Students react to the NBA’s 75th anniversary

The National Basketball Association officially celebrated its 75th anniversary and began the 2021-22 season on Tuesday, Oct. 19.

According to history.com, the NBA originally started out as the Basketball Association of America in 1946, but later merged with the already established National Basketball League to form the modern NBA fans know today.

Looking back at the organization’s history, Allegheny students responded to the festivities for the NBA’s 75th season and what it is like to be a fan of one of the longest organized sports in the United States. They also discussed the greatest generation and the greatest dynasties in the league’s history, the best and worst changes in basketball and what additions the NBA should incorporate by its 100th anniversary.

Tully Taylor, ’22, highlighted a couple of the celebrations occurring in the NBA this season.

“(The NBA) announced that there is a 75th anniversary team and they are going to do 25 (players) a day starting on (Oct. 19 to 21). That will be interesting to see. I also saw that they are changing the game ball (with the NBA 75 logo), which is different.”

Overall, Taylor feels honored that she is a fan of a league consisting of so much history during its first 75 years.

“Speaking of the (Cleveland Cavaliers), I got to see the Cavs play in four different playoffs and I got to see them win a championship,” Taylor said. ”That’s just crazy to be a part of that and to be able to have LeBron James on our team for that period of time, watching one of the all-time greats play out of 75 years.”

Due to the influx of basketball talent, Lamar Todd, ’21, believes that NBA fans are currently witnessing the greatest generation play today.

“If you ask anybody, they would probably say the 90s, but I would say the greatest generation is right now,” Todd said. “I feel like the game, talent wise, has always gotten better. People are getting better since time has gone on.”

If you ask anybody, they would probably say the 90s, but I would say the greatest generation is right now. I feel like the game, talent wise, has always gotten better. People are getting better as time has gone on.”

— Lamar Todd, Class of 2021

As for the greatest dynasty, Todd had a differing opinion, who all thought the 1990s Chicago Bulls with Michael Jordan were the greatest teams to play in history.

“My favorite dynasty is the Lakers; the Lakers with Shaq and Kobe,” Todd said.

As the players and teams have changed throughout the course of NBA history, so have the rules. Trey Williams, ’24, explained why the best change to occur in the NBA was hand-checking.

“When the (NBA) changed hand-checking, they really made it more accessible for players to, especially in the current NBA, make good moves,” Williams said. “You can see guys now not being worried about being held off the ball or during the play. (The players) are more worried about what move to make to go around them.”

Meanwhile, Williams discussed the worst addition to the NBA has been the new draft lottery.

“Being a Cavs fan when Zion (Williamson) was being drafted, I thought okay the Cavs were the second worst team in the league, we might have a chance at getting the first overall pick,” Williams said. “We ended up with the fifth pick that year.”

According to NBA.com, from 1947-1989 the worst team in the league was guaranteed to have the fourth highest pick of the draft. However, since 1990, the draft has used a weighted system. In other words, the lowest ranking teams have a higher chance of receiving a higher overall pick, but teams with better records still have a chance to receive one of the first picks of the draft.

Williamson, who was one of the most sought after prospects in NBA history, has emerged as one of the newest stars in the NBA. He was drafted first overall in 2019 by the New Orleans Pelicans, when the Pelicans had the tenth lowest winning percentage that year at .432. Per sportingnews, the Cavs had a 14% chance of selecting the first draftee that year, while the Pelicans had only a 6.8% chance.

One of the reasons why the NBA changed the lottery was to prevent rebuilding teams from tanking — a term used for teams that know they are out of playoff contention to lose as many games as possible to hopefully receive the first pick.

Although there has been debates about how much the new lottery system makes a difference in teams avoiding the cellar, it still has not stopped franchises from building super teams.

These super teams come from richer NBA teams and generally consist of at least some of the highest players in the league. For example, the Golden State Warriors went to four straight NBA championships from 2015-18. For that reason, Gabby Culotta, ’23 elaborated on why she is not a fan of super teams.

“The idea of super teams sometimes can be frustrating because it is so stacked in that regard,” Culotta said. “It’s fun when it’s your team, and when you are able to cheer them on. But, at the same time it’s very frustrating. At that point it’s not basketball, it’s the super team against the other team.”

Although there are a few grievances towards the NBA today, Todd is looking forward to a possible implementation to the sport by its 100th anniversary in 2046.

“I would probably say a four-point line,” Todd said. “Steph Curry, with him coming along and (basketball players) trying to be like him, people are shooting from farther and farther.”