According to NBA History, basketball started back in 1892, invented by Dr. James Naismith for the YMCA to play in its winter months. As the sport’s popularity continues to grow, more and more young boys and girls look up to the athletes that they see on TV as the sport grew, leagues started to show up to have teams compete for glory and bragging rights. Another major contributor to this growth in popularity would be the formation and overall nationwide adoption of the National Basketball Association. The NBA officially started in 1949 and has been growing ever since to meet the entertainment demands of the nation.
Seeing the popularity of Basketball grow the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) started up their own basketball league for the high schoolers of Nebraska. The NSAA held their first men’s basketball championship in 1911. They have been holding it every year since. The league and subsequent championship have changed and evolved through the years just as the sport itself does. The championship as it stands now consists of eight teams from each “class” competing in a single elimination tournament where the winner receives the coveted title of best in the state, along with it a big shiny trophy. The “classes” are divisions that break up the schools by size to make the competition fair. The six classes in descending order are A, B, C1, C2, D1, and D2. The women’s first championship followed the men with their first championship starting in 1977, the women now follow the men with a “class” based tournament of eight.
These tournament and subsequent championships have been played in Nebraska’s capitol city of Lincoln. The games are played in the Lincoln area high schools and the championship has been played at the Bob Devaney Sport’s Center and now in the new Pinnacle Bank Arena. Young men and women set their sights on these arenas as the final stop and the top of the mountain of the dream season. They work hard for years of games, camps and in practices both in-season and offseason. They dream of hearing the final buzzer of the season and looking up at the scoreboard and try to determine whether or not this is another dream.
As both tournaments are held in Lincoln year after year citizens of Lincoln have come to expect the increase of people that flood the town for two weeks. This means that hotels are full, streets are congested and stores are packed. My uncle is the basketball coach for a D1 team in the Sandhills region of the state. He has been successful in the past taking many teams to the tournament. From his accounts and my own observations I learned that for these schools especially for the smaller schools far away from Lincoln the tournament isn’t just for the players, it is for the families, and even for the town itself. As whole communities congregate in one town it floods the city with an increase in revenue. Some may find this as a positive or a negative, either boosting the city’s economy for two weeks or breaking up the normal flow and unconvincing those who live in Lincoln.