Unveil of NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team met with tepid reviews on Twitter

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Confusing, letdown, bizarre, disappointing—all have been used to describe the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team, which the league unveiled over three nights, concluding with Thursday’s finale on TNT. Compared to the NBA’s electric 50th anniversary celebration in New York City years earlier, this week’s countdown of the 75 Greatest Players of All-Time was mostly met by yawns, failing to resonate with fans and critics on social media.

Former New York Times columnist Marc Stein found ESPN and TNT’s rollout “disjointed,” adding that the list “won’t go down as one of the league’s all-time great promotional efforts.” Bill Simmons of The Ringer offered many of the same complaints, wondering why the NBA spent days building suspense, only for each member of the 50th anniversary team to be included.

Condensing the NBA's entire history into 75 names was always going to open the league up to criticism—notable snubs included Vince Carter, Grant Hill, Dwight Howard, Kyrie Irving, Nikola Jokic, Bernard King and Tracy McGrady. But even the dissenters weren’t particularly vocal as the tepid three-day affair came and went without much fanfare.

In the social media age with hopelessly addictive smartphones and streaming devices changing the way we consume the world around us, maybe this response was to be expected. Tapping into nostalgia works for some sports—baseball, in particular—but would the NBA’s younger demographic comprised of millennials who grew up worshipping Kobe Bryant and LeBron James truly care, or even have the attention span, to acknowledge pioneers like George Mikan and Dolph Schayes? Perhaps not. Still, the clunky presentation left many scratching their heads, wondering how the NBA could butcher what should have been a victory lap for the league and its fans.

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