Another significant advance occurred in 1936, when a Stanford University team traveled from California to a Madison Square Garden promotion to challenge the eastern powers in the "cradle of basketball." Opponents and fans were stunned by the Stanford style of shooting--one-handed while jumping, which contrasted to the prevalent method of taking two-handed shots while standing still. One Stanford player, Hank Luisetti, was so adept at the "jump shot" that he could outscore an entire opposing team. The new style gained universal acceptance, and basketball scores rose remarkably.
In the 1937-38 season the center jump following each field goal was eliminated. At the end of the next season, Madison Square Garden brought in college teams from around the nation for the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), a postseason playoff that was adopted (1939) on a wider scale by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Although the NIT is still held annually, the NCAA tournament serves as the official intercollegiate championship.
The University of Kentucky (coached, 1930-72, by Adolph Rupp), St. John's (in New York), the University of North Carolina, Western Kentucky, Kansas University, and Indiana University have been among the leading college basketball teams for years. From 1964 to 1975 the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), coached by John Wooden and led by the centers Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton, dominated the intercollegiate play-offs, winning the title an unprecedented 10 times in 12 years. The 1,250 college teams in the United States now draw about 30 million spectators per season.
Although women have played the game since the 1890s, and even though a few states (Iowa, for instance) have shown great participatory and spectator interest in secondary-school women's basketball for some decades, significant growth and serious recognition of women's basketball in the United States and elsewhere did not occur until the 1970s. Almost all U.S. states now hold girls' high school tournaments, and basketball is the fastest-growing women's intercollegiate sport.
From 1898 on, many attempts were made to establish professional basketball as a spectator sport-but success did not come until 1946. The best of the early efforts was made by the Harlem Globetrotters, an all-black team that toured first only the United States and then internationally to play local professional or semi-professional teams. The Globetrotters, founded in 1926, were not affiliated with a league. Their style was and is often showy because, at least into the early 1950s, they could dominate all opponents.
In 1946 serious professional basketball had acquired a following among American sports fans, who wanted to see the former collegians in action. That year the Basketball Association of America, with teams from the United States and one from Toronto, began competing in large arenas in the major cities. Another professional league, the National Basketball League, was already in existence, with many franchises in medium-sized midwestern cities. The two leagues merged in 1949 as the National Basketball Association (NBA) and pared away the weaker franchises.
With the signing of the country's best collegians through what was called a player draft, the NBA could display both talent and balance. The NBA's greatest spurt of growth occurred in the 1960s and '70s. Although the Boston Celtics, led by Bill Russel, Bob Cousy, and John Havlicek and coached by Red Auerbach, won 11 of 13 NBA titles beginning in 1957, fans also closely followed such stars as Philadelphia's Wilt Chamberlain, Cincinnati's Oscar Robertson, and Los Angeles's Jerry West and Elgin Baylor. The NBA of the 1970s and 1980s exhibited a welcome balance of power: from 1970 until 1988 no team won consecutive NBA titles, though the New York Knicks (with Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, and Bill Bradley) won twice; the Boston Celtics, 5 times (3 with Larry Bird); and the Los Angeles Lakers, 6 times (5 with Magic Johnson).
Реферат опубликован: 30/07/2009