NBA – National Basketball Association - Logo Products
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Overview of the NBA
The National Basketball Association is a professional men's basketball league of 32 teams in North America. The NBA is one of the four major North American professional sports leagues, which include Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Football League (NFL), and the National Hockey League NHL). The league was founded in New York City in 1946 as the Basketball Association of America (BAA). The league adopted the name National Basketball Association in 1949 after merging with the rival National Basketball League (NBL).
At the end of the summer break, teams hold training camps in October, allowing coaching staff to evaluate players, scout the team's strengths and weaknesses, prepare the players for the season, and determine the 12-man active roster (and a 3-man inactive list) with which they will begin the regular season. Teams have the ability to assign players with less than two years of experience to the NBA development league. After training camp, a series of preseason exhibition games are held. The NBA regular season begins in the first week of November. During the regular season, each team plays 82 games, 41 each at home and away. A team faces opponents in its own division four times a year (16 games), teams from the other two divisions in its conference either three or four times (36 games), and teams in the other conference twice apiece (30 games). NBA is one of only three major leagues in North America (besides the Canadian Football League) in which teams play every other team during the regular season (the others being the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer). Each team hosts and visits every other team at least once every season.
The Basketball Association of America was founded in 1946 by the owners of the major ice hockey arenas in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States. On November 1, 1946, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the Toronto Huskies hosted the New York Knickerbockers at Maple Leaf Gardens, which the NBA now regards as the first game played in the league's history. Although there had been earlier attempts at professional basketball leagues, including the American Basketball League and the NBL, the BAA was the first league to attempt to play primarily in large arenas in major cities.
During its early years, the quality of play in the BAA was not significantly better than in competing leagues or among leading independent clubs such as the Harlem Globetrotters. In 1949, the BAA agreed to merge with the NBL, creating the new National Basketball Association. The new league had seventeen franchises located in a mix of large and small cities, as well as large arenas and smaller gymnasiums and armories. In 1950, the NBA consolidated to eleven franchises, a process that continued until 1953-54, when the league reached its smallest size of eight franchises, all of which are still in the league (the Knicks, Celtics, Warriors, Lakers, Royals/Kings, Pistons, Hawks, and Nationals/76ers). The process of contraction saw the league's smaller-city franchises move to larger cities.
The NBA expanded rapidly during this period, one purpose being to tie up the most viable cities. From 1966 to 1974, the NBA grew from nine franchises to 18. In 1970 the Portland Trail Blazers, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Buffalo Braves (now the Los Angeles Clippers) all made their debuts expanding the league to 17. The New Orleans Jazz (now in Utah) came aboard in 1974 bringing the total to 18. Following the 1976 season, the leagues reached a settlement that provided for the addition of four ABA franchises to the NBA, raising the number of franchises in the league at that time to 22. The franchises added were the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers and New York Nets (now the New Jersey Nets).
The league added the ABA's innovative three-point field goal beginning in 1979 to open up the game. Later more cities demanded teams of their own. In 1988 and 1989, four cities got their wishes as the Charlotte Hornets (now the New Orleans Hornets), Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, and Minnesota Timberwolves made their NBA debuts. In 1995, the NBA expanded to Canada with the addition of the Vancouver Grizzlies and the Toronto Raptors. In 2001, the Vancouver Grizzlies were relocated to Memphis, which left the Raptors as the only Canadian team in the NBA. In 1996, the NBA created a women's league, the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).
In 2001, an affiliated minor league, the National Basketball Development League, now called the NBA Development League (or D-League) was created. Before the league was started, there were strong rumors that the NBA would purchase the CBA, and call it its developmental league, as the Continental Basketball Association was its "minor league" affiliate for years. 20% of NBA players spent time in this league and over 143 players have been called up to play in the NBA.
Teams of the National Basketball Association
The NBA originated in 1946 with 11 teams, and through a sequence of team expansions, reductions, and relocations currently consists of 30 teams. The United States is home to 29 teams and one is located in Canada. The current league organization divides thirty teams into two conferences of three divisions with five teams each.
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