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National Basketball Association
|Current season or competition:|
2020–21 NBA season
|Founded||June 6, 1946|
|No. of teams||30|
|Country(ies)||United States |
|Most recent champion(s)||Milwaukee Bucks (2nd title)|
|Most championships||Boston Celtics (17 titles)|
|TV partner(s)||ABC, TNT, ESPN, NBA TV|
The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the world's top men's professional basketball league. It is one of the major professional sports leagues of North America. There are 30 teams in the league. 29 are in the United States and 1 is in Canada. It is a member of USA Basketball (USAB),. The NBA is one of the 4 major North American professional sports leagues. NBA players are the world's best paid athletes. They have the highest average annual salary.
The league was formed in New York City on June 6, 1946. It was called the Basketball Association of America (BAA). The league merged with the National Basketball League (NBL) in 1949. They then were known as the National Basketball Association. The league's head offices are in the Olympic Tower at 645 Fifth Avenue in New York City. Its international offices are in the same place. NBA Entertainment and NBA TV studios are in Atlanta, Georgia.
The NBA is widely considered the top level of competition in the world for basketball. With an average player height of about 6 foot 6 inches, it is also the world's tallest sports league.
History of the NBA
Creation and merger
In 1946, The Basketball Association of America (BAA) was formed. Its founders were owners of the major ice hockey arenas in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States and Canada. On November 1, 1946, the Toronto Huskies hosted the New York Knickerbockers. This was the first game played in NBA history. There were earlier attempts at professional basketball leagues. Examples are the American Basketball League and the NBL. The BAA was the first league to play in major cities. They played in large arenas. The level of play in the BAA was not very good. Competing leagues and other teams had similar talent. The Harlem Globetrotters are an example.
On August 3, 1949, the BAA combined with the NBL. The National Basketball Association was born. The new league had 17 teams. They came from cities of different sizes. The league got rid of several teams. It reached its smallest size of eight teams in the 1954–55 season. They were the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia Warriors (now Golden State Warriors), Minneapolis Lakers (now Los Angeles Lakers), Rochester Royals (now Sacramento Kings), Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons (now Detroit Pistons), Milwaukee Hawks (now Atlanta Hawks), and Syracuse Nationals (now Philadelphia 76ers). Teams in small cities moved to larger cities.
Japanese-American Wataru Misaka broke the NBA color barrier in 1947–48. He played for the New York Knicks. But 1950 is recognized as when the NBA integrated. African Americans joined several teams. Those players included Chuck Cooper, Nathaniel "Sweetwater" Clifton, and Earl Lloyd. They joined three different teams. During the 1950s, the Minneapolis Lakers won five NBA Championships. George Mikan was their leader. He played the center position. The Lakers were the league's first dynasty. In 1954, the league introduced the 24-second shot clock. A team must try a shot in 24 seconds. If they cannot, the other team gets the ball.
The NBA contains 30 teams. 15 are in the Eastern Conference and 15 are in the Western Conference. Each conference has three divisions with 5 teams. Teams play other teams in their division often. All teams play all other teams in a season.
Teams begin training camps in September. This allows the coaching staff to observe their players. Teams play preseason games. These do not count for a team's final season record. The weaker players get cut. Other players stay on the team and get paid. The NBA regular season begins in the last week of October. All teams play 82 games during a normal season. There are 41 home games and 41 road (away) games. Home games offer benefits to teams. They generally play better due to fan support and lack of travel. Teams play every other team during the regular season. The best players play in the NBA All-Star game in February. Fans vote for the starters. The coaches vote for the reserve (substitute) players. There is a pause in the season during the All-Star Game. Teams do not play games for about a week. Other events occur during the All-Star break. These include the Three-Point contest, the Skills course, and the Slam Dunk contest. Players participate in part due to fan interest.
Before the trade deadline, teams can trade players. This can cause changes in the balance of power. Team bosses want to get the best players for their team. Other bosses want to lower their costs. Trades often happen on the last day.
The regular season ends in the middle of April. Individual awards are given to players. The Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is given to the player most important to his team. The Defensive Player of the Year award is given to the player who plays the best defense. There are a few other awards. After the 2015-2016 season, Stephen Curry became the first player to win all votes for the MVP award.
At the end of every NBA regular season, the NBA Playoffs begin. 8 teams from each, the western, and the eastern conference are assigned a seed 1-8. Teams are assigned a seed number as follows: the 3 division champions are assigned 1-3 in order of their regular season records. The remaining seeds are determined simply by regular season record. Home court advantage is always determined by seed; higher seed=home court advantage. In the first round of the playoffs, the 1 seed plays the 8 seed;2 plays 7; 3 plays 6; 4 plays 5. All playoff rounds are best-of-7 series, meaning the first team to win 4 games moves on to the next round. Since 2014 every round follows a 2-2-1-1-1 format. The higher seeded team will have home games 1, 2, 5, and 7. The lower seed is home in games 3, 4, and 6.
To win an NBA championship, a team needs to win four rounds. The fourth round is called the finals. A team from the Eastern Conference plays a team from the Western Conference. The team that wins this series is the NBA champion. The best player in the finals wins the Finals Most Valuable Player award. The finals are played in the same format as the other rounds, 2-2-1-1-1. If both teams are the number 1 seed from their respective divisions, the team with the best record will have home court advantage.
- "Inside USA Basketball". Usabasketball.com. http://www.usabasketball.com/inside.php?page=inside. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
- "Slam dunk: NBA the richest sports league in the world by average pay « Sporting Intelligence". Sportingintelligence.com. 2011-04-21. http://www.sportingintelligence.com/2011/04/21/slam-dunk-nba-the-richest-sports-league-in-the-world-by-average-pay-220401. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
- "History of Basketball in Canada". NBA Media Ventures, LLC. http://www.nba.com/canada/History_of_Basketball_in_Canad-Canada_Generic_Article-18023.html. Retrieved 2007-04-13.
- "NBA is born". History. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/nba-is-born. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
- "NBA Rules History". NBA. May 8, 2008. http://www.nba.com/analysis/rules_history.html. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- "Stephen Curry Named Unanimous Winner of 2015-16 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award". NBA. May 10, 2016. http://www.nba.com/warriors/news/curry-mvp-20160510/. Retrieved 9 December 2016.