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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 lose 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 16 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 seasons. 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, as of today, did not see a franchise win at least 4 NBA titles.

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 perhaps 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 8 maybe 10 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.

Now half way through the 2010s there are a lot of possibilites as to what direction the NBA could go. How big of a legacy will Lebron James have? What new locations will the NBA be in during the next 5 years? and what new legands have yet to set foot on an NBA court? Only time will tell.

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

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.

Complete Article

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.

Complete Article

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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