The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the most famous basketball league in the world and the highest level a player can aspire to play at. The league has played host to the biggest names in the sport, from Jordan to Lebron, and some of the most memorable sport on tv moments in history. Still millions across The USA and further afield tune in to watch the action unfold and the number is growing. Due to its immense popularity, the NBA action is not only the most-watched basketball games on tv but is up there as one of the most-watched leagues of any sport on tv today. Let’s take a look at how it all works, the teams and some noteworthy teams and players that you need to know before you tune in to watch NBA on tv yourself.
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The NBA began its long history as the Basketball Association of America (BBA), which, ironically, was founded by owners of major Ice Hockey arenas across North America. The first game hosted by the BAA took place in 1946 between Toronto Huskies and the New York Knickerbockers, which is widely regarded as also the first-ever NBA game. However, the NBA wasn't founded properly until the merger between the BAA and teams of another significant league, The National Basketball League (NBL) in 1949.
As the league developed, it was challenged by another major league, the American Basketball Association (ABA), with whom a bidding war for players ensued. However, due to successful attracting the majority of top players, they managed to become the dominant force. This was cemented in 1976 when teams of the ABA ended up merging entirely with the NBA. By 1979, the league was definitely on the up and the influx of top players, such as Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and eventually, Michael Jordan, helped fan interest reach fever pitch. With more funding, interest and quality of the game, the last 20 years has seen the league build successfully to a global powerhouse in the sporting world.
In total 30 team’s face-off against one another in the modern NBA. Nearly 3 times as many as there were originally. These teams never change as there is no relegation system in place. Rather, it is the lower-skilled players themselves who will be traded to lower Basketball leagues. In total, 19 of these current teams have won a championship, while 5 others have 2nd at least once each. The other 6 teams have never reached a Championship final.
The most successful team is the Boston Celtics with 17 Championships, although it has been over a decade since their last Championship win. They are followed by the LA Lakers with 16, the last coming in 2010. Golden State and the Chicago Bulls are 3rd most successful with 6 each, although Golden State has been most successful in recent years, taking home the title in 2015, 17 and 18. Whereas for the Bulls haven’t won for nearly 20 years. Followed by the Spurs, who have seen periodic success over the last 20 years, taking home 5 Championship.
The most recent Championship Winner, who took home the 2019 title, was Canadian outfit, Toronto Raptors. This was their first-ever title and their first-ever time in an NBA Championship final. They beat Golden State 4-2 and became the first non-American team to ever win the NBA title.
Playoffs and Championships
After the competition of the regular season, the playoffs for the biggest event in the NBA on tv Calendar, the Championships begin. The top 8 teams in the East and West conferences, based on wins and losses, are entered the play-offs, making for 16 teams in total. During each round of the playoffs, it is based on the total result of 7 games, with the team with the best record getting a higher amount of home advantage matches.
The 8 teams from each conference play one another first, with the highest-ranked teams playing the lowest-ranked teams. For example, 1st ranked will play 8th ranked, 2nd ranked will play 7th and so on. The four winners progress and play one another in the second, with the winners of these going onto the third round, aka Conference Finals.
The winners of each of these Conference Finals, so one from each conference, will then play one another in the Championship final. The winner of this will then be awarded the title.
The record for most points scored in a single game is Wilt Chamberlain, who scored 100 points for Philadelphia Warriors, now known as Golden State, back in 1962. However, the all-time leader for most points is held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with a whopping 38,387. Abdul-Jabbar also holds the record for most career wins. Modern great, Kobe Bryant, holds the record for most three points shots made in a game with 13.
Hall of Fame
The most successful and notorious players and coaches can be inducted into the Basketball Hall of fame. Generally, a handful are added each year based on career stats, awards and performance.