Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Aug 13 18:06:55 UTC 2010

At 12:42 PM -0400 8/13/10, Dan Goncharoff wrote:
>You are right -- I am missing the point.
>You talk about the difference in distribution "relative to the
>underlying abbreviation". I don't know what that means.
>As I said, NBA and NFL are abbreviations of real names names that have
>been used for decades along with their abbreviations.
>MLB is effectively a rebranding, using the phrase Major League
>Baseball as its source. One still  finds writers and publications
>referring to ML baseball.
>A hindrance for the adoption of MLB is that MLB runs both the Major
>Leagues and the minor leagues, while the NFL and the NBA are
>effectively synonymous with professional football and pro basketball,
>having no (NFL) or few (NBA) inferior leagues.

In the latter case, I assume you're alluding (with "few") to the
development league and more prominently the WNBA, both owned by the
NBA but perhaps in the latter case not run by them; I'm not sure
about the details.  But the women in the WNBA are not NBA players.
Still, I wouldn't want to say that the NBA is synonymous with pro
basketball.  And the WNBA may be considered an "inferior league" but,
unlike the development league, isn't technically a minor league.  I
guess the NFL had one of the latter kind with NFL Europe and, before
that, the World League.  The "synonymous with professional X"
argument also has had to deal historically with the question of rival
professional leagues not under the aegis of the NBA (i.e. the ABA) or
of the NFL (there have been a few of those), but almost all of these
have since folded and/or been victims of unfriendly takeovers.
(Ditto the WHL for hockey vis-a-vis the NHL.)  Still, I'm not sure
we'd want to admit synonymy given the history and future possibility
of such rival leagues.  In hockey, certainly not, given the major
league product outside North America--but couldn't the case be made
for this in basketball too, given the European and Israeli leagues?
(Note that "Major League Soccer" is by most international standards
fairly minor league...)


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