Jumpman- Basketballs impact on Pop Culture

This week in BCM 111 we were discussing pop culture and we have been asked to think about a piece of pop culture that we consume. For me most of the entertainment I consume is sport related and when looking through pop culture through a sports lens there are very few that rival basketball. Before we dive into the rise of basketball into mainstream popular culture we have to understand what is pop culture?

Pop Culture has many theories and definitions, many different theories have theorized about popular culture. Alexandra Howson as ‘as a distinct set of practices set apart from economic, political or social practices; that which is differentiated from art, or high culture’. Or simply how John Storey once put ‘simply culture that is widely favoured or well liked by many people’. So therefore everyday we do consume hundreds of forms of popular culture from television shows to live sports.

My first experience of basketball, funny enough, was playing the old NBA 2k games on the Wii but i wasnt a fan then. The experience that made me become a fan was watching Kobe Byrant’s final game where he scored 60 points. It was the first basketball game i watched fully and i was enamored by the sport as previously i was a soccer and rugby fan.

Outside of my experience the NBA has been a part of mainstream pop culture since the 1980s. In the 1980s when the NBA blew up in entertainment as Magic Johnson and Larry Bird battled for NBA championships. Magic Johnson was probably the first superstar as his name has become iconically linked with the sport but it was 1984 when it was all gonna change. In the 1984 draft the Chicago Bulls selected one Micheal Jordan with the 3rd overall pick. Micheal Jordan was the league’s biggest ever superstar.

Micheal was a phenomenal player and widely regarded as one if not the greatest player of all time. Larry Bird once described Micheal after a game as “God Disguised as Micheal Jordan”. Micheals impact didn’t just happen on the hardwood; Micheal may be the most iconic North American athlete of all-time. Micheal has starred in his own movie the iconic space jam and Jordan brand has become a massive player in global fashion. Jordan brand has been one of the biggest players in street fashion especially with their shoe lie and all of this started because of MJ

Basketball has continued to grow into the worldwide phenomenon, thanks to the foundation Micheal Jordan set for NBA players to become worldwide celebrities. Players like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant have become iconic. Also with foreign players joining the NBA like Yao Ming from China, Dirk Nowitziki from Germany and the Gasol brothers in Spain have grown the sport’s popularity worldwide. China hasn’t exploded in popularity in the sport ever since Yao made it into the NBA and has become one of the biggest markets for basketball in the world. This all inturn has made the NBA the most popular North American sports league outside of North America.

The NBA will only continue to grow into the future as more all time great players continue to come into the league and become international superstars.


Bcm 111 lecture week 2 by Renee Middlemost



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