Throughout the 1920s, there were numerous teams. Hundreds of men’s professional basketball teams existed in towns and cities around the United States, with little professional organization. Teams competed in armories and smoky dance halls, and players jumped from team to team. Leagues were formed and disbanded. On their national tours, barnstorming teams like the Original Celtics and two all-African American groups, the New York Renaissance Five (“Rens”) and the (still existing) Harlem Globetrotters, played up to 200 games per year.
It was established in 1946 that the Basketball Association of America (BAA) was created. On November 1, 1946, the Toronto Huskies and the New York Knickerbockers played their debut game in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The BAA and the NBA merged (NBL) three seasons later, in 1949, to establish the National Basketball Association (NBA). Basketball had become a significant college sport by the 1950s, allowing for a surge in professional basketball popularity. In Springfield, Massachusetts, where the first game was played, a basketball hall of fame was established in 1959. Its rosters feature outstanding players, coaches, officials, and others who have made significant contributions to the game’s evolution. People in the basketball hall of fame have completed numerous goals during their careers. The American Basketball Association, which debuted in 1967 and briefly threatened the NBA’s dominance until merging with the NBA in 1976, posed a danger to the NBA’s power. In terms of popularity, wages, quality, and level of competitiveness, the NBA is the best professional basketball league in the world today.
The NBA has produced several notable players, including George Mikan, the first dominating “big man,” Boston Celtics ball-handling wizard Bob Cousy, and defensive genius Bill Russell; charismatic center Wilt Chamberlain, who began his career with the Harlem Globetrotters; all-around stars Oscar Robertson and Jerry West; more recent big men Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Karl.
The NBA established the National Basketball Development League in 2001. (later known as the NBA D-League and then the NBA G League after a branding deal with Gatorade). The G League currently includes 27 clubs for the 2018–19 season.
Basketball on a global scale
Argentina, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, and Switzerland founded the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) in 1932. The organization was only in charge of amateur players at the time. The acronym “FIBA” was taken from the French Fédération Internationale de Basket-ball Amateur. Although a demonstration competition was organized in 1904, men’s basketball was first included in the Berlin 1936 Summer Olympics. In the inaugural outdoor final, the United States defeated Canada. The United States has traditionally dominated this competition, winning all but three titles. The first of these occurred in a contentious final game against the Soviet Union in Munich in 1972. The game’s ending was replayed three times before the Soviet Union finally won. Argentina hosted the first FIBA World Championship for men in 1950, known as the FIBA Basketball World Cup. Chile hosted the first FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup three years later. Women’s basketball was added to the 1976 Montreal Olympics, with teams from the USSR, Brazil, and Australia facing off against the Americans.
In 1989, FIBA permitted professional NBA players to compete in the Olympics for the first time. Only European and South American teams were field professionals before the 1992 Summer Olympics. With the introduction of the first Dream Team, the United States maintained its dominance. The United States suffered its first Olympic loss while fielding professional players in the 2004 Athens Olympics, losing to Puerto Rico (19 points) and Lithuania in group games before being eliminated in the quarterfinals by Argentina. After defeating Lithuania for the bronze medal, it came third behind Argentina and Italy. Despite having no players from the 2008 team, the Redeem Team won gold at the 2008 Olympics, while the B-Team won gold at Turkey’s 2010 FIBA World Championship. The United States’ supremacy continued with gold medals at the 2012 Olympics, the 2014 FIBA World Cup, and the 2016 Olympic Games.