Of the four major American sports leagues, the National Basketball Association has done the most to take its game from a domestic powerhouse into an international juggernaut.
The Association s popularity is still growing internationally, thanks to a combination of international outreach, technological savvy, and openness—as crystallized by these eight marquee moments that helped the basketball go global.
Despite then-commissioner David Stern s misgivings, the United States sent the Dream Team to Barcelona for the 1992 Summer Olympics, and finally the best basketball players in the world had the attention of an international audience.
The public reception in Spain was ecstatic—coach Chuck Daly likened it to Elvis and The Beatles put together —and the team s effect on the game was immediately felt.
Last year, the NBA broadcast the Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers to 215 countries in 47 different languages, across televisions, computers, and mobile devices.
The Chinese Basketball Association began playing a year later in 1995, quickly expanded it currently has 20 teams , and the country remains one of the most vibrant overseas professional leagues for players who don t quite make the cut in the NBA.