Before the 1966-67 season began, the 17-year old NBA was just a 9-team league that was reluctant to add a 10th (Chicago Bulls). The 1965-66 version of the NBA had certainly had the legends (Russell, Chamberlain, West, Robertson, Baylor, and Thurmond) but 6 of those 9 franchises were clustered in the northeast. The stars were many, but the teams were few and the NBA didn’t have parity - the Boston Celtics saw to that, winners of 8 straight championships by 1966 and 2 more by the end of the decade.
What follows? Changes! A new ball, signing underclassmen, continued expansion and merger, and teams other than the Celtics began taking the top spot. Despite an influx of new stars (Jabber, Maravich, Gervin, Bird, and Magic Johnson) the league didn’t become front-page news until the 1980s - new commissioner, media contracts, and a 1984 draft that included Michael Jordan, European stars, Dream Team and two huge stars who never played college ball (initials: LJ and KB). What you will get…
- Year-end Standings include teams with best/worst home and road records.
- League news: rule changes, trends, trades, suspensions, and significant games
- Stat leaders: Top Scoring, Rebounding, Assists, Blocks, 3-point percentage, and FT percentage
- Year End Awards include new Hall of Fame inductees and First Team Offense and Defense
- NBA Finals outcome
[History of the NBA 1949-1966 is free on Journal Notes menu]