After the sound victory of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks over the Phoenix Suns, the league made a few interesting moves going into next season. While the playoffs this year were plagued with injuries from Anthony Davis, LeBron James, and Kyrie Irving, the Finals still proved to be a gruelling matchup between the finalists.
This offseason wasn’t particularly interesting after big names in free agency chose to extend their contracts for their respective and existing teams. Still, a blockbuster trade and a few great moves from organizations you wouldn’t think would make such decisions to lift their franchises transpired.
Nevertheless, this upcoming N.B.A. season is nothing short of exciting, with a few marquee matchups in the regular season. Of course, the golden boy still belongs to the postseason, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves too much. After all, there are still things to look out for after some moves were made to boost some teams’ chances of vying for the Larry O’Brien Trophy this season.
History of the Competition
In the early 40s, there were several different sports media being consumed by US fans. While baseball was kicking it out of the park with its riveting sales and broad fan base, basketball was still in its infancy learning how to compete on the big stage. What made matters worse for basketball was that the sport was divided into two different competitions, polarising its growth potential and delaying its popularity.
Eventually, both competitors, the Association of America and the National Basketball League, formed marriage and became the National Basketball Association, more famously known as the N.B.A. This merger got them moving forward in the right direction after re-incorporating stars like Julius Erving of the Philadelphia 76ers and drafting the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson.
In the late 70s and early 80s, teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics faced against each other in the league’s Finals so many times that they gained traction among sports fans to gravitate towards the game.
The real pivot into mainstream media happened when the Chicago Bulls drafted a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1984. An instant superstar was born. Michael Jordan won six championships in his professional basketball career and is known worldwide as “The Greatest Player of All Time”.
Sporting the number 23, he made the league a commercial success on his own by signing multibillion-dollar Nike shoe deals and partnering with Gatorade. Thus, he became an international marketing icon on top of his Basketball acumen and resume. Michael Jordan placed the N.B.A. on the media map.
The late 90s was notoriously known to be a slow defensive league. This meant that action took a back seat as coaches focused on securing their defence. Kobe Bryant thrived with his amazing footwork and shot-making skills that elevated the league to new heights. Of course, it didn’t hurt when his partner in crime, Shaquille O’Neal, helped him by claiming a few trophies for the Los Angeles Lakers, giving the team the crown for having the most championship banners in N.B.A. history next to the Boston Celtics.
The N.B.A. is currently the second-highest revenue-generating sports league in North America, only inching below the N.F.L. (National Football League). The game now is dominated by the three-point shot due to the likes of Stephen Curry, whose basketball story has yet to unfold. The sport and its beauty reside in its players, and this upcoming season is a huge telling of that.
October 19th, 2021- Start of Regular Season
The KIA NBA Tip-off (a.k.a. opening day) schedule is something to come home to. Firstly, we enjoy an Eastern Conference Semi-finals rematch between the defending champions, the Milwaukee Bucks, against the Brooklyn Nets.
After that matchup, we’re getting the Los Angeles Lakers’ newly acquired point guard, Russell Westbrook joining forces with LeBron James and A.D. playing against returning Klay Thompson’s and Steph Curry’s Golden State Warriors. After last year’s play-in tourney, these two teams have many questions in many fans’ minds: Will Westbrook be a good fit with the Lakers? Is Thompson going to be healthy, and is he declining from injury? Only time can truly tell as the season unfolds.
April 16, 2022- Start of the Postseason
It should be exciting to determine which teams will finish the season in the top eight of their respective conferences. We may never know which of them is going to play for the trophy, but one thing we all know: It’s going to be a heck of a fight to get it.
June 2, 2022- N.B.A. Finals
While it is impossible to tell which teams will make the Finals, we are sure that it will be another spectacle to behold. As more talent floods into the league every year, the competitiveness of teams continues to grow and provide a captivated audience with one of the greatest sports shows of all time.
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*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing.