The NBA is one of the largest, most popular, and valuable sports leagues in the world. Its television deal is valued at $24 billion, and it has more than $1 billion in sponsorships and other revenue streams. The league is also expanding internationally at a rapid pace. With a global reach that spans more than 200 countries and territories, the NBA has never been more popular or profitable.
Founded in 1946, the NBA began with seventeen franchises located in a mix of large cities and small towns, playing in a mixture of modern arenas and smaller gymnasiums and armories. By 1950, the league had consolidated to eleven teams, and most of the smaller-city franchises shifted to larger markets.
Each NBA team plays 82 games during the regular season, 41 on the road and 41 at home. The teams compete both within their division and against teams from other conferences to earn a spot in the playoffs. Teams that have a good enough record will be awarded the top seeds in each conference and receive home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.
A series of rounds determines the league champion, and each round consists of five games. The winner of each conference and the best overall record enters the Finals, where a matchup of the two top seeded teams occurs in the championship game. The NBA’s current playoff structure was introduced in the 2004-05 season.
Each team is allowed a maximum of 15 players on its active roster, and 12 can be active for each game. Each team has a 24-second shot clock, and if the ball is not hit by a player inside the 3-point line or does not make contact with the rim before the clock expires, play is stopped and the ball is given to the opposing team.
The NBA is a global sport, and its games are broadcast in more than 200 countries and territories, and in more than 50 languages. The league has also established a network of international facilities that host preseason, regular-season, and playoff games.
The NBA has a rich history of great teams and players. From Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson to Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, the league has produced an array of legendary superstars. However, there have been many other players whose careers started with much fanfare and promise but never lived up to expectations. This list includes some of those players, as well as a few who are still playing at a high level but haven’t achieved the level of stardom many expected them to achieve.