Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world, second only to soccer and cricket. Originating in the United States, this sport came onto the international scene with its debut at the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936. Today, basketball is played and has followers in almost every country worldwide.
As with football, basketball is broadcast and covered by major TV networks and streaming service platforms and is also one of the most popular sports to wager. From top NBA expert picks to NBA data and social media coverage, the league is now one of the sports kings of the world.
Pandemic Challenge Overcome
The NBA is one of the most important sports competitions in the world. This billion-dollar enterprise attracts viewers from all over the planet, and its leading players and teams are enormously popular.
But in addition, basketball is part of the identity of the United States. The pandemic has also directly impacted the most important basketball league in the world. In March 2020, the NBA decided to suspend the season indefinitely due to the coronavirus.
Also Read: What Makes Soccer So Popular in the World?
Soon after, the organization planned alternatives to resume activity safely. However, the total stoppage could have meant more than a billion dollars lost between television networks, streaming, and advertising rights.
The solution was to move the final phase of the season to what is known as the “Orlando Bubble” in the vast Disney World complex in Florida. Twenty-two teams were isolated in that bubble, with facilities that have twelve courts, three stadiums, and several hotels to accommodate all the squads for several months.
More than just a strategy to resume a competition that seemed challenging to move forward, the league managed to do so in a way that allowed fans to stay on track with every game and player.
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The pandemic season was also marked by the death of Kobe Bryant on January 26, 2020, in a helicopter crash. The sports star played for twenty seasons for the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the greatest franchises in the NBA.
Bryant won five championship rings, was the top scorer of the year twice, was the best player in two finals, and broke multiple records, like becoming the youngest player to reach 30,000 points. He also achieved an Olympic gold medal with his selection to the Beijing squad in 2008. But, unfortunately, American basketball was losing one of its great icons, as Bryant had been one of the extraordinary media stars of the NBA for years.
The attention given to Kobe’s death proved to be more than just a marketing or advertising stunt, as some may have incorrectly proposed it was. Nevertheless, losing an athlete in any major sports league is a significant event to consider and one that proves how much support fans have for players and what the league represents.
Evidence in the International Market
The NBA phenomenon continues to grow worldwide in countries with lots of potential. For instance, Mexico has become a new key strategic landmark for the NBA. The match between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat, held in Mexico City in December 2022, proved that the league is now willing to go international with its game coverage.
The undeniably growing popularity of the NBA is mirrored in exhibits at the Basketball Museums, showcasing the rich history and evolution of the sport. Explore more at basketballmuseumofillinois.com to witness the legacy of basketball firsthand.
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) released the list of the best-selling player jerseys by the team in Mexico late last year. The results for the first half of the 2022-2023 season were based on sales of the NBA Tienda in Polanco and its online store NBATienda.com.
Among the most popular jerseys highlighted is the massive popularity of players like Stephen Curry and Giannis Antetokounmpo, as well as the growing fame of Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant. As for the franchises with the most, the Los Angeles Lakers top the list, as teams like the Spurs and the Heat also moved toward the top in jersey sales.