The NBA is the world’s premier professional basketball league. It originated in 1946 with 11 teams and is now home to 30 in the United States and Canada. The NBA has produced many sports legends, including Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.
The NBA season runs from mid-October through early April, when each team plays 82 games in a conference. The winner of each division earns a playoff spot. The other teams can enter the playoffs as wildcards if they have a better record than the winners of their conference.
Each season, the league holds a draft in which a team selects players from colleges and universities. These picks are used to build a roster. If a player has played college or university basketball for at least two years, they can be considered a first-round draft pick.
During the preseason, teams hold training camps in which they prepare for the upcoming season. These training camps are open to all players, including rookies, and allow coaches to evaluate their teams’ strengths and weaknesses. They also help determine the team’s 12-man active roster for the regular season.
After the regular season, each team competes in the postseason to determine the NBA champion. Each conference has eight teams that qualify for the NBA championship game, and a number of other teams can make the playoffs depending on their records in both conferences.
The playoffs take place over four rounds. The first-round winners play the second-round winners, and the two teams with the best records in each conference face off in the Finals.
Since 1954, the NBA has enforced a 24-second shot clock to encourage shooting and discourage stalling. If a team fails to attempt to shoot within 24 seconds, play is stopped and the ball given to the opposing team.
This rule is still in effect today, although it has been modified several times over the years. It also prevents teams from extending play for long periods of time when they have a lead, which is called “stalling.”
In addition, each team plays eight regular-season games to determine its playoff seeding. The top seeds in each conference advance to the NBA Finals, and the bottom eight seeds in each conference play in a “play-in” tournament that is held prior to the actual first round. The final two teams with the best records in each conference meet in the NBA Finals to determine the ultimate NBA champion.
The NBA began as the Basketball Association of America in 1946. After a three-year battle, it merged with the National Basketball League in 1949 to form the NBA.
Originally, the NBA had 17 teams; however, financial troubles led to the league losing teams over the next few years. A number of teams were relocated, and others were eliminated altogether.
The league reorganized in 2004 to divide its 30 teams into two conferences of five teams each. The current divisional alignment reflects the distribution of population in the United States and Canada, with most teams located in the eastern half of the country.