The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the world’s premier professional basketball league. It is currently a 30-team league with two conferences, the East and West.
NBA teams play a regular season during which they compete for the conference championships. They then compete in a playoff to determine the NBA champion. The winner of the NBA Finals is awarded the Larry O’Brien Trophy and receives a championship ring.
The NBA All-Star Game is held annually in February and involves all players on active rosters, as well as coaches and team executives from each conference. The leading vote-getters from each conference are named as captains, and they select their own teams.
Coaches and players from each conference draft their All-Star teams, which consist of 14 starters and seven reserves. The All-Star Game is a celebration of the best basketball players in the league and their performances during the season.
The current NBA league structure divides the teams into two conferences with three divisions of five teams each. The top teams from each conference qualify for the playoffs and are seeded accordingly. The winner of each division is guaranteed a top-three seed, and the second-place team in each conference receives a top-four seed.
The top six teams in each conference, ranked by overall winning percentage, advance to the playoffs directly. In addition, the seventh- and eighth-ranked teams in each conference compete in a Play-In Tournament to determine their seeds. If two or more teams within a conference are tied in overall winning percentage, a tiebreaker criteria is used to determine the final rankings.
The playoffs are comprised of four round-robin matchups. The higher-seeded team in each matchup advances to the next round if it defeats its opponent by at least one point. The lower-seeded team in each matchup must win by at least five points to advance.
The top-seeded team in each conference plays its first round playoff series against the lower-seeded team in its conference. The winner of each series earns a spot in the NBA Finals, which begin in June.
Player of the Year Awards
Each year, the top-ranked player in each conference is awarded the NBA Player of the Year award. This is the highest honor in the league, and a win gives the recipient the right to wear a gold trophy during the following season.
The All-Star Game is the most important event of the NBA regular season. It consists of two games, a nighttime game in the United States and a daytime game in Canada. Fans across the country, as well as on the Internet, vote for their favorite players.
Fan voting counts 50% of the starters’ balloting, and a media ballot and the ballots turned in by NBA players count for the remaining 25%. In addition, the All-Star Game includes an MVP award.
To encourage shooting and discourage stalling, the NBA introduced the 24-second shot clock in 1954. This rule, shortened to eight seconds in 2001, is still in place today.