What play, trade, draft pick, or off-court incident changed the trajectory of the NBA *as a whole* the most?
My lean is the coin flip for Kareem. The back to back drafting of Bird and Magic is a big one as well, as they saved the league’s image.
On the court I lean towards the acts of Donaghy. Undermining confidence in officials and exposing real corruption in the officials ranks is a serious issue.
An actual play is tough. Even more iconic plays mostly affect individual legacies and franchise fortunes. I’m having some difficulty thinking of a single play that affected the league as a whole. Maybe the Malice and the Palace due to major suspensions of important players, but it is technically off the court.