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Legendary NBA Commercial From 1987 Starred Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, And Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: "America's Game. It's Fantastic."

Legendary NBA Commercial From 1987 Starred Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, And Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: "America's Game. It's Fantastic."

The NBA is a booming multi-billion dollar enterprise in the current era, with every franchise worth more than a billion dollars, and most much more than that. This translates into the salaries the players get paid today, and the contracts stars have signed just this offseason are a representation of that. But this wasn't always the case in the league's history. 

For the longest time in the late 70s and early 80s, the NBA's ratings were dropping steadily, and the league faced a very real threat of collapsing. This changed thanks to the superstars that came in and turned it around. Names like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird were instrumental in popularizing the sport throughout America and helping make it the global phenomenon it is today. 

But it wasn't just the players of that era that were solely responsible for it. The NBA's rise was also spearheaded by then-Commissioner David Stern, who took up the post in 1984. He marketed the stars in the league in a way that made them icons and made the NBA a very lucrative proposition for other businesses and advertisers. And a legendary ad from the early days of his tenure in 1987 has now resurfaced showcasing some of the biggest names to ever grace basketball. 

"America's game. It's FANtastic."

The advertisement shows some elite highlight plays from the likes of MJ, James Worthy, and Patrick Ewing while also putting the faces of Bird, Magic, and Abdul-Jabbar in the spotlight. It's an excellent example of the way the marketing approach changed after Stern took over. 

And involving the fan aspect of it was also genius since NBA fans can sit closer to the action than in any other major American sport. The mixture of fan involvement and marketable superstars was vital in propelling the game to greater heights. It remains a moment in history considering what a behemoth the league is now.