How does the NBA Relate to American Popular Culture? The American culture is very rich and diverse and has known various changes throughout the years. However, modernity brings new realities and introduces new elements in what constitutes popular culture. Nowadays American popular culture takes a new form closely related to technology, cable TV, marketing, fast food and other features…
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Besides, the numerous advantages the NBA offers explain why American people embrace the sport and recognize it as part of their popular culture. The National Basketball Association has been around since the 19th century and has undergone different transformations since its creation: “Dr. James A. Naismith invented the game of basketball in 1891” (Staffo). However, the leagues have met various hardships throughout the years since their implementation. The road was difficult and filled with various challenges as people learn their way through, improve and expand the leagues. This critic informs: “Until the recent surge in popularity of the NBA, professional basketball leagues had led tenuous existences. Professional basketball leagues began as early as 1898 only seven years after the invention of the game, but often professional barnstorming teams were more successful” (Nelson). This painful learning process leads to the successful industry we know today. Throughout these years, the organization has known different names, increased the number of teams and even changed the configuration of the leagues. Many of the names of the teams were different from what we know today, and of course some were more successful than others. This statement indicates: “The literature on the history of professional basketball is extremely sparse prior to the emergence of the NBA in 1950. What has been written acknowledges the superiority of the Celtics, but generally recycles the same stories regarding them” (Nelson). This lack of interest reflects the level of the organization during that time, which did not have much popularity. In addition, the differences between the old teams and the current ones are considerably remarkable in almost all aspects. They may even be confusing if we know that the current Celtics are in Boston while the old team was in New York. This significant detail may be hard to understand for those not aware of the NBA history. However, regardless of its location, the team seems to have always been successful. This assertion reveals: “Probably the most famous and, arguably, the most successful was the Original Celtics of New York, a team inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1959” (Nelson). Besides, professional basketball has not always been prominent; it was actually a game for the lower class, especially African Americans. These ethnic groups’ inability to afford college compels them to become professionals with the hope to earn money and improve their living conditions. According to this author: “College basketball was the game of the middle and upper classes, while professional basketball, only recently removed from the settlement houses of ethnic neighborhoods, was the game of the lower class and the "ethnic" middle class” (Nelson). This difference between college basketball and the NBA totally conflicts with what we know today because professional basketball has become more proficiently and successful. This recent success of the NBA comes with much popularity because many people embrace the sport and make it their own. This popularity explains why NBA has become part of American popular culture because numerous people buy expensive tickets to attend games or subscribe to cable TV to follow their favorite teams.
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