by Joshua Mendelsohn
Today the salary cap is an NBA institution, something fans take for granted as part of the fabric of the league or an obstacle to their favorite team’s chances to win a championship. In the early 1980s, however, a salary cap was not only novel but nonexistent. The Cap tells the fascinating, behind-the-scenes story of the deal between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association that created the salary cap in 1983, the first in all of sports, against the backdrop of a looming players’ strike on one side and threatened economic collapse on the other.
Joshua Mendelsohn illustrates how the salary cap was more than just professional basketball’s economic foundation—it was a grand bargain, a compromise meant to end the chaos that had gripped the sport since the early 1960s.