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National Basketball Association
National Basketball Association logo.svg
Sport Basketball
Founded June 6, 1946; 77 years ago (1946-06-06)
(as BAA),
New York City, New York, U.S.
Inaugural season 1946–47
Commissioner Adam Silver
No. of teams 30
Countries United States (29 teams)
Canada (1 team)
Headquarters 645 Fifth Avenue
New York City, New York 10022
Most recent
Denver Nuggets
(1st title)
Most titles Boston Celtics
Los Angeles Lakers
(17 each)

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a professional basketball league in North America composed of 30 teams (29 in the United States and 1 in Canada). It is one of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada and is considered the premier professional basketball league in the world.

The NBA's regular season runs from October to April, with each team playing 82 games. The league's playoff tournament extends into June. As of 2020, NBA players are the world's best paid athletes by average annual salary per player.

The NBA is an active member of USA Basketball (USAB), which is recognized by the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) as the national governing body for basketball in the United States. The league's several international as well as individual team offices are directed out of its head offices in Midtown Manhattan, while its NBA Entertainment and NBA TV studios are directed out of offices located in Secaucus, New Jersey. In North America, the NBA is the third wealthiest professional sport league after the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) by revenue, and among the top four in the world.

The Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers are tied for the most NBA championships with 17 each. The reigning league champions are the Denver Nuggets, who defeated the Miami Heat in the 2023 NBA Finals.

History of the NBA

The league was founded in New York City on June 6, 1946, as the Basketball Association of America (BAA). 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.

The league changed its name to the National Basketball Association on August 3, 1949, after merging with the competing National Basketball League (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.

The Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers have won 17 championships each. No other teams have won more championships. Some teams have never won a championship.

29 teams are in the United States. The Toronto Raptors are in Canada. David Stern wants the league to expand to Europe. Some teams have played games in the United Kingdom.

Regular 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.

NBA Finals

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.

Interesting facts about the NBA

  • With an average player height of about 6 foot 6 inches, the NBA is the world's tallest sports league.
  • NBA players are the world's best paid athletes. They have the highest average annual salary.
  • In 1969, Alan Siegel created the modern NBA logo. It incorporates the silhouette of Jerry West, based on a photo by Wen Roberts. The NBA would not confirm that a particular player was used for the logo.
  • In 1996, the NBA created a women's league, the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA)
  • In 2022, an average ticket cost $77.75.

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: National Basketball Association para niños

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