At the end of the 1980s, representations of French basketball underwent radical changes. Basketball games lost their small-town atmosphere and became theater: grandiose shows, dramatized by the media, which became a part of French public life. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of American “basketball culture” on the representations of young French readers by analyzing the front covers of Maxi Basket, the magazine that has dominated the basketball press since it first appeared on newsstands in September 1982. The magazine clearly illustrates the movement of the French game of basketball toward theatricalization, commercialization, television coverage, and globalization, similar to the American game. The arrival of American basketball in France and its subsequent integration, a strong marker of the “Americamania” of the ’80s, was a symptom of the dialectical link that connected the manufacture of material goods with the production of cultural goods.
Vivier and Monier are with the Sports Dept., University of Franche-Comte, 25000 Besançon, France. Rose is with The Language Center, 25660 Montfaucon, France.