keeping the NBA financially afloat during this time.

The NBA continued with 8 teams from 1955 until 1961 when the Chicago Packers joined the league. The Packers, now the Washington Wizards, are not considered to be the first expansion team, that distriction goes to the Chicago Bulls because the Bulls, who joined in 1966, had an actual expansion draft. From 1966 until 2004 the league seen an expansion boom with a total of 21 teams joining the league.


The NBA has always been a league that was dominated by what some historians have called "teams of the era". The early decades of the NBA were dominated the Minneapolis Lakers and their star George Mikan. From 1948 until 1954 the Lakers won 5 NBA championships. From 1957 until 1969 the Boston Celtics won 11 championships in 13 seasons and the 1980s was dominated by the Lakers and Celtics who combined to win 8 of the 10 titles during that decade. The 1990s saw the rise of Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls; who would capture 6 titles during the decade. The 2000s saw the Lakers again being domiante winning 5 titles during the decade. Only the 1970s and 2010s did not see a franchise win at least 4 NBA titles, though the Golden State Warriors got close by winning 3 titles in the 2010s.

In the 1960s as the NBA was going through a growth spurt by adding new teams, a rival spring up to challenge it in the ABA. The ABA would last from 1967 until 1976 when it merged with the NBA.

The 1980s saw the league and the game of basketball grow termendously and a lot of that had to do with the rivalry of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. The two have become the defination of what a rivalry is supposed to be and their teams would dominate the decade. Because of this rivalry a lot of interest grew in the America about the NBA and the first major TV deals started to be signed as well as another wave of expansion.

The 1990s saw the age of Jordan. No person in team sports has had such an impact that extended out side of the game. Jordan became the NBA and perhaps even bigger than the league. Had it not been for a two year retirement Jordan may have won many more NBA titles.

The post Jordan NBA seen an increase in international players joining the NBA. The 2000s were truely an international league as players from every corner of the globe started joining the NBA and many of them, such as Dirk Nowitzki, started to find success in the league.

The past decade was split, first by parity with 5 teams winning titles in six seasons, but than seen the rise of one of the most dominate teams ever in the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors would make five consecutive NBA finals and win 3 titles during that span.

National Basketball League
NBA Hoops Online has one of the most extensive collections of National Basketball League information on the web. The NBL was a precursor to the NBA, in 1949 it merged with the Basketball Association of American (BAA) to form the NBA. The NBA, however, does not consider this history to be part of its own, instead taking the history of the BAA, which has caused much of the NBL's history to be lost. Luckily we have pieced a lot of it back together.

National Basketball League history page

Military Veterans who have played in the NBA

The United States Military has been a big piece of American history and American lore. Before every basketball game fans stand an honor America and the men and women who have served with the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. The song immortalizes the defense of Fort McHenry from the war of 1812. The Veterans Administration (VA) estimates that 22 million Americans have served in the military. Countless famous Americans have served in the armed forces and that includes several NBA players.

During the early days of one of the NBA's precursors, the NBL, it was not uncommon for a player to leave the league to join the military. The military offered better pay and better accommodations than the league did.

World War II was nearly the end of the NBL as the majority of players left to serve. The lack of players caused the first racial integration in any major sport in American history

Complete Article

The NBA's 6 Overtime Game

Sometimes a game can seem like it never ends. The last two minutes of a game can take thirty minutes in real life minutes, but the game usually ends in regulation and occasionally goes into overtime. But on January 6, 1951 it seemed like a game between the Indianapolis Olympians and Rochester Royals would never end.

On May 5, 2019 the Portland Trailblazers outlasted the Denver Nuggets 140-137 in four overtime, but that game would pail in comparison to the January 6th game. On that cold night in Rochester the Olympians beat the Royals 75-73, in SIX OVERTIMES!

The six overtime periods is still a record for the NBA. The game broke the record set a year earlier when the Syracuse Nationals outlasted the Anderson Packers in five overtimes. The NBA was still in its infancy at the time

Complete Article
"Bad News" Marvin Barnes

Fans today think that the problem of players getting into trouble is a modern issue and that players of the past were more gentlemanly. Most players of yesteryear and today are actually pretty nice guys, even the ones who get into trouble. Very few players have been truly terrible human beings, they just end up with problems and are unable to cope with them in a socially acceptable way so they end up acting out, or they get addicted to drugs.

One such player who had their career cut short by acting out and drugs was Marvin Barnes. Barnes is one of the saddest yet most interesting stories in NBA history, yet it is one with a glimmer of hope. Barnes had the nickname “Bad News Marvin” because of his off the court issues.

Some of Barnes stories are something you would expect Charlie Sheen's character from his show Two and a Half Men to do. Barnes partied with hookers, had loaded guns in his locker and did cocaine at half-time. Yet he may have been one of the most talented players of his era but he never realized his potential due to the drug use.

Complete Article
The Long Weird History of the NBA Draft

Every June fans line up waiting to see who their favorite NBA team will select in the draft. In today's NBA it is a pretty straight forward process. Each team normally has 1 pick in the first round, and 1 pick in the second round based on their record and maybe a little luck in the draft lottery. But in the long history of the NBA draft things have not always been that simple. Before the league started to curtail the draft in 1988 the rounds could go on and on indefinitely if they wanted them too. For example the 1960 draft had 21 rounds and the 1984 draft seen 228 players drafted.

The process for the draft became cumbersome and the majority of the players selected after round three never played in the NBA. Several of the early drafts did not keep accurate records so its unknown which players went where in the draft, each team is just listed as having selected players listed in an alphabetical record. Basketball betting tips for the experts suggest that most of these players never even knew where they were drafted and the majority of them did not care as they planned to focus on other endeavors rather than the NBA.

Than there was the territorial picks. For a time in the NBA a team was allowed to forfeit their first round pick to select a local product that the league thought would help boost attendance to the games. While it was true that these picks did help boost attendance and fan interest, it was several taken advantage of as several really good teams got better by using giving up their late first round pick to get a superstar. There was a total of 23 territorial picks made in NBA history between 1949 and 1965 and 13 of them are in the hall-of-fame and two others were all-stars. Teams had a better chance of landing a hall-of-fame player than they did a bust at nearly 2-1 odds.

Complete Article
What was the worst draft class in NBA history?

Fans of NBA basketball debate endlessly about what was the greatest draft class in NBA history: was it the vaunted 1984 draft that produced the likes of Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley and John Stockton; was it the 1996 draft class that produced Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson and Steve Nash; or was it the 2003 draft class the produced Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Carmelo Anthony? But one thing NBA fans often over look is, what is the worst draft class in NBA history?

Right off the top of most NBA fans heads will be the much maligned class of 1986. The 86 class was fraught with absolute franchise changing bombs that would derail some of the greatest franchises in NBA history for decades. Of the top 10 picks in the draft only two, Chuck Persons and Ron Harper, would play more than 10 seasons in the NBA and two of the top 5 picks would play less than 2 seasons in the NBA.

The biggest tragedy of the 1986 draft class was that of number two overall pick Len Bias. The Maryland forward never played a minute of NBA basketball. Bias died of a cocaine overdose just days after being drafted by the Boston Celtics. His death lent a huge shadow over the entire class.

Complete Article
Minnesota Madness

The NBA in the 1980s and 1990s is often seen as an era of financial stability and expansion. The league saw money come in at a previously unprecedented rate, most of it coming for the new found television revenue. The NBA added 11 new teams from 1976 until 1996. The league also found three superstars to hang its image on in Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan.

But there was an underbelly to this glorious side as well. In the same time span that saw the NBA add 11 new teams, four teams relocated and three others attempted to relocate.

One of the most interesting cases involved the Minnesota Timberwolves who were awarded by the NBA to the city of Minneapolis in 1989. The Wolves were one of four NBA teams that entered the league between 1988 and 1989, and the second NBA team to play in the Twin-Cities.

Complete Article

Leo Ferris: The man who saved the NBA

The early days of basketball often seen slow fan-unfriendly low scoring matches that often left spectators bored. Games often only got into the 40s and many of the best players averaged less than 15 points a game. Many early basketball games looked more like a glorified version of the childrens game of keep-away than an action packed professional sport. This style of play culminated in a game between Minneapolis and Fort Wayne, where the Pistons of Fort Wayne held the ball most of the second half nursing a 1 point lead over the Lakers. The Pistons would win 19-18 in the lowest scoring game in NBA history. Prior to that the fewest points ever score 33 points, just 4 fewer than both teams scored, and that game was one the opening night of the NBA, or BAA as it was called back then.

This place pace bored fans, many of whom where promised an action packed fun experience and attendance and interest in the new league had begun to dip. The NBA needed a solution and needed it fast. The solution was an ingenious one and one that would revolutionize the game as we know it. A simple clock, with just 24 seconds on it would forever change the game.

The clock was the brain child of Syracuse Nationals general manager Leo Ferris, a man that the NBA has long forgotten in one of the biggest travesties in the games history. Ferris, is as important to the early days of the NBA as anyone and one could argue that without Ferris there would be no NBA today; and there definitely would be no Atlanta Hawks, or Philadelphia 76ers. The NBA would look much different today without Ferris's input all those years ago.

Complete Article

History of point shaving in basketball

Point shaving is arguably the biggest cardinal sin in the basketball world. While there has been several cases of it involving college basketball, the NBA has had relatively few incidents of point shaving, that is not to say that the scandals have not affected the NBA, quite the contrary. Of the four major leagues in the US the NBA has been the most ardent opponent of betting on games, especially during its early years. The league has soften its stance in later years, but is still waging a fight against the state of New Jersey over online betting.

Point shaving is when a bookie or better convinces a player or official to help a favored team not make the spread. For example, if a team is favored to win by 10 points, the player or players involved make sure that the team wins by fewer than 10 points. This is accomplished by intentionally missing shots, committing turnovers or fouls, or in the case of a corrupt official making bad calls.

Basketball is an extremely easy sport to manipulate because of the tempo of the game and the affect just one player can have on the game. The NCAA is much more susceptible to point shaving than the NBA because of the NCAA's strict emphasis on amateurism. NCAA players do not make any money and are often struggling college students, while the NBA players are making millions of dollars. It is much easier for a bookie to convince a poor college student to miss a few shots for a few hundred dollars than it is to convince a millionaire NBA player to do the same thing.

Complete Article

Connie Hawkins fight against the NBA

On October sixth, the NBA lost one of the great pioneers in league history. Connie Hawkins was a four time NBA all-star and former ABA MVP, who's legal battle with the ABA and NBA helped change the landscape of professional basketball.

Few athletes in American history have ever been as victimized by the system as Hawkins was. In 1961, while Hawkins was a freshman at Iowa and ineligible to play on the Hawkeyes varsity team due to NCAA regulations at the time, a humongous college betting scandal erupted and Hawkins was kicked out of school.

The scandal involved 22 different schools and 37 players, but Hawkins was not implicated. The scandal mostly focused on players associated with Jack Molinas, who had escaped the CCNY betting scandal a decade and a half earlier. Hawkins, growing up in New York City, knew many of the players involved and had borrowed $2,000 for school expenses from Jack Molinas, but Hawkins brother had paid Molinas back before the scandal erupted.

Complete Article
History of the Westward Expansion of Basketball

Basketball's early roots on the east coast are well document, from that cold December day in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891 when the game first formed to the present, we know the stories, the players and the histories. What is less known is how the game developed out west. While at the time of basketball's founding the east was pretty much an established mega-industrial center catering to the worlds needs. The west, it was still wild and untamed.

When James Naismith invented basketball in 1891 the United States states had just 44 states and Wyoming and Idaho had just joined the Union. Three states that would join the union after the founding of basketball, Utah, Oklahoma and Arizona, now contain NBA teams. The battle of Wounded Knee, the last great battle between the United States Army and the Native American's had happened just shy of a year before the game of basketball was invented. And the infamous gun fight at the OK Corral had happened just a decade before. In fact, the early days of basketball are closer in time to the French Revolution than they are to today.

It is easy to see why basketball's roots began in the east and why it has stuck and become such an integral part of the urban landscape. The east had the infrastructure and had young men with free time to play the game and form leagues. In contrast, the west lacked the roads, rails, and metropolitan areas to give rise to the infrastructure that is required to play basketball.

Complete Article

Forrest "Phog" Allen: The Father of Basketball coaching

Most people know the origins of basketball; how in the winter of 1891 James Naismith invented the game to keep students active in the winter. But what most people do not know is how coaching the game of basketball got started. In the early days of basketball most teams did not have a coach as there was very little strategy to the game - most players relied on their athletic prowess rather than their brains to score. Even the games inventor, James Naismith, did not believe that basketball needed coaching. In his word you "Just play the game". But as the game got more popular players started figuring out how to manipulate the outcome of the game by doing things to prevent the other team from scoring; such as zone defenses.

There were many early attempts at coaching in basketball, even the games inventor was coaching, but the most impactful early coaching advocate was Forrest "Phog" Allen. Allen was a multi-sport star athlete - who was mentored by Naismith at the University of Kansas. After graduating from Kansas, Allen took a few years off of basketball to become a doctor

Complete Article

The Very First Basketball Game in 1891

Surprisingly, unlike most sports whose origins are somewhat obscure, often being the combination of other sports and developed gradually through time, basketball has a very precise and fully known origin. Even the date of the very first game is known, December 21, 1891.

It was all started by Dr. James Naismith, the son of two Scottish immigrants to Canada. By 1891, Dr. Naismith was teaching physical education in Springfield, MA at the YMCA International Training School; which today is Springfield College. While there, he was asked by the director of physical education, Dr. Luther Gulick, to come up with a new game students could play indoors during the winter that would help keep track and field runners in shape and would be relatively safe to play - particularly that it would have a small amount of physical contact so that the players wouldn�t get injured in this game.

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The First Basketball: The Mesoamerican ballgame

Well before James Naismith invented the game of basketball in 1891, the peoples of Mesoamerica had a very similar game where the point was to get a ball though a hoop. The games origins date back as far as one-thousand years before the common era. The game has gotten many names over the years such as; juego de pelota in Spanish; pitz in classical Mayan; and ullamaliztli in Nahuatl. Each area had a variation of the game with different rules and customs but generally the game was the same. The game, which combined aspects of modern basketball, soccer and modern American football, was popular in both secular and religious life before the Spanish invasion of the area starting in 1520.

The game is played with a rubber ball called an ulama and depending on the region can either be played like soccer were a ball must go into a ground goal or like basketball were the ball must go through a stone �hoop� mounted above the playing court. Like the game itself, the courts vary in size and structure as well; from the very small courts found through-out small Mexican villages to the huge courts found at places such as Chichen-Itza. The size and scale of the game and court had an impact on exactly what type of game was going to be played. Much like in modern sports in areas were equipment is rare, the players had to make do with any substitutes they could find. This appears to be exactly the case with the Mesoamerican ballgame, and is a likely reason as to the variations of the game. In the more rural areas the game is played much lower to the ground and the ball is kicked or struck with the lower body more. In the more urban areas where materials and equipment is readily available the game is played higher up on the body, and decorative protective masks are sometimes worn.

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JFK, LBJ, Watergate and the NBA Commish.

There are many strange connections in history and politics, but maybe none as strange as how an eventual NBA commissioner would play a role in bringing down a president. Before David Stern�s monarchial grasp on the office there was Larry O�Brien. A Massachusetts native of Irish decent born in the birthplace of basketball, Springfield, Massachusetts.

Before he became the commissioner of the NBA, O�Brien had been one of the most successful political strategist in American politics. He had a natural talent for politics and got his very first campaigning job when he was 11 years old in 1928. O�Brien slowly moved through the ranks of the Democratic party until in 1952 a young Massachusetts war hero approached him about leading his campaign for Senator; that young mans name was John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

O�Brien did such a successful job on Kennedy�s election campaign that in 1959, when the Senator was running for president, he asked O�Brien to be in charge of his election campaign. After Kennedy won the 1960 presidential election O�Brien became a special assistant to the president.

Complete Article

  • Top 10 PFs of the 1990s
  • Team Name History
  • The NBA and Watergate
  • Early Stars of Basketball
  • History of the Slam Dunk
  • Jazz Draft First Female Player
  • Mesoamerican Basketball
  • Most Improtant Rule Changes
  • George Mikan
  • Bucks Championship
  • History of Basketball IV
  • History of basketball: Part IX
  • History of the Basketball: Part II
  • History of Basketball: Part I
  • More NHO Articles


    
    NBA Commissioners and Presidents
    Maurice Podoloff......... 1946-63 President 
    Walter Kennedy........... 1963-67 President 
    Walter Kennedy........... 1967-75 Commissioner 
    Larry O'Brien............ 1975-84 Commissioner 
    David Stern.............. 1984-14 Commissioner
    Adam Silver.............. 2014-   Commissioner
    

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