The NBA, or National Basketball Association, is one of the most popular and valuable sports leagues in the world. With a television deal valued at $24 billion, a $1 billion Nike deal, rapid international growth and an average team value exceeding a billion dollars, the NBA is an integral part of the global sports industry.
The regular season runs from October through April, with teams playing 82 games each year. During that time, each team faces the other teams in its division four times, and the other two teams in their conference either three or four times.
At the end of the regular season, the top eight teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs. Those teams are seeded based on their records and whether they won their division, with the top-seeded team in each conference having home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
Once the playoffs begin, each round is a best-of-seven series. The first team to win four games advances to the next round, where they face a higher-seeded team. The winners of the first two rounds then meet in the conference finals. This is also a best-of-seven series, and whichever team wins that will be crowned the NBA champion.
Each February, the regular season pauses for the annual NBA All-Star Game. Fans vote throughout the United States, Canada, and the Internet to select the starting lineups for each conference. The coaches then choose the remaining players from a pool of allstars. The game is contested in a best-of-seven format, and the winner is awarded the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.
The NBA also operates a number of international tournaments and other events, including the FIBA Americas Cup, which is held every four years. In addition, the league has a number of other developmental and international tournaments and other events, including the Skills Challenge, the Slam Dunk Contest, the Rising Stars Invitational, and the NBA China Games.
The NBA is unique among major American professional sports leagues in its structure and revenue sharing. The NBA is an association of team-owners that is a partnership under state law. As such, it owes fiduciary duties to its members and can seek judicial expulsion of any member that violates those obligations. However, the NBA also collects its own revenue, which it shares with its member clubs. The NBA’s structure and revenue sharing have made it one of the most profitable and popular professional sports leagues in the world.