Be Like Mike
As a sport that originated in North America, basketball is a privileged site for the study of transatlantic sporting exchanges. In France, since the mid-1980s, basketball has evolved as a practice and spectacle in line with changes in the game in the United States, and particularly in the foremost professional league of the NBA. Particular attention is paid to the basketball craze of the early 1990s, when clothing companies and the NBA attracted a new public to the sport in France. This had consequences for the demographics of basketball, the meanings associated with the sport, the style of play, and ultimately for the game in America, as increasing numbers of non-American (and especially French) players now populate the NBA. Basketball emerges in this chapter as an important example of French responses to American-led commercialization of sport and American-led globalization more generally.
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