Review by Choice Review
Taking a chronological approach, Surdam (economics, Univ. of Northern Iowa) provides a well-researched look at the early history, and slow growth, of the NBA. Throughout he focuses on owners and others whose decisions directly affected the progress of the league (e.g., in chapter 2, covering 1946-48, league president Maurice Podoloff, whose micromanaging nearly killed the league). Surdam touches on larger issues such as integration (chapter 3), but focuses less on the players than on the effects the slow integration had on team success. Don Barksdale became the first African American to lead an NBA team in scoring, and that was not until the 1952-53 season. After the merger of the NBL and the Basketball Association of America, team owners discovered that simply cutting weak teams would not guarantee prosperity, and they undertook spending more on promotion. Popular players like George Mikan and Bob Cousy could draw the crowds needed to sustain teams. The league worked hard to stabilize, and share costs for, such things as travel and accommodations while using the schedule to maintain a competitive balance. This is for those interested in basketball's structural side, decision making, and economics. Surdam includes extensive notes, a brief bibliography, and appendixes devoted to economic factors and indicators. Summing Up: Recommended. Undergraduates, faculty. L. A. Heaphy Kent State University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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