1991. We only got 1 game on a Saturday back then, plus that NBA highlights show NBA Action.
Crazy how tough it was at times to catch legitimate NBA highlights back then. Sportscenter was great, assuming you could catch it (I used to watch it before school every morning. . .back when its premise was merely to show highlights from games - not spend 45 minutes of every hour talking). But if for some reason Sportscenter didn't provide what you needed, say if your team got the score-only treatment, you were pretty much screwed.
As such, NBA Inside Stuff, NBA Action, and Headline News at the 21 and 51 minute of every hour were crucial to my existence. Plus, Sportscenter often didn't show very traditionally on the weekend. Saturday mornings would have hunting for most of the time slots and Sunday would have a weird Sportscenter derivative stuffed between Sports Reporters and other talking programs.
Crazy how easy its become to find what we're looking for.
I'm 20 right now and like someone else said, my family too watched NBA basketball, so I guess I've been watching all my life..my mom tells me I used to wish I looked like Reggie Miller.
My earliest memory of watching NBA basketball is the Spurs and Pistons in the 2005 finals. From then I don't recall anything up until 2006 when I turned to ESPN and saw that Kobe had scored 81..i was only a Kobe fan at that point. From then I don't recall anything up until the 2008 season which is probably when I became a legit fan.
I wanna say around '84 or so, but my full "Understanding Of The Game" (what's a pick and roll, screen and roll, box-out, etc) didn't really kick in until the 89 season. Big shout outs to Chick and Stu in L.A., as well as Hubie Brown, who never acted "in awe" of any players, but would just give you a straight "Xs and Os" understanding of the game.