NBA History Timeline: Part 2

Follow the NBA history timeline below to see how this basketball league transformed from a small, floundering organization into one of the most popular sports leagues in the world!

Check out the other time periods in the history of the NBA.

NBA Timeline


Red Auerbach was hired to coach the Boston Celtics. He went on to lead the Celtics to 9 titles and became the winningest coach in the NBA.

Basketball history timeline - Red Auerbach

Red Auerbach


First African-American players allowed in the NBA. They were Chuck CooperNat "Sweetwater" Clifton, and Earl Lloyd.


George Mikan was such a dominant force in the lane that the free throw lane was widened from 6 to 12 feet.

history of the NBA - George Mikan

George Mikan

Mar 12, 1951

First NBA All-Star Game was played in Boston

Apr 12, 1954

Minneapolis Lakers won their 5th title in 6 years to become the NBA's first dynasty

Minneapolis Lakers

Oct 30, 1954

24-second shot clock made its debut resulting in a 13.6-point increase in NBA team scoring averages that season.

Apr 13, 1957

Greatest dynasty in NBA history was born as the Boston Celtics won their first of what would be 11 NBA championships in 13 years (including 8 titles in a row.)

 During the second overtime of Game 7 in this series against the St. Louis Hawks, Bob Cousy, one of the greatest players of the game and an 80% NBA career free throw shooter stepped up to the line. He shot an air ball that actually hit his teammate, Tommy Heinsohn, on the shoulder as he stepped into the lane for the rebound. 

Bob Cousy

Bob Cousy

April 9, 1959


Boston Celtics won the 1959 title on their way to an unprecedented 8 championships in a row

NBA History Timeline


Minneapolis Lakers moved to Los Angeles to give the NBA a west coast presence



Oscar Robertson of the Cincinnati Royals averaged a triple double, which included 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists for the entire season

Oscar Robertson

Oscar Robertson

March 2, 1962

Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a single game as his Philadelphia Warriors defeated the New York Knicks

Wilt Chamberlain

Wilt Chamberlain

Sept 1, 1963

J. Walter Kennedy was named president of the NBA. He later became the league Commissioner and helped expand the NBA from 9-18 teams that stretched from the east coast to the west.

Feb 1,  1967

American Basketball Association (ABA) was officially formed with 11 teams. George Mikan was the league's first commissioner.

American Basketball Association

Feb 17, 1968

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame officially opened its doors to the public in Springfield, Mass

May 5, 1969

Bill Russell retired as a player for the Boston Celtics. There hasn't been a player in NBA history to match the 11 titles he won with the Celtics.

Bill Russell

Bill Russell

NBA History Timeline


Spencer Haywood skipped the draft and signed a 6-year NBA contract with the Seattle SuperSonics violating the NBA's policy of not signing players before their classes graduated. The NBA took Haywood and the Sonics to court, but they lost the case. The judge ruled that the NBA's four-year rule was in conflict with the Sherman Antitrust Act. This decision changed the game of basketball forever.


Collective bargaining agreement between the Players Association and team owners was finalized

May 7,  1972

LA Lakers defeated the NY Knicks in the 1972 NBA Finals. This victory gave them an unprecedented 69 regular-season wins, including an NBA record of 33 in a row. This game also brought to a close one of the greatest seasons in NBA history.

Aug 1974

Moses Malone became the first pro player in the modern era to sign with the NBA straight out of high school, signing with the Utah Stars.

June 17, 1976

American Basketball Association officially ended along with its trademark red, white, and blue ball. Four of its teams went to the NBA (Denver, Indiana, New Jersey, and San Antonio.)

ABA basketball


Larry Bird and Magic Johnson began their rookie seasons in the NBA

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson


3-point field goal introduced

Oct 12, 1979 

Chris Ford of the Boston Celtics scored the NBA's first 3-point field goal.

NBA History Timeline cont'd...

>> >> NBA History Timeline: Part 2