What You Need to Know About the NBA

NBA games are full of excitement, game-changing plays, and storied rivalries. They’re also home to personal sagas and team dynasties. The league has a deep connection to its fans and communities and is committed to social responsibility. The NBA Cares program works with internationally recognized youth-serving organizations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes.

The NBA has 30 teams across the United States and Canada. Each team plays 82 regular-season games (20 games against each division, 10 at home and 10 on the road) and 30 postseason games (14 group games plus seven knockout-round games). The top eight teams in each conference earn playoff spots, and the team with the best record overall wins the championship.

Each NBA season begins in October with the preseason, followed by the regular season and then the playoffs. At the end of each season, awards are given for the best players and teams.

NBA rosters are made up of role players and star players who excel at one or more skills. The league has a maximum number of players that each team can sign to a contract per year – this is called the salary cap. Players whose contracts expire are free to sign with other teams – this is called unrestricted free agency. Players can also be restricted free agents, whose former teams have the right to match any offer.

A jump ball happens at the beginning of each game when two players line up on either side of the basket and compete for the jump ball, or tipoff. The winner gets possession to start the first and third quarters. The loser gets the ball to start the second and fourth quarters.

If a team fails to create a shot that hits the rim or goes through the basket within 24 seconds after obtaining possession, they’re deemed to have committed a shot clock violation. This rule was introduced to encourage shooting and discourage stalling.

The NBA was founded in 1946 with 17 franchises that played in a mix of large and small cities, at both large arenas and smaller gymnasiums and armories. Over the years, teams were consolidated into fewer and fewer locations until there was only one franchise in each city. The Minneapolis Lakers moved to Los Angeles, the Syracuse Nationals to Philadelphia and the Fort Wayne Pistons to Milwaukee, before the league merged its final teams in 1953-54.

Today, the NBA continues to innovate on and off the court. The NBA Play-In Tournament, for example, is an excellent way to extend the regular season for underperforming teams who might otherwise be forced to tank for a higher draft pick. In addition, it allows the league to showcase its incredible talents while promoting important social issues. The NBA’s social responsibility initiatives include Dream in Color, which supports the development and retention of Black employees in the NBA by offering professional development opportunities, fostering a workplace environment open to race-based conversation and engagement, and delivering community service programs focused on urban youth.