In the mid- to late twentieth century, the field of professional sports underwent drastic cultural and economic change. No sports association was impacted as much as the National Basketball Association, which grew monumentally from 1975 to 1990. This article argues that the NBA’s growth stemmed from new collective bargaining agreements put in place during the 1980s to implement a workplace culture that fit within the broader conservative backlash during the decade. The NBA implemented punishments for drug-based and conduct-based offenses for its players and established a salary cap to regain control over players’ remuneration. This not only raised revenue but assimilated its growing population of African American players to traditional workplace norms that simultaneously attempted to counter racist stereotypes about their “natural” talents and legitimized ideas that Black players needed to be carefully managed.

You do not currently have access to this content.