The beauty of basketball lies in the fact that it continuously evolves. For one, it has 13 rules when James Naismith introduced it in 1891, but today’s game complies with a rulebook of 66 pages.
Time and again, people came to the league and impacted the way it operates—the impact was so huge at times a rule was named after him.
Speaking of these players, here are the most influential names that changed how the game is played.
Not all NBA players are created equal, and ’O’Neal is the perfect example of this. He was not the most versatile player ’you’d see in the court, and his greatest weakness was shooting free throws.
Hack-a-Shaq was invented, which means to intentionally foul ’O’Neal since he cannot score from the line. This gives the other team a chance to get the ball possession.
It was banned by the NBA in 2017, giving the fouled team one free throw and the possession. The No Hack-A-Shaq Rule made it pointless to commit an intentional foul.
Iverson was one of the shortest players to ever play in the NBA. But this ’didn’t stop him from winning the MVP award. He also averaged 20 points per game. Iverson is an inspiration for other short players (by ’NBA’s standard) who also desires of becoming aggressive scorers. He even gave Michael Jordan an in-your-face score on his rookie season.
Aside from that, he popularized the crossover move which then became as The Allen Iverson Crossover. He was one of the most recognizable players from afar also staring from his trademark cornrows to tattoos and arm sleeves—the hip-hop swagger. Thereby not just merging sports and entertainment but also starting a culture.
Iverson was so influential in this aspect that the NBA management required the players to adhere to a strict dress code in 2005. Before and after each game, all the players need to wear business casual attire.
The Finals MVP award was named after him after Russell won 11 NBA championships with the Boston Celtics. He was one of the GOAT (greatest of all time) players; he was a proud owner of an NCAA title, NBA title, and Olympic gold medal. Russell was the only player who has won all three. He was the ’NBA’s greatest defender.
Off-court, he was a proud Black athlete who became a head coach and won a major sports league. Russell opposed strongly to racism.
As the GOAT, Jordan has changed the NBA in many ways. He always wanted to take the game a notch higher, starting with levying for the players to be paid a premium. Today, the league is a big deal, not just the salaries, but also sports apparel.
It was Jordan who put athletic wear in the mainstream, particularly his shoes. A pair of Jordans is a necessity when in the court. Also, people still buy his #23 Chicago Bulls jersey. Jordan made tons of TV commercials and one of the most-loved movies of all time.