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YouTube Gold: NBA Finals In 1954 vs. 1962

It’s only eight years but look how much the game has changed

George Mikan portrait
MINNEAPOLIS - 1946: George Mikan of the Minneapolis Lakers poses for a portrait during the 1946 season in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Photo by NBAE Photos/NBAE via Getty Images

We’re always interested in basketball history around here so we thought we’d offer an interesting comparison: a 1954 Finals game between the Minneapolis Lakers and the Syracuse Nationals vs. a 1962 Finals game between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers.

If you didn’t know somehow, the Lakers started in the Land of Lakes before moving to the desert where the nickname makes as much sense as the Utah Jazz.

The first thing you’ll notice in the 1954 game is the monochromatic makeup of both teams with Earl Lloyd the only Black player.

The next thing you might notice are underhanded free throws. Then you might notice the very long hook shots by Laker George Mikan.

There is some nice passing in spots but it’s clearly an earlier form of basketball.

Cut to 1962.

The Celtics are about halfway through their incredible run. Red Auerbach has built around Bill Russell and the Celtics,with KC Jones, Sam Jones and Tom Sanders, are a fairly integrated team.

The Lakers have Elgin Baylor and second-year player Jerry West.

It’s a much more high powered game with both teams willing to run as much as possible.

The other thing that’s interesting: the 1954 game was televised.