The National Basketball Association was born in 1946 as a way for National Hockey League owners to make money while their teams were not playing. It began with seventeen franchises, but quickly lost them when the league merged with the National Basketball League in 1949. In 1954-55, the NBA consolidated to eleven franchises. This era of the NBA was a golden decade for the basketball league. The league went from being a footnote to other basketball leagues to one that was in full bloom.
This decade was full of superstars, including Artis Gilmore, Moses Malone, Elvin Hayes, and Pete Maravich. Other great players included Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Allen Iverson, and Michael Jordan. The Miami Heat won back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013, but they were beaten in the 2014 Finals by the Spurs.
However, the best decade for the NBA was the 1980s. That decade saw the first full explosion of the league into American pop culture. There were several notable stars in the league, including Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Karl Malone, and LeBron James.
The 1980s were also a time of cold war politics. Some of the biggest athletes of the decade were serving in the United States military. Players such as Tim Duncan, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James were among them. One of the more famous NBA rivalries was the Magic-Bird clash.
While the decade was a big success, the league was plagued by financial problems. A major issue was the salary cap. Since 22 of the 30 teams in the league were losing, the cap had to be adjusted to protect teams. As a result, the NBA had to look for other ways to attract fans and earn money.
The current organization of the NBA is divided into three divisions. Each division has five teams and plays each other twice during the regular season. These teams then compete outside of their division. If a team has the greatest record in their division, they have the home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. They then play the other division twice on the road.
Each conference has their own All-Star Game. The best player in that conference is awarded a prize. During the season, the league awards the Sixth Man of the Year and Most Improved Player Awards. Several players are named captains in each conference. Those captains select the remaining All-Stars.
When the NBA was first formed in 1946, it had eight or nine teams. Those teams played in gymnasiums rather than professional arenas. Despite the fact that the league was starting to lose money, Frank Zollner managed to keep the league alive. With the addition of the Denver Nuggets in 1988, the NBA added eleven new franchises.
In 2004-05, the NBA introduced a new organizational form. In addition to the four divisions, the league also divided its teams into two conferences. Teams in the Western Division were struggling financially. Therefore, they were often tempted to move to larger cities.