The rise of the National Basketball Association /

Today's National Basketball Association commands millions of spectators worldwide, and its many franchises are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But the league wasn't always so successful or glamorous: in the 1940s and 1950s, the NBA and its predecessor, the Basketball Association of...

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Main Author: Surdam, David G.
Format: Book
Published:Urbana : University of Illinois Press, c2012.
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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

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