Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 53

National Basketball Association (NBA) - Teams, Regular season, Important people, Rules named after a player, Awards

league world players gained

A professional sports league that gained worldwide acclaim for managing its players and marketing their skills. Founded just after World War 2, the league grew slowly during the 1950s and became more popular during the 1960s, when the Boston Celtics dominated the other teams. The 1970s was a period of slower expansion. Then in 1980 Larry Bird and Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson started a decade where the league gained international acceptance. Player salaries skyrocketed and television exposure became pervasive. The emergence of Michael Jordan in the mid-1980s brought the league's greatest superstar to national consciousness. Participation in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games made the NBA the world-class standard for basketball. An owner-inspired lockout in 1998 left a residue of bitterness with fans and players, but the NBA continued to be a major sports and marketing phenomenon into the 21st-c.

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