We are close, the celebratory 75th NBA season is ahead of us and there will certainly be plenty of excitement in the race for the championship. However, this blog will not deal with predictions as we will try to go through the rich history of the league. The emphasis is on the word try because it would be difficult to list all the great games and memorable moves so we will talk about the eras through which certain teams and players dominated. Before that, we’ll start with some “technical” data that is also relevant to the history of the league.

The whole story started in New York on June 6, 1946, with the founding of the Basketball Association of America (BAA) while the current NBA name was introduced on August 3, 1949, after a merger with the National Basketball League (NBL) and then 17 teams participated in the league. The first game was played by the Toronto Huskies against the New York Knicks on November 1, 1946, and the first basket was scored by Ossie Schectman for the New York team. The saying about how every beginning is difficult can definitely be applied here as well because the total number of teams decreased to only 8 by the ’54 / ’55 season due to a decline in fan interest. Then came the revolutionary idea of introducing a 24-second shot clock to make the game more attractive. Some more interesting facts from those early days are that in the ’47 / ’48 season, the first player who was not white played, and it was Wataru Misaki who was an American of Japanese descent. By 1968, the league had grown to 14 teams, and in 1976 there was another merger – with the American Basketball Association (ABA) and the NBA then had 22 teams, while the league was also wise to introduce the 3-point shot that was invented in the ABA. By 1989, there were already 27 teams, in ’95. two Canadian franchises were added, and the league is at 30 squads since 2004. As for the players, according to some estimates, there have been more than 4,500 in the league so far and the legendary Vince Carter has been a teammate or played against almost 40% of these players during his 22 seasons!

Now we can start with the eras and of course, the first real dynasty were the Lakers, who were still playing in Minneapolis at the time, and their superstar who took them to 5 championship titles – it was George Mikan, a player of Croatian descent.

After the Lakers, the time came for Bill Russell and Bob Cousy and their Celtics, who won 11 titles during 13 seasons (from ’57 to ’69)! This period was also marked by Wilt Chamberlain with his unreal records and two championships (’67 and ’72). The next superstars were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julius Erving, Rick Barry, Pete Maravich, while a huge growth in the league’s popularity began during the late ’70s. A major reason for that were fierce rivals Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, and then the Bad Boys from Detroit appeared and won two titles…

It was then time for him, his royal airness, Michael Jordan! His Bulls are according to many the best team ever especially during the historic ’95 / ’96 season. After winning 6 titles, younger players began their rise and the best among them were definitely Shaq and Kobe with the Lakers, but also Duncan with the Spurs. As we get closer to the present then it is clear that we need to highlight King James and Steph Curry who will also play important roles in this celebratory 75th NBA season. Of course, we must also point out other players, many of whom will surely find their place one day in the Hall of Fame, and they are: Durant, Harden, Leonard, Giannis, Kyrie, George, Lillard, Westbrook, Davis, Jokić, Embiid, while perhaps the greatest excitement will be brought by Luka, Ja, Trae, LaMelo …

One thing is for sure, a spectacular NBA season awaits us and we are looking forward to all the next jubilee seasons!