Offense plus Defense Equals Evolution: How did the National Basketball Association evolve into a cultural and economic icon from 1970-2000

Cameron Black

Abstract


Research Question: How did the National Basketball Association grow into a cultural and economic icon in American Society? In the twenty-first century, economics has increasingly become a larger factor within how sports are represented and interpreted by the American public. This extends to the National Basketball Association, or NBA; it has experienced vast economic and cultural over the past thirty years. Though multiple lenses have been used to analyze this change, I assert that cultural and economic evolution of the National Basketball Association can be analyzed through application of symbolic capital. My thesis is: I assert that symbolic capital impacted the cultural and economic evolution of the National Basketball Association by the Association using the symbolic concept of professionalism and language manipulation to increase the symbolic capital needed to increased revenue that drove the cultural and economic evolution of the National Basketball Association as an economic and cultural institution. My provisional conclusion is that symbolic manipulation was used as a tool to influence Middle Class Americans to watch the NBA by increasing the perception of the organization’s professionalism through language manipulation. My methods of research will be divided into two sections for each perspective. For the economic history, I will use various archived sources that document the economic evolution of the National Basketball Association, specifically the average attendance, television revenues, and the growth of the salary cap I will also study the collective bargaining agreements reached in 1995 and 1999 to analyze for economic evolution. For social and cultural reactions, I will use archived newspapers, magazines and sports-related media to determine how contracts were depicted in popular media. I will use prominent modern day archives extensively, specifically Sports Illustrated Vault, and Archives from the LA Times, and Chicago Tribune to name a few prominent magazines.


Keywords


National Basketball Association; Symbolic Capital; Language; Professionalism

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