How The NBA Became What It Is Today: The History of Basketball

Written by TrevStone

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The NBA is one of the most popular sports leagues in the world. Basketball has continued to grow in popularity, in part due to the success of the NBA and its players. As a result, basketball has become a mainstream sport with many opportunities for spectators and participants. This has led to an increase in youth participation with programs like AAU and high school teams, as well as various adult leagues and pickup games. The popularity of basketball will only continue to grow as more people get introduced to this exciting sport. With that being said, how did we get here? There are many factors that have influenced how the NBA functions today. This article will examine how the game of basketball became what it is today by exploring its history beginning in the late 1800s up until today. And if you want to know more about the most popular games read

Early Days

Basketball’s roots date back to 1891 when Dr. James Naismith created a game that would be played indoors during the winter. With a soccer ball, two peach baskets, and a lack of rules, this game was designed to keep young men active and fit during the winter months. Basketball became an official sport in 1906, and the first college basketball game was played in 1916. The first professional basketball game occurred in the 1920s. Although basketball was played at the collegiate, recreational, and professional levels, the game was very different from how it is played today. The main differences between the early days of basketball and today’s version of the sport are the rules, the court dimensions, and the style of play. The rules were much different than what we know today. The baskets were worth five points, and the first team to score 100 points won the game. This led to extremely high-scoring games with frenetic play. The court dimensions were also different. The original court was much smaller than today’s standard court, and the goal and foul lines were significantly closer to the end lines. The style of play was also different, with a slower pace and a focus on team play.

The Birth of the NBA

The Basketball Association of America was formed in the 1940s. At the time, the league featured nine teams, each of which played in a different city (Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington, Detroit, Cleveland, and Chicago). The BAA was a rival to the National Basketball League (NBL), and the leagues formed an agreement in which they would merge after five years. The BAA was renamed the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1949, and the league continued to grow with 12 teams in 1950. The NBA continued to expand over the next few decades, adding more teams and growing the sport of basketball. The NBA has continued to grow in popularity, revenue, and worldwide interest. This popularity is due in large part to the league’s successful marketing campaigns, which have featured the “NBA” brand and logo since 1977. The NBA’s marketing efforts helped the league become what it is today.

The Influence of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird

In the 1980s, the NBA was at the height of its popularity. The league was filled with exciting and talented players like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. The two players even played against each other in what has been called the “greatest basketball game ever played.” With this hype and popularity surrounding the league and its players, the NBA’s popularity continued to increase. This period in the NBA’s history is often referred to as “the golden age of basketball.” The NBA’s popularity continued to grow, especially after the league signed a contract for worldwide broadcast with the company ESPN. This contract allowed for games to be aired throughout the United States and parts of Asia. The success of the NBA and its players continued to grow over the next few decades.

The Rise of Michael Jordan

The NBA was continuing to grow, but the league hit a new level of popularity after the emergence of Michael Jordan. The popularity of basketball reached new heights during Jordan’s reign as one of the best basketball players of all time. The NBA’s popularity continued to rise with the introduction of minor league teams and basketball leagues (such as the American Basketball Association (ABA)). The ABA merged with the NBA in 1976. This allowed for more teams to enter the league and more people to play basketball. This continued popularity led to the NBA’s first international game, which was played in Paris, France, in 1987. The game was attended by 62,000 fans, and the NBA continued to grow in popularity overseas.

The Growth of Basketball Overseas

The growth of basketball overseas continued, especially after the NBA began broadcasting games overseas. This allowed for more people to watch basketball and led to more young people playing and participating in basketball. The NBA continued to grow in popularity and revenue, as well as worldwide interest. Franchises were being created not only in the United States, but also in other countries such as Japan, France, and Australia. The NBA has continued to grow in popularity, even in the face of major sporting events like the Olympics. The league’s popularity has continued to grow over the last few decades and shows no sign of slowing down.


The history of basketball shows how this popular sport has grown and evolved over time. The early days of basketball featured a simpler game with different rules, court dimensions, and a different style of play. The basketball game has continued to grow as more people have become interested in and played the sport. The popularity of basketball has continued to grow, especially with the emergence of Michael Jordan. The NBA has continued to grow in popularity, and the league has continued to expand to other countries. The NBA has become a billion-dollar industry thanks to its successful marketing campaigns, global appeal, and the popularity of its players. Basketball has become a mainstream sport that continues to grow in popularity and worldwide interest.

About the author


Trevor 'TrevStone' Uren founded Pro Sports Extra in 2011 at the age of 13. He's hosted a podcast since 14 years old and continues to grow each month! He's currently 24 years old and has interviewed hundreds of professional athletes, business owners, and others who are shining online! Uren has built Pro Sports Extra to over 5M monthly visitors.