The three-point line was introduced by the National Basketball Association in 1979, in part to give shorter players a better chance to compete with the tall players who had been dominating the sport. Since, back then, making any shot was only worth two points, the idea was that adding a three point option would incentivize players to take more long range jump shots.
The first year after it was introduced, not many three-pointers were attempted. But by last season, more than one out of every three shots attempted in NBA games was a three-pointer. Today on the Planet Money Indicator, the story of the three-point shot's takeover of basketball, the economic lessons of how it changed the game, and why it is now having unintended effects that could be a problem for basketball's future.
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