The NBA is the most popular professional sports league in the United States and also a major international draw. The combination of top talent and thrilling gameplay has made it a staple of the American culture. However, the league was not always so successful and at one point was a mere footnote to the NHL, NFL, and MLB.
The NBA began in 1946 as the BAA and was originally composed of teams from cities with NHL franchises. Over time the league grew and added teams until it reached 30 total teams throughout the country with one team in Canada. The NBA was able to grow into such a large and popular league because it offered something that the other leagues could not; big cities and consistent action.
With this in mind, the NBA has continued to change and adapt to keep up with the times. In 1954 the league adapted a 24-second shot clock to speed up the game and encourage shooting. This was just the beginning of many innovations that have helped to make the NBA what it is today.
Since the seventies and eighties, the NBA has also changed significantly in how it views its players. Star players now can choose where they want to play once their rookie contracts are up, and the media has matured from the snarky tabloids that hounded the players in the past to the more thoughtful analysis and discussion shows that we see today. From the analytics-driven podcasts like Nate Duncan’s “Dunc’d On” to the interviews with former stars on the sports-network yelling shows to hundreds of YouTube and TikTok channels dedicated to nba highlight reels, there is now ample opportunity for fans to discuss the game.
The nba has also adopted new rules to prevent superstars from resting during the regular season and making the playoffs seem disconnected from the season as a whole. The new NBA In-Season Tournament starts in November and will feature all 30 teams playing six games apiece in groups that determine how they advance to the knockout phase. Each team will have two group-stage games at home and one on the road. The top four teams will then play in the semifinals on Dec. 4 and 5 in their home arenas before the championship game on Dec. 9.
In addition, the NBA will now allow teams to request a player to miss back-to-back games, and those requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on factors such as the player’s injury history and end-of-season flexibility.
The NBA has also enacted a new rule that will penalize flopping and other acts of “hyper-athleticism” during games. According to the NBA’s senior vice president of referee development and training, Monty McCutchen, flops are secondary, theatrical, exaggerated movements that are performed with an excessive degree of emotion or effort. If a flop is missed in the course of a game, but discovered afterward, the offending player will be fined $2,000. The resulting non-unsportsmanlike technical foul does not count towards a player’s possible ejection from the game.