Hoop Lore

A History of the National Basketball Association


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About the Book

In an age where teenage hoop stars sign multimillion-dollar endorsement deals before their first professional tip-offs, it’s hard to imagine a time when basketball was among the least publicized of all professional sports. After the game’s creation in 1891, establishing a viable professional league was an intense struggle, requiring decades of hard work and dedication from players, owners, coaches and fans. While the game evolved from two-handed set shots, fruit baskets, short-shorts and tiny gyms to slam dunks, shoe endorsements, global popularity and massive urban arenas, the NBA established itself as one of the world’s dominant professional leagues.
This work, the first comprehensive history of the National Basketball Association, offers a detailed look at how and why the NBA was able to overcome the obstacles that had crushed its predecessors and competitors to become the most successfully marketed league in professional sports. Covered here are Naismith’s invention of the game; the rise and fall of the NBL, BAA, ABL and ABA; early teams like the Buffalo Germans and the Harlem Rens; basketball’s Olympic debut in 1936; the first professional superstars; dominant franchises; and the current state of the league. Appendices offer lists of early professional basketball leagues and commissioners of the NBA, NBL and ABA.

About the Author(s)

Connie Kirchberg is a freelance writer specializing in biographies and popular American culture. She lives in Fresno, California.

Bibliographic Details

Connie Kirchberg
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 347
Bibliographic Info: 33 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2673-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi
Foreword by Jim Barnett      1
Preface      3
Introduction      5

1. Peach Fuzz      7
2. Play Ball      13
3. To Pay or Not to Pay      21
4. Color Lines      31
5. Around the Bend      39
6. Double Trouble      47
7. One for the Money      59
8. Tick Tock      67
9. Dynasty by Committee      77
10. Starlight, Star Bright      86
11. Tremors      98
12. The Real Deal      109
13. Survival of the Fittest      122
14. A Matter of Style      132
15. Last Hurrah      143
16. A Fighting Chance      154
17. Saviors      162
18. Glory Days      171
19. The Greatest Show on Earth      181
20. The Good, the Bad, and the Global      192
21. Intermission      202
22. The Greatest Show on Earth, II      210
23. Promised Land      216
24. The Dark Age      226
25. Staying Alive      238
26. The Money Tree      247
27. The Air Apparents      258
28. The Young and the Restless      264
29. The Global Revolution      273
30. A New Foundation      281
31. Renovation      288

Appendix A: Early Professional Basketball Leagues      299
Appendix B: Professional Basketball Commissioners      300
Appendix C: Miscellaneous NBA Statistics and Awards      301
Appendix D: Miscellaneous ABA Statistics and Awards      306
Chapter Notes      309
Bibliography      321
Index      329

Book Reviews & Awards

“So many times in sports, and particularly in basketball, the glory days of a bygone era are overlooked or all-together forgotten, relegated to second-class citizenship behind the popularity and magnitude of today’s big-time professional leagues. Kirchberg’s Hoop Lore reverses this tendency, broadening the historical dialogue and tying the NBA to its illustrious past.”—Matt Zeysing, Historian, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.