The NBA will never be as popular as the NFL for several reasons. The biggest reason is that the NFL is king in America. Even if pro football is being a little over shown as Mark Cuban suggests I don’t think the NBA will get close to them in terms of attendance and ratings.
The NFL has true parity and a team in last place in a division can get first place a year later and be Super Bowl contenders. Due the revenue sharing the NFL knows all its small market teams can contend. The NBA is geared towards letting the big market teams win most of the time.
Vince McMahon of the WWE should really be the NBA Commissioner because it is more sports entertainment these days than a sport. The big stars get the call from the officials and its clear that the ref’s help the teams advance in the playoffs that draw the most fan support.
The NFL draft is a huge ratings boon in itself with millions of football fans studying potential rookies and reading mock drafts. Millions watch the NFL draft on primetime television. The NBA draft is a joke with a lottery to ensure teams don’t tank but they do anyway. The lottery is clearly rigged or else there would a better method of conducting the lottery picks.
While I concede the NBA has the beat athletes in the world they will never be as popular as the NFL Because not enough real sports fans can take the NBA seriously until some major changes are made.