Birth: June 6, 1946.

Death: June 21, 2012.

The NBA passed away late last night at the age of 66, after a two-year battle with a deadly disease. 

What a wonderful life it lived. From early on, it showed great potential with the George Mikan-led Lakers.

The league then moved through its teenage years with Bill Russell’s Celtics dynasty and grew into a strong, viable sport.

It had a rough spot in the 1970’s, when it ran into a drug problem, but bounced back great in the 1980’s with the odd couple of Bird and Magic; the game was primed for national TV exposure.

At the age of 50, the NBA reached the pinnacle of its life with the Golden Age of Basketball, led by the great competitive spirit of Michael Jordan.

In its older days, the league became fundamentally solid, lead by the classy Spurs organization and Tim Duncan.

The early signs of the disease appeared when one Laker superstar accused of rape ran off his teammate, so that he could have all the glory of the title to himself.

The NBA was able to fight off the disease for a few years, with good all-around teams like the  2004 Detroit Pistons and the 2008 Boston Celtics.

But the disease began to take total control on July 8, 2010, when the commissioner of the NBA allowed collusion to take place; now his current crop of wannabe superstars could win a title in the worst sports town in America: Miami, Florida.

The NBA had one more glorious moment last June when the Dallas Mavericks, a team of gritty NBA veterans led by a true star in Dirk Nowitzki, put it all together and held the deadly disease at bay for one more year.

But death was coming and the league passed away without much of a fight;  the disease of entitlement, lack of effort, and awful leadership was too much to overcome.


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