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Tyler Cowen

Talent Rules in Both the NBA and the World Economy

America’s professional basketball league shows the importance of searching for and cultivating top players.

Which one is MVP?

Which one is MVP?

Photographer: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America

Whatever its flaws, the NBA is one of the more functional institutions in American society. Two years ago, as Covid was advancing, the league was quick to shut down the regular season, and in the summer of 2020 it pulled off the playoffs bubble with few hitches. The league has been in the forefront of adapting to an age of social media. In part due to the NBA, basketball is the most dynamic major American sport and has advanced far on the global stage.

With the basketball playoffs starting this week, it is worth asking what can be learned from the NBA’s more recent history. This year the NBA story is one of talent — extreme talent. Talent so plentiful that even the middling teams are full of strong players. The broader lessons for the world economy are very optimistic.