What basketball has in common with Econ 101 : Planet Money The introduction of the three-point line changed how people play basketball. And it has some compelling parallels to economics.
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Hooponomics

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Hooponomics

Hooponomics

Hooponomics

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/731408726/731458485" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 07: Danny Green #14 of the Toronto Raptors is fouled by Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors during Game Four of the 2019 NBA  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

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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