What Is the NBA?

A global sports entertainment brand, the NBA is the premier league of basketball, with games and events held in arenas around the world. The NBA is known for its world-class competition and its legacy of game-changing plays, storied rivalries, personal sagas, and team dynasties. It is also known for its commitment to promoting a healthy lifestyle and its community outreach programs. The NBA and its teams strive to bring fans together by connecting them with the game they love through a shared passion for basketball.

The NBA features 30 teams divided into two conferences, each featuring three divisions of five teams. The Atlantic, Central, and Eastern Divisions make up the Eastern Conference; the Southwest, Northwest, and Pacific Divisions make up the Western Conference.

Each season, the NBA plays 82 regular-season games. The top eight teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs, which begin with a best-of-seven first round. After the first round, a best-of-seven second round and the conference championship follow, with the best team earning the right to face the Eastern or Western champion for the NBA Finals.

The league’s salary cap is a key factor in its success. Designed to ensure competitive balance, it restricts the amount of money that a team can spend on player salaries. This allows small market teams to compete with the wealthier, more established clubs and prevents super-teams from dominating the league. However, the cap can be breached by teams willing to sacrifice long-term financial sustainability in order to sign marquee players.

A player’s health is a crucial element of their performance. The NBA has a strict policy on when players can be absent from regularly scheduled and nationally televised games, with exceptions made for injuries or personal reasons. However, a player’s ability to play a full 82-game schedule is becoming increasingly difficult as teams reduce back-to-back games and limit travel. This has led to some stars missing games and a reduction in overall playing time for some players.

The NBA has a strong global presence, with games and shows broadcast in more than 200 countries and territories in over 40 languages. It is the most popular sport in the United States and has an active worldwide development program that includes holding international contests and exhibition games.

Throughout the history of the NBA, great players have elevated the game to new heights. A few of the greatest to ever hit the court include Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Steve Nash. The NBA’s rich tradition of iconic moments, legendary rivalries and unparalleled excellence continues to attract new generations of fans.