National Basketball Association

National Basketball Association

Overview
The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball
Basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

 league in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

. It consists of thirty franchised member clubs, of which twenty-nine are located in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and one in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. It is an active member of USA Basketball
USA Basketball
USA Basketball is a non-profit organization and the governing body for basketball in the United States. The organization represents the United States in FIBA and the men's and women's national basketball teams in the United States Olympic Committee...

 (USAB), which is recognized by the International Basketball Federation
International Basketball Federation
The International Basketball Federation, more commonly known as FIBA , from its French name Fédération Internationale de Basketball, is an association of national organizations which governs international competition in basketball...

 as the National Governing Body
Sport governing body
A sport governing body is a sports organization that has a regulatory or sanctioning function. Sport governing bodies come in various forms, and have a variety of regulatory functions. Examples of this can include disciplinary action for rule infractions and deciding on rule changes in the sport...

 (NGB) for basketball in the United States. The NBA is one of the four major North American professional sports leagues.

The league was founded in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 on June 6, 1946 as the Basketball Association of America
Basketball Association of America
The Basketball Association of America was a professional basketball league in North America, founded in 1946. The league merged with the National Basketball League in 1949, forming the National Basketball Association ...

 (BAA).
Discussion
Ask a question about 'National Basketball Association'
Start a new discussion about 'National Basketball Association'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Recent Discussions
Encyclopedia
The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball
Basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

 league in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

. It consists of thirty franchised member clubs, of which twenty-nine are located in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and one in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. It is an active member of USA Basketball
USA Basketball
USA Basketball is a non-profit organization and the governing body for basketball in the United States. The organization represents the United States in FIBA and the men's and women's national basketball teams in the United States Olympic Committee...

 (USAB), which is recognized by the International Basketball Federation
International Basketball Federation
The International Basketball Federation, more commonly known as FIBA , from its French name Fédération Internationale de Basketball, is an association of national organizations which governs international competition in basketball...

 as the National Governing Body
Sport governing body
A sport governing body is a sports organization that has a regulatory or sanctioning function. Sport governing bodies come in various forms, and have a variety of regulatory functions. Examples of this can include disciplinary action for rule infractions and deciding on rule changes in the sport...

 (NGB) for basketball in the United States. The NBA is one of the four major North American professional sports leagues.

The league was founded in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 on June 6, 1946 as the Basketball Association of America
Basketball Association of America
The Basketball Association of America was a professional basketball league in North America, founded in 1946. The league merged with the National Basketball League in 1949, forming the National Basketball Association ...

 (BAA). The league adopted the name National Basketball Association in 1949 after merging with the rival National Basketball League
National Basketball League (United States)
Founded in 1937, the National Basketball League, often abbreviated to NBL, was a professional men's basketball league in the United States. The league would later merge with the Basketball Association of America  to form the National Basketball Association  in 1949.- League history :The...

 (NBL). The league's several international as well as individual team offices are directed out of its head offices located in the Olympic Tower
Olympic Tower (New York)
The Olympic Tower is a 51-story building in Midtown Manhattan, in New York City on Fifth Avenue, between East 51st Street and East 52nd Street. The exact address is 641 Fifth Avenue. Built in 1975, it was constructed on a site that was occupied by a Best & Company Store that was built in 1947. It...

 at 645 Fifth Avenue in New York City. NBA Entertainment
NBA Entertainment
NBA Entertainment is the production arm of the National Basketball Association and produces numerous NBA-related films including team championship videos and blooper and entertainment reels. It was previously associated with CBS/Fox Video, but now distributes its films through Warner Bros....

 and NBA TV
NBA TV
NBA TV is a television specialty channel that is dedicated to showcasing the sport of basketball in the United States. The network is financially backed by the National Basketball Association , which also uses NBA TV as a way of advertising their out of market package NBA League Pass, and partner...

 studios are directed out of offices located in Secaucus
Secaucus, New Jersey
Secaucus is a town in Hudson County, New Jersey. As of the 2010 United States Census, the town population was 16,264. Located within the New Jersey Meadowlands, it is the most suburban of the county's municipalities, though large parts of the town are dedicated to light manufacturing, retail, and...

, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

.

Creation and merger


The Basketball Association of America was founded in 1946 by owners of the major ice hockey
Ice hockey
Ice hockey, often referred to as hockey, is a team sport played on ice, in which skaters use wooden or composite sticks to shoot a hard rubber puck into their opponent's net. The game is played between two teams of six players each. Five members of each team skate up and down the ice trying to take...

 arena
Arena
An arena is an enclosed area, often circular or oval-shaped, designed to showcase theater, musical performances, or sporting events. It is composed of a large open space surrounded on most or all sides by tiered seating for spectators. The key feature of an arena is that the event space is the...

s in the Northeastern
Northeastern United States
The Northeastern United States is a region of the United States as defined by the United States Census Bureau.-Composition:The region comprises nine states: the New England states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont; and the Mid-Atlantic states of New...

 and Midwestern United States
Midwestern United States
The Midwestern United States is one of the four U.S. geographic regions defined by the United States Census Bureau, providing an official definition of the American Midwest....

 and Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. On November 1, 1946, in Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, Canada, the Toronto Huskies
Toronto Huskies
The Toronto Huskies were a team in the Basketball Association of America during the 1946–47 season, based in Toronto, Ontario...

 hosted the New York Knickerbockers
New York Knicks
The New York Knickerbockers, prominently known as the Knicks, are a professional basketball team based in New York City. They are part of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association...

 at Maple Leaf Gardens
Maple Leaf Gardens
Maple Leaf Gardens is an indoor arena that was converted into a Loblawssupermarket and Ryerson University athletic centre in Toronto, on the northwest corner of Carlton Street and Church Street in Toronto's Garden District.One of the temples of hockey, it was home to the Toronto Maple Leafs of the...

, which the NBA now regards as the first game played in the league's history. Although there had been earlier attempts at professional basketball leagues, including the American Basketball League
American Basketball League (1925-1955)
The American Basketball League was an early professional basketball league. During six seasons from 1925-26 to 1930-31, the ABL was the first attempt to create a major professional basketball league in the United States...

 and the NBL, the BAA was the first league to attempt to play primarily in large arenas in major cities. During its early years, the quality of play in the BAA was not significantly better than in competing leagues or among leading independent clubs such as the Harlem Globetrotters
Harlem Globetrotters
The Harlem Globetrotters are an exhibition basketball team that combines athleticism, theater and comedy. The executive offices for the team are currently in downtown Phoenix, Arizona; the team is owned by Shamrock Holdings, which oversees the various investments of the Roy E. Disney family.Over...

. For instance, the 1948 ABL finalist Baltimore Bullets moved to the BAA and won that league's 1948 title, and the 1948 NBL champion Minneapolis Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles, California. They play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association...

 won the 1949 BAA title.

On August 3, 1949, the BAA agreed to merge with the NBL, creating the new National Basketball Association. The new league had seventeen franchises located in a mix of large and small cities, as well as large arenas and smaller gymnasiums and armories. In 1950, the NBA consolidated to eleven franchises, a process that continued until 1953–54, when the league reached its smallest size of eight franchises, all of which are still in the league (the Knicks
New York Knicks
The New York Knickerbockers, prominently known as the Knicks, are a professional basketball team based in New York City. They are part of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association...

, Celtics
Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are a National Basketball Association team based in Boston, Massachusetts. They play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. Founded in 1946, the team is currently owned by Boston Basketball Partners LLC. The Celtics play their home games at the TD Garden, which...

, Warriors
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors are an American professional basketball team based in Oakland, California. They are part of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association...

, Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles, California. They play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association...

, Royals/Kings
Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings are a professional basketball team based in Sacramento, California, United States. They are currently members of the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association...

, Pistons
Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Pistons are a franchise of the National Basketball Association based in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The team's home arena is The Palace of Auburn Hills. It was originally founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana as the Fort Wayne Pistons as a member of the National Basketball League in 1941, where...

, Hawks
Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks are an American professional basketball team based in Atlanta, Georgia. They are part of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association .-The first years:...

, and Nationals/76ers
Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers are a professional basketball team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association . Originally known as the Syracuse Nationals, they are one of the oldest franchises in the NBA...

). The process of contraction saw the league's smaller-city franchises move to larger cities. The Hawks
Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks are an American professional basketball team based in Atlanta, Georgia. They are part of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association .-The first years:...

 shifted from "Tri-Cities" (the area now known as the Quad Cities
Quad Cities
The Quad Cities is a group of five cities straddling the Mississippi River on the Iowa–Illinois boundary. These cities, Davenport and Bettendorf and Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline , are the center of the Quad Cities Metropolitan Area, which, as of 2010, had an estimated population of...

) to Milwaukee (in 1951) and then to St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

 (in 1955); the Royals
Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings are a professional basketball team based in Sacramento, California, United States. They are currently members of the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association...

 from Rochester
Rochester, New York
Rochester is a city in Monroe County, New York, south of Lake Ontario in the United States. Known as The World's Image Centre, it was also once known as The Flour City, and more recently as The Flower City...

 to Cincinnati (in 1957); and the Pistons
Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Pistons are a franchise of the National Basketball Association based in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The team's home arena is The Palace of Auburn Hills. It was originally founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana as the Fort Wayne Pistons as a member of the National Basketball League in 1941, where...

 from Fort Wayne
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Fort Wayne is a city in the US state of Indiana and the county seat of Allen County. The population was 253,691 at the 2010 Census making it the 74th largest city in the United States and the second largest in Indiana...

 to Detroit (in 1957).

Although Japanese-American Wataru Misaka
Wataru Misaka
is a retired American basketball player. He was the first player of Asian descent and the first non-Caucasian person to play in the National Basketball Association .-Biography:...

 technically broke the NBA color barrier in the 1947–48 season when he played for the New York Knicks
New York Knicks
The New York Knickerbockers, prominently known as the Knicks, are a professional basketball team based in New York City. They are part of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association...

, 1950 is recognized as the year the NBA integrated. This year witnessed the addition of African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 players by several teams, including Chuck Cooper with the Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are a National Basketball Association team based in Boston, Massachusetts. They play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. Founded in 1946, the team is currently owned by Boston Basketball Partners LLC. The Celtics play their home games at the TD Garden, which...

, Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton with the New York Knicks
New York Knicks
The New York Knickerbockers, prominently known as the Knicks, are a professional basketball team based in New York City. They are part of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association...

, and Earl Lloyd
Earl Lloyd
Earl Francis Lloyd is a retired American basketball player. He was the first African-American to play in the National Basketball Association, in the 1950-51 NBA season...

 with the Washington Capitols
Washington Capitols
The Washington Capitols were a charter Basketball Association of America team based in Washington, D.C. The team was coached from 1946 to 1949 by NBA Hall of Famer Red Auerbach....

. During this period, the Minneapolis Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles, California. They play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association...

, led by center George Mikan
George Mikan
George Lawrence Mikan, Jr. , nicknamed Mr. Basketball, was an American professional basketball player for the Chicago American Gears of the National Basketball League and the Minneapolis Lakers of the NBL, the Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball Association...

, won five NBA Championships
NBA Finals
The NBA Finals is the championship series of the National Basketball Association . The series was named the NBA World Championship Series until 1986....

 and established themselves as the league's first dynasty
Dynasty (sports)
A sports dynasty is a team that dominates their sport or league for multiple seasons or years. Such dominance is often only realized in retrospect...

. To encourage shooting and discourage stalling, the league introduced the 24-second shot clock
Shot clock
A shot clock is used in some sports to quicken the pace of the game. It is normally associated with basketball, but has also found use in sports such as snooker, professional lacrosse, water polo, and korfball....

 in 1954. If a team does not attempt to score a field goal (or the ball fails to make contact with the rim) within 24 seconds of obtaining the ball, play is stopped and the ball given to its opponent.

Celtics dominance, league expansion, and competition


In 1957, rookie center Bill Russell
Bill Russell
William Felton "Bill" Russell is a retired American professional basketball player who played center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association...

 joined the Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are a National Basketball Association team based in Boston, Massachusetts. They play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. Founded in 1946, the team is currently owned by Boston Basketball Partners LLC. The Celtics play their home games at the TD Garden, which...

, who already featured guard Bob Cousy
Bob Cousy
Robert Joseph "Bob" Cousy is a retired American professional basketball player. The 6'1" , 175-pound Cousy played point guard with the National Basketball Association's Boston Celtics from 1951 to 1963 and briefly with the Cincinnati Royals in the 1969–70 season...

 and coach Red Auerbach
Red Auerbach
Arnold Jacob "Red" Auerbach was an American basketball coach of the Washington Capitols, the Tri-Cities Blackhawks and the Boston Celtics. After he retired from coaching, he served as president and front office executive of the Celtics until his death...

, and went on to lead the club to eleven NBA titles in thirteen seasons. Center Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt Chamberlain
Wilton Norman "Wilt" Chamberlain was an American professional NBA basketball player for the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers; he also played for the Harlem Globetrotters prior to playing in the NBA...

 entered the league with the Warriors in 1959 and became a dominant individual star of the 1960s, setting new single game records in scoring (100) and rebounding (55). Russell's rivalry with Chamberlain became one of the great individual rivalries in the history of American team sports.
The 1960s were dominated by the Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are a National Basketball Association team based in Boston, Massachusetts. They play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. Founded in 1946, the team is currently owned by Boston Basketball Partners LLC. The Celtics play their home games at the TD Garden, which...

. Led by Bill Russell, Bob Cousy and coach Red Auerbach, the Celtics won eight consecutive championships in the NBA from the 1958–1959 season to the 1965–1966 season. The streak is the longest in NBA history. They did not win the title in 1966–1967, but regained it in the 1967–1968 season and repeated in 1968–1969. The domination totaled nine of the 10 championship banners of the 1960s.

Through this period, the NBA continued to strengthen with the shift of the Minneapolis Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles, California. They play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association...

 to Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles , with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621, is the most populous city in California, USA and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. It has an area of , and is located in Southern California...

, the Philadelphia Warriors
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors are an American professional basketball team based in Oakland, California. They are part of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association...

 to San Francisco
San Francisco, California
San Francisco , officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region of 7.15 million people which includes San Jose and Oakland...

, the Syracuse Nationals
Syracuse Nationals
The Syracuse Nationals were an American professional basketball team that existed from 1946 to 1963 as part of the National Basketball League and National Basketball Association . They are currently known as the Philadelphia 76ers, and are the NBA's oldest continued franchise.The team began in...

 to Philadelphia to become the 76ers
Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers are a professional basketball team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association . Originally known as the Syracuse Nationals, they are one of the oldest franchises in the NBA...

, and the St. Louis Hawks
Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks are an American professional basketball team based in Atlanta, Georgia. They are part of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association .-The first years:...

 moving to Atlanta
Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. According to the 2010 census, Atlanta's population is 420,003. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, which is home to 5,268,860 people and is the ninth largest metropolitan area in...

, as well as the addition of its first expansion franchises. The Chicago Packers (now Washington Wizards
Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards are a professional basketball team based in Washington, D.C., previously known as Washington Bullets. They play in the National Basketball Association .-Early years:...

) became the ninth NBA team in 1961. From 1966 to 1968, the league expanded from nine teams to fourteen, introducing the Chicago Bulls
Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls are an American professional basketball team based in Chicago, Illinois, playing in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association . The team was founded in 1966. They play their home games at the United Center...

, Seattle SuperSonics
Seattle SuperSonics
The Seattle SuperSonics were an American professional basketball team based in Seattle, Washington that played in the Pacific and Northwest Divisions of the National Basketball Association from 1967 until 2008. Following the 2007–08 season, the team relocated to Oklahoma City, and now plays as...

 (now Oklahoma City Thunder
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder are a professional basketball franchise based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. They play in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association ; their home court is at Chesapeake Energy Arena....

), San Diego Rockets (who relocated to Houston four years later), Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks are a professional basketball team based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States. They are part of the Central Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association . The team was founded in 1968 as an expansion team, and currently plays at the Bradley Center....

, and Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns are a professional basketball team based in Phoenix, Arizona. They are members of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association and the only team in their division not to be based in California. Their home arena since 1992 has been the US...

.

In 1967, the league faced a new external threat with the formation of the American Basketball Association
American Basketball Association
The American Basketball Association was a professional basketball league founded in 1967. The ABA ceased to exist with the ABA–NBA merger in 1976.-League history:...

 (ABA). The leagues engaged in a bidding war. The NBA landed the most important college star of the era, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a retired American professional basketball player. He is the NBA's all-time leading scorer, with 38,387 points. During his career with the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers from 1969 to 1989, Abdul-Jabbar won six NBA championships and a record six regular season...

 (then known as Lew Alcindor). However, the NBA's leading scorer, Rick Barry
Rick Barry
Richard Francis Dennis Barry III , better known as Rick Barry, is a retired American professional basketball player. He is considered by many veteran basketball observers to be one of the greatest pure small forwards of all time as a result of his very precise outside shot, uncanny court vision,...

, jumped to the ABA, as did four veteran referees—Norm Drucker
Norm Drucker
Norm Drucker was a major influence in professional basketball officiating for over thirty-five years.He refereed in the National Basketball Association from 1953 to 1969...

, Earl Strom
Earl Strom
Earl "Yogi" Strom was a professional basketball referee for 29 years in the National Basketball Association and for three years in the American Basketball Association . Strom is credited as the greatest referee in the history of the NBA and was known for his flamboyant style and ability to...

, John Vanak, and Joe Gushue.

In 1969, Alan Siegel
Alan Siegel
Alan Siegel is founder and Chairman of Siegel+Gale.-Early life:Alan Siegel was born August 26, 1938 to Eugene and Ruth Siegel in New York. Siegel attended Long Beach High where he played basketball under Robert Gersten. His dream was always to go to college on a basketball scholarship...

, who oversaw the design of Jerry Dior's Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 logo
Major League Baseball logo
The Major League Baseball logo was designed by Jerry Dior in 1968 and was included on all on-field uniforms of Major League Baseball employees beginning in the 1969 season.-Creation:According to Dior, the logo was created in a single afternoon...

 a year prior, created the modern NBA logo inspired by the MLB's. It incorporates the silhouette of the legendary Jerry West
Jerry West
Jerry Alan West is a retired American basketball player who played his entire professional career for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association . His nicknames include "Mr...

 based on a photo by Wen Roberts, although NBA officials have denied a particular player as being its influence because, according to Siegel, "They want to institutionalize it rather than individualize it. It's become such a ubiquitous, classic symbol and focal point of their identity and their licensing program that they don't necessarily want to identify it with one player." The iconic logo debuted in 1971 and would remain a fixture of the NBA brand.

The ABA succeeded in signing a number of major stars in the '70s, including Julius Erving
Julius Erving
Julius Winfield Erving II , commonly known by the nickname Dr. J, is a retired American basketball player who helped launch a modern style of play that emphasizes leaping and play above the rim....

 of the Virginia Squires
Virginia Squires
The Virginia Squires were a basketball franchise in the former American Basketball Association from 1970 until just before the ABA-NBA merger in 1976.-In Oakland :...

, in part because it allowed teams to sign college undergraduates. The NBA expanded rapidly during this period, one purpose being to tie up the most viable cities. From 1966 to 1974, the NBA grew from nine franchises to 18. In 1970, the Portland Trail Blazers
Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers, commonly known as the Blazers, are an American professional basketball team based in Portland, Oregon. They play in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association . The Trail Blazers originally played their home games in the...

, Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers are a professional basketball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They began playing in the National Basketball Association in 1970 as an expansion team...

, and Buffalo Braves (now the Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers are a professional basketball team based in Los Angeles, California, United States. They play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association...

) all made their debuts expanding the league to 17. The New Orleans Jazz (now in Utah
Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz is a professional basketball team based in Salt Lake City, Utah. They are currently a part of the Northwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association...

) came aboard in 1974 bringing the total to 18. Following the 1976 season, the leagues reached a settlement
ABA-NBA merger
The ABA–NBA merger was the merger of the American Basketball Association with the National Basketball Association, which after multiple attempts over several years finally occurred in 1976.- Origins of ABA-NBA competition :...

 that provided for the addition of four ABA franchises to the NBA, raising the number of franchises in the league at that time to 22. The franchises added were the San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs are an American professional basketball team based in San Antonio, Texas. They are part of the Southwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association ....

, Denver Nuggets
Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets are a professional basketball team based in Denver, Colorado. They play in the National Basketball Association . They were founded as the Denver Rockets in 1967 as a charter franchise of the American Basketball Association, and became one of that league's more successful teams...

, Indiana Pacers
Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers are a professional basketball team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. They are members of the Central Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association...

, and New York Nets (now the New Jersey Nets, to become the Brooklyn Nets in 2012). Some of the biggest stars of this era were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a retired American professional basketball player. He is the NBA's all-time leading scorer, with 38,387 points. During his career with the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers from 1969 to 1989, Abdul-Jabbar won six NBA championships and a record six regular season...

, Rick Barry
Rick Barry
Richard Francis Dennis Barry III , better known as Rick Barry, is a retired American professional basketball player. He is considered by many veteran basketball observers to be one of the greatest pure small forwards of all time as a result of his very precise outside shot, uncanny court vision,...

, Dave Cowens
Dave Cowens
David William Cowens is a retired American professional basketball player and NBA head coach. At 6'9", he played the center and occasionally the power forward position. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991...

, Julius Erving
Julius Erving
Julius Winfield Erving II , commonly known by the nickname Dr. J, is a retired American basketball player who helped launch a modern style of play that emphasizes leaping and play above the rim....

, Elvin Hayes
Elvin Hayes
Elvin Ernest Hayes is a retired American basketball player and radio analyst for Houston Cougars men's basketball, where he played college basketball...

, Walt Frazier
Walt Frazier
Walter "Clyde" Frazier is a retired American basketball player in the National Basketball Association . He was blessed with a unique combination of court vision, quickness, and size for a guard...

, Moses Malone
Moses Malone
Moses Eugene Malone is a retired American Hall of Fame basketball player who starred in both the American Basketball Association and the National Basketball Association...

, Artis Gilmore
Artis Gilmore
Artis Gilmore is a retired American Hall of Fame basketball player who played in the American Basketball Association and National Basketball Association...

, George Gervin
George Gervin
George "The Iceman" Gervin is a retired American professional basketball player who played in both the American Basketball Association and National Basketball Association for the Virginia Squires, San Antonio Spurs, and Chicago Bulls...

, Dan Issel
Dan Issel
Daniel Paul Issel is a retired American Hall of Fame professional basketball player and coach.-Collegiate playing career:...

, and Pete Maravich
Pete Maravich
Peter "Pistol Pete" Press Maravich was an American professional basketball player. Born and raised in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, Maravich starred in college at Louisiana State University and played for three NBA teams until injuries induced him to retire in 1980...

. The end of the decade, however, saw declining TV ratings, low attendance and drug-related player issues -- both perceived and real -- that threatened to derail the NBA.

Surging popularity


The league added the ABA's innovative three-point field goal
Three-point field goal
A three-point field goal is a field goal in a basketball game, made from beyond the three-point line, a designated arc radiating from the basket...

 beginning in 1979 to open up the game. That same year, rookies Larry Bird
Larry Bird
Larry Joe Bird is a former American NBA basketball player and coach. Drafted into the NBA sixth overall by the Boston Celtics in 1978, Bird started at small forward and power forward for thirteen seasons, spearheading one of the NBA's most formidable frontcourts that included center Robert Parish...

 and Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson
Earvin "Magic" Johnson Jr. is a retired American professional basketball player who played point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association . After winning championships in high school and college, Johnson was selected first overall in the 1979 NBA Draft by the Lakers...

 joined the Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are a National Basketball Association team based in Boston, Massachusetts. They play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. Founded in 1946, the team is currently owned by Boston Basketball Partners LLC. The Celtics play their home games at the TD Garden, which...

 and Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles, California. They play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association...

 respectively, initiating a period of significant growth in fan interest in the NBA throughout the country and the world. In 1984 they played against each other for the first time in the NBA Finals. Johnson went on to lead the Lakers to five titles, and Bird went on to lead the Celtics to three. Also in the early '80s, the NBA added one more expansion franchise, the Dallas Mavericks
Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks are a professional basketball team based in Dallas, Texas. They are members of the Southwest Division of the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association , and the reigning NBA champions, having defeated the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals.According to a 2011...

, bringing the total to 23 teams. Later on, Larry Bird won the first three three-point shooting contests. Current league commissioner David Stern
David Stern
David Joel Stern is the commissioner of the National Basketball Association. He started with the Association in 1966 as an outside counsel, joined the NBA in 1978 as General Counsel, and became the league's Executive Vice President in 1980. He became Commissioner in 1984 succeeding Larry O'Brien...

 took office on April 1, 1984, and oversaw the expansion and growth of the NBA to a global commodity.

Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan
Michael Jeffrey Jordan is a former American professional basketball player, active entrepreneur, and majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats...

 entered the league in 1984 with the Chicago Bulls
Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls are an American professional basketball team based in Chicago, Illinois, playing in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association . The team was founded in 1966. They play their home games at the United Center...

, providing an even more popular star to support growing interest in the league. This resulted in more cities demanding teams of their own. In 1988 and 1989, four cities got their wishes as the Charlotte Hornets (now the New Orleans Hornets), Miami Heat
Miami Heat
The Miami Heat is a professional basketball team based in Miami, Florida, United States. The team is a member of the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association . They play their home games at American Airlines Arena in Downtown Miami...

, Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic is a professional basketball team based in Orlando, Florida. They play in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association and are currently coached by Stan Van Gundy...

, and Minnesota Timberwolves
Minnesota Timberwolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves are an American professional basketball team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They play in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association . Founded in 1989, the team is currently owned by Glen Taylor...

 made their NBA debuts, bringing the total to 27 teams. In the first year of the 1990s, the Detroit Pistons
Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Pistons are a franchise of the National Basketball Association based in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The team's home arena is The Palace of Auburn Hills. It was originally founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana as the Fort Wayne Pistons as a member of the National Basketball League in 1941, where...

 would win the second of their back-to-back "Bad Boys" titles, led by Chuck Daly as coach and Isiah Thomas as floor general. Jordan and Scottie Pippen
Scottie Pippen
Scottie Maurice Pippen is a retired American professional basketball player who played in the National Basketball Association . He is most remembered for his time with the Chicago Bulls, with whom he was instrumental in six NBA Championships and their record 1995–96 season of 72 wins...

 would lead the Bulls to two three-peats in eight years during the 1991-98 seasons. Hakeem Olajuwon
Hakeem Olajuwon
Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon is a retired Nigerian-American professional basketball player. From 1984 to 2002, he played the center position in the National Basketball Association for the Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors. He led the Rockets to back-to-back NBA championships in 1994 and 1995. In 2008,...

 won back-to-back titles with the Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets are an American professional basketball team based in Houston, Texas. The team plays in the Southwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association . The team was established in 1967, and played in San Diego, California for four years, before being...

 in '94 and '95.

The 1992 Olympic
1992 Summer Olympics
The 1992 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event celebrated in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, in 1992. The International Olympic Committee voted in 1986 to separate the Summer and Winter Games, which had been held in the same...

 basketball Dream Team
1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team
The 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team, nicknamed the "Dream Team", was the first American Olympic team to feature active NBA players. Often considered one of the strongest teams assembled in any sport, it defeated its opponents by an average of almost 44 points en route to the gold ...

, the first to use current NBA stars, featured Michael Jordan as the anchor, along with Bird, Magic, David Robinson
David Robinson (basketball)
David Maurice Robinson is a retired American NBA basketball player, who played center for the San Antonio Spurs for his entire NBA career. Based on his prior service as an officer in the United States Navy, Robinson earned the nickname "The Admiral". He and teammate power forward Tim Duncan were...

, Patrick Ewing
Patrick Ewing
Patrick Aloysius Ewing Sr. is a Jamaican-American retired Hall of Fame basketball player and current assistant coach for the National Basketball Association's Orlando Magic. He played most of his career with the NBA's New York Knicks as their starting center and played briefly with the Seattle...

, Scottie Pippen, Clyde Drexler
Clyde Drexler
Clyde Austin "Clyde The Glide" Drexler is a former National Basketball Association shooting guard and small forward. A ten-time All-Star and member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, the NBA named him one of basketball's fifty greatest players as of 1996. Drexler won an Olympic gold medal in 1992 and...

, Karl Malone
Karl Malone
Karl Anthony Malone , nicknamed "The Mailman", is a retired American professional basketball power forward who spent the majority of his career with the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association . Malone spent his first 18 seasons with the Jazz and formed a formidable duo with his teammate...

, John Stockton
John Stockton
John Houston Stockton is a retired American professional basketball player who spent his entire career as a point guard for the Utah Jazz of the NBA from 1984 to 2003. Stockton is regarded as one of the best point guards of all time, holding the NBA records for most career assists and steals by...

, Chris Mullin
Chris Mullin (basketball)
Christopher Paul Mullin is a retired American basketball player and former general manager of the NBA's Golden State Warriors. He has also been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame....

, Charles Barkley
Charles Barkley
Charles Wade Barkley is a former American professional basketball player. Nicknamed "Sir Charles" and "The Round Mound of Rebound", Barkley established himself as one of the National Basketball Association's most dominating power forwards...

, and Christian Laettner
Christian Laettner
Christian Donald Laettner is a retired American professional basketball player and entrepreneur. He had a distinguished college and national career, and played in the National Basketball Association for thirteen seasons, from 1992–2005. He is presently a minority holder for the Major League...

.

In 1995, the NBA expanded to Canada with the addition of the Vancouver Grizzlies
Memphis Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies are a professional basketball team based in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. The team is part of the Southwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association . Along with the Toronto Raptors, the Grizzlies were established in 1995 as part of the NBA's...

 and the Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors are a professional basketball team based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They are part of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association . The team was established in 1995, along with the Vancouver Grizzlies, as part of the NBA's re-expansion...

. In 2001, the Vancouver Grizzlies relocated to Memphis
Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

, which left the Raptors as the only Canadian team in the NBA. In 1996, the NBA created a women's league, the Women's National Basketball Association
Women's National Basketball Association
The Women's National Basketball Association is a women's professional basketball league in the United States. It currently is composed of twelve teams. The league was founded on April 24, 1996 as the women's counterpart to the National Basketball Association...

 (WNBA). In 1998, the NBA owners began a lockout
1998–99 NBA lockout
The 1998–99 NBA lockout was the third lockout in the history of the National Basketball Association . It lasted from July 1, 1998 to January 20, 1999, and forced the 1998–99 season to be shortened to 50 games per team and that season's All-Star Game to be canceled...

 which lasted 191 days and was settled on January 18, 1999. As a result of this lockout the 1998–99 NBA season was reduced from 82 to 50 games (61% of a normal season), and the All-Star Game was cancelled. The San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs are an American professional basketball team based in San Antonio, Texas. They are part of the Southwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association ....

 won their first championship, and first by a former ABA team, by beating the New York Knicks
New York Knicks
The New York Knickerbockers, prominently known as the Knicks, are a professional basketball team based in New York City. They are part of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association...

, who were the first, and to this date, the only, eighth seed to ever make the NBA Finals.

Modern era


Since the break-up of the Chicago Bulls
Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls are an American professional basketball team based in Chicago, Illinois, playing in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association . The team was founded in 1966. They play their home games at the United Center...

 in the summer of 1998, the Western Conference
Western Conference (NBA)
Below is a list of current Western Conference NBA team rosters.-Western Conference:There are a total of 15 teams in the Western Conference. The current leading team of the Western conference are the Dallas Mavericks....

 has dominated, with the Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles, California. They play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association...

 and San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs are an American professional basketball team based in San Antonio, Texas. They are part of the Southwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association ....

 combining to win the title in nine of thirteen years. One or the other has won the Western Conference title every year except in 2006 and 2011 (when the Dallas Mavericks
Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks are a professional basketball team based in Dallas, Texas. They are members of the Southwest Division of the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association , and the reigning NBA champions, having defeated the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals.According to a 2011...

 won the conference title). Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan
Timothy Theodore "Tim" Duncan is an American professional basketball player for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association . The 6-foot 11-inch , 255-pound power forward/center is a four-time NBA champion, two-time NBA MVP, three-time NBA Finals MVP, and NBA Rookie of the Year...

 and David Robinson
David Robinson (basketball)
David Maurice Robinson is a retired American NBA basketball player, who played center for the San Antonio Spurs for his entire NBA career. Based on his prior service as an officer in the United States Navy, Robinson earned the nickname "The Admiral". He and teammate power forward Tim Duncan were...

 won the 1999 championship with the Spurs, and Shaquille O'Neal
Shaquille O'Neal
Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal , nicknamed "Shaq" , is a former American professional basketball player. Standing tall and weighing , he was one of the heaviest players ever to play in the NBA...

 and Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bean Bryant is an American professional basketball player who plays shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association . Bryant enjoyed a successful high school basketball career at Lower Merion High School, where he was recognized as the top high school...

 started the 2000s with three consecutive championships for the Lakers. The Spurs reclaimed the title in 2003 against the Nets
New Jersey Nets
The New Jersey Nets are a professional basketball team based in Newark, New Jersey. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association...

. In 2004, the Lakers returned to the Finals, only to fall in five games to the Detroit Pistons
Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Pistons are a franchise of the National Basketball Association based in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The team's home arena is The Palace of Auburn Hills. It was originally founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana as the Fort Wayne Pistons as a member of the National Basketball League in 1941, where...

. The following offseason, the Charlotte Bobcats
Charlotte Bobcats
The Charlotte Bobcats is a professional basketball team based in Charlotte, North Carolina. They play in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association. The Bobcats were established in 2004 as an expansion team, two seasons after Charlotte's previous NBA...

 were established as the league's 30th team; due to Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans Hornets would play the first of two seasons in Oklahoma City, which eventually paved the way for the Seattle SuperSonics
Seattle SuperSonics
The Seattle SuperSonics were an American professional basketball team based in Seattle, Washington that played in the Pacific and Northwest Divisions of the National Basketball Association from 1967 until 2008. Following the 2007–08 season, the team relocated to Oklahoma City, and now plays as...

 to relocate to Oklahoma City for the start of the 2008-09 season.

After the Spurs took home the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy
Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy
The Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy is a trophy awarded to the National Basketball Association team that wins the NBA Finals at the conclusion of every NBA season....

 in 2005, the 2006 Finals featured two franchises making their inaugural Finals appearances. The Miami Heat
Miami Heat
The Miami Heat is a professional basketball team based in Miami, Florida, United States. The team is a member of the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association . They play their home games at American Airlines Arena in Downtown Miami...

 led by their star shooting guard, Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Tyrone Wade, Jr. nicknamed Flash or D-Wade, is an American professional basketball player for the Miami Heat. Awarded 2006 Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated, Wade has established himself as one of the most well-known and popular players in the league...

, and Shaquille O'Neal, who had been traded from the Lakers during the 2004 summer, won the series over the Dallas Mavericks
Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks are a professional basketball team based in Dallas, Texas. They are members of the Southwest Division of the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association , and the reigning NBA champions, having defeated the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals.According to a 2011...

 in six games after losing the first two games. The Lakers/Spurs dominance continued in 2007 with a four-game sweep by the Spurs over the Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers are a professional basketball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They began playing in the National Basketball Association in 1970 as an expansion team...

, who were led by LeBron James
LeBron James
LeBron Raymone James is an American professional basketball player for the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association . Nicknamed "King James", he was a three-time "Mr. Basketball" of Ohio in high school, and was highly promoted in the national media as a future NBA superstar while a...

. The 2008 Finals saw a rematch of the league's highest profile rivalry, the Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are a National Basketball Association team based in Boston, Massachusetts. They play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. Founded in 1946, the team is currently owned by Boston Basketball Partners LLC. The Celtics play their home games at the TD Garden, which...

 and Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles, California. They play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association...

, with the Celtics prevailing, for their league leading 17th championship, thanks to their new big three of Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce
Paul Anthony Pierce , nicknamed The Truth, is an American professional basketball player for the Boston Celtics of the NBA. He earned First Team All-America honors in his junior year at Kansas, and has been a starter every season since being selected by the Celtics with the 10th overall pick in the...

, Ray Allen
Ray Allen
Walter Ray Allen is an American professional basketball player who is currently playing for the Boston Celtics in the National Basketball Association. He has played professionally for the Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics, and the Boston Celtics; and collegiately for the University of...

, and Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett
Kevin Maurice Garnett is an American professional basketball player who currently plays power forward for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association . After a high school basketball career at Farragut Career Academy which included winning a national player of the year award, he...

.

The 2008 Olympic
2008 Summer Olympics
The 2008 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, was a major international multi-sport event that took place in Beijing, China, from August 8 to August 24, 2008. A total of 11,028 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees competed in 28 sports and 302 events...

 basketball Redeem Team featured many of the Modern Era stars including: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard
Dwight David Howard is an American basketball player for the Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association . Howard, who usually plays center but can also play power forward, had an outstanding high school career at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy...

, Jason Kidd
Jason Kidd
Jason Frederick Kidd is an American professional basketball point guard who plays for the Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association. Raised in Oakland, California, Kidd played college basketball at the University of California, Berkeley and was drafted second overall by the Dallas...

, Deron Williams
Deron Williams
Deron Michael Williams , nicknamed D-Will, is an American basketball player currently with the New Jersey Nets of the National Basketball Association . Williams has also played for the Utah Jazz of the NBA and Beşiktaş of the Turkish Basketball League...

, Chris Bosh
Chris Bosh
Christopher Wesson Bosh is an American professional basketball player who plays power forward for the Miami Heat in the National Basketball Association ....

, Chris Paul
Chris Paul
Christopher Emmanuel Paul is an American professional basketball point guard for the New Orleans Hornets.Paul was born and raised in North Carolina. Despite only playing two varsity basketball seasons in high school, he was a McDonald's All-American and accepted a scholarship with nearby Wake...

, and Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Kiyan Anthony , nicknamed "Melo", is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the New York Knicks in the National Basketball Association...

.

In 2009, the Lakers with Kobe Bryant returned to the Finals, this time defeating the Dwight Howard-led Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic is a professional basketball team based in Orlando, Florida. They play in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association and are currently coached by Stan Van Gundy...

. Kobe Bryant won his first Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award award in his 13th season after leading the Lakers to their first NBA championship since the departure of Shaquille O'Neal.

The 2010 NBA All-Star Game
2010 NBA All-Star Game
The 2010 NBA All-Star Game was an exhibition basketball game between players selected from the National Basketball Association 's Western Conference and the Eastern Conference that was played on February 14, 2010 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, United States. This game was the 59th edition...

 was held at Cowboys Stadium in front of the largest crowd ever, 108,713. At the end of that season, the Celtics and the Lakers renewed their rivalry from 2008
2008 NBA Finals
The 2008 NBA Finals was the championship series of the 2007–08 NBA season, and the conclusion of the season's playoffs. The Boston Celtics, top-seeded champions of the Eastern Conference, defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, top-seeded champions of the Western Conference, four games to two in a...

 when they met again in the NBA Finals for a record 12th time. The Lakers won the title in the 7th game, 83–79. Before the start of the 2010-11 season the NBA had an exciting summer with one of the most anticipated free agent classes of all time. Two of which signed, and one resigned, with the Miami Heat, leading to a season that was heavily centered on their eventual success or failure at taking home the championship. The Miami Heat, led by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, did in fact make the Finals against the Dallas Mavericks, in a rematch for the franchises of the 2006 Finals. The Mavericks (who were lead by Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk Werner Nowitzki is a German professional basketball player who plays for the Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association...

, the eventual Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award winner) took the series in six games. This was the Mavericks' first title. Other veterans like Shawn Marion
Shawn Marion
Shawn Dwayne Marion is an American professional basketball player currently with the Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association. Born in Waukegan, Illinois, Marion attended high school in Clarksville, Tennessee. Before transferring to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Marion...

, Jason Kidd, and Jason Terry
Jason Terry
Jason Eugene Terry is an American professional basketball player playing with the NBA's Dallas Mavericks. He plays shooting guard, although he also can play point guard. His nickname, "JET," derives from his initials...

 also won their first titles with Nowitzki.

On July 1, at 12:01 a.m., the NBA announced another lockout
2011 NBA lockout
The 2011 NBA lockout is the fourth lockout in the history of the National Basketball Association . The owners began the work stoppage at 12:01 am EDT on July 1, 2011. The main issues dividing the owners and the players are revenue sharing and the structure of the salary cap...

. On October 10, 2011, the first two weeks of the 2011-12 NBA season were canceled.

International influence


Following pioneers like Dražen Petrović
Dražen Petrovic
Dražen Petrović was a Yugoslav and Croatian professional basketball player. A shooting guard, he initially achieved success playing professional basketball in Europe in the 1980s before joining the American NBA in 1989...

 (Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

) who joined the NBA in the late 1980s, an increasing number of international players have moved directly from playing elsewhere in the world to starring in the NBA. Below is a short list of notable foreign players, either currently or formerly active in the league:
  • Toni Kukoč
    Toni Kukoc
    Toni Kukoč is a retired Croatian professional basketball player. He was renowned for his versatility and passing ability; although his natural position was small forward, he played all five positions on the court with prowess and demonstrated court vision and an outside shooting touch that were...

    , Croatia
    Croatia
    Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

     – 3-time NBA Champion with Chicago Bulls (1996, 1997, 1998), named in 2008 as one of the 50 Greatest Euroleague Contributors
    50 Greatest Euroleague Contributors
    The 50 Greatest Contributors in Euroleague History were chosen on February 3, 2008, in Madrid, Spain. The occasion was the fiftieth anniversary since the founding of the FIBA European Champions Cup, officially recognized as the predecessor to today's Euroleague.The list was made up of the...

  • Vlade Divac
    Vlade Divac
    Vlade Divac is a retired Yugoslav and Serbian professional basketball player who spent most of his career in the NBA. At , he played center and was known for his passing skills...

    , Serbia
    Serbia
    Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

     – 2-time Olympic silver medalist, 2001 NBA All-Star, 2-time World Champion, 3-time European Champion, 50 Greatest Euroleague Contributors
  • Arvydas Sabonis
    Arvydas Sabonis
    Arvydas Romas Sabonis is a retired Lithuanian professional basketball player and a businessman. He was an eight-time European Player of the Year, winning the Euroscar Award six times, and the Mr...

    , Lithuania
    Lithuania
    Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

     – 2011 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1995, 1999 European Player of the Year, 1985, 1997 Mr. Europa Player of the Year, Olympic gold medalist in 1988
    Basketball at the 1988 Summer Olympics
    Basketball at the 1988 Summer Olympics took place at the Jamsil Gymnasium in Seoul, South Korea. The United States won the gold medal in the women's competition, thus repeating their performance from the 1984 tournament. In the men's tournament, the Soviet Union took home their second gold medal in...

     with the Soviet Union
    Soviet Union national basketball team
    The Soviet national basketball team was the basketball side that represented the Soviet Union in international competitions. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the successor countries all set up their own national teams...

     and bronze medalist in 1992
    Basketball at the 1992 Summer Olympics
    The Basketball games of the 1992 Summer Olympics were played at the Pavelló Olímpic de Badalona. 12 men's teams and 8 women's teams participated in the tournament....

     and 1996
    Basketball at the 1996 Summer Olympics
    Basketball contests at the 1996 Olympic Games were held from July 20, 1996 to August 4, 1996. Games took place at the Morehouse College Gymnasium and the Georgia Dome. For the second straight Olympic games, the American men's team composed almost entirely of NBA players won the gold medal...

     with Lithuania
    Lithuania national basketball team
    The Lithuanian national basketball team is the representative for Lithuania in international men's basketball. Lithuania won bronze medals in three out of five Olympic tournaments it participated in....

    , 1996 NBA All-Rookie First Team, 50 Greatest Euroleague Contributors
  • Dirk Nowitzki
    Dirk Nowitzki
    Dirk Werner Nowitzki is a German professional basketball player who plays for the Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association...

    , Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

     – NBA Champion with Dallas Mavericks (2011), MVP of the 2002 World Championships
    2002 FIBA World Championship
    The 2002 FIBA World Championship was an international basketball tournament held by the International Basketball Federation in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA from August 29 to September 8, 2002.-Venues:-Squads:...

     and Eurobasket 2005
    Eurobasket 2005
    The EuroBasket 2005 was held in Serbia and Montenegro between 16 September and 25 September 2005. Greece won the gold medal by defeating Germany, while France won the bronze medal over Spain...

    , member of the all-tournament team in the 2002 FIBA World Championship
    2002 FIBA World Championship
    The 2002 FIBA World Championship was an international basketball tournament held by the International Basketball Federation in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA from August 29 to September 8, 2002.-Venues:-Squads:...

    , 2002–2006 Euroscar winner, 2005 Mr. Europa and FIBA Europe Player of the Year, 2007
    2006-07 NBA season
    The 2006–07 NBA season was the 61st season of the National Basketball Association. The regular season began on October 31, 2006 and ran through April 18, 2007. The league fielded 30 teams, each playing an 82 game regular season schedule. The top eight seeds from each conference reached the NBA...

     NBA MVP, 2011 Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award, 2006 NBA Three-Point Shootout champion and 10-time NBA All-Star (entered the NBA in 1998)
  • Hedo Türkoğlu, Turkey
    Turkey
    Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

     – 2008 Most Improved Player Award
    NBA Most Improved Player Award
    The National Basketball Association's Most Improved Player Award is an annual National Basketball Association award given since the 1985–86 NBA season, to the most improved player of the regular season. The winner is selected by a panel of sportswriters throughout the United States and Canada,...

     winner, member of the all-tournament team in the 2010 FIBA World Championship
    2010 FIBA World Championship
    The 2010 FIBA World Championship, hosted by Turkey, was the international basketball competition contested by the men's national teams. The tournament ran from August 28 to September 12, 2010. It was co-organized by the International Basketball Federation , Turkish Basketball Federation and the...

     (entered the NBA in 2000)
  • Mehmet Okur
    Mehmet Okur
    Mehmet Murat Okur is a Turkish professional basketball player who currently plays for Türk Telekom B.K.. He is also under contract with the Utah Jazz of the NBA, and can return to that team when the 2011 NBA lockout ends...

    , Turkey
    Turkey
    Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

     – 2007 All-Star and 2004 NBA Champion.
  • Pau Gasol
    Pau Gasol
    Pau Gasol Sáez is a Spanish professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association . He was born to Marisa Sáez and Agustí Gasol, and he spent his childhood in Spain...

    , Spain
    Spain
    Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

     – 2-time NBA Champion with Los Angeles Lakers (2009 & 2010), Three time NBA All-Star, 2002 NBA Rookie of the Year
    NBA Rookie of the Year Award
    The National Basketball Association's Rookie of the Year Award is an annual National Basketball Association award given since the 1952–53 NBA season, to the top rookie of the regular season. The winner receives the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy, which is named in honor of the Philadelphia Warriors head...

    , 2004 and 2009 Mr. Europa, 2006 World Championships
    2006 FIBA World Championship
    The 2006 FIBA World Championship was an international basketball competition hosted by Japan from August 19 to September 3, 2006. It was co-organised by the International Basketball Federation , Japan Basketball Association and the 2006 Organizing Committee...

     MVP, 2008 and 2009 Euroscar
    Euroscar Award
    The Euroscar European Player of the Year Award known as European basketball's Oscar award, is an annual basketball award that started in 1979. The award names each year's best European basketball player, regardless of where he plays in the world, including NBA players. The award is judged on the...

     and FIBA Europe Player of the Year
    FIBA Europe Player of the Year Award
    The FIBA Europe Player of the Year Award is an annual official FIBA Europe award inaugurated in the year 2005, with awards given for both men and women. The winner is a European basketball player whose performances with his or her sports club and/or national team throughout the year have reached...

    , EuroBasket 2009
    EuroBasket 2009
    The EuroBasket 2009 was the 36th EuroBasket, the biennial regional basketball championship contested by European nations and held by FIBA Europe. The tournament, which was hosted by Poland, began on 7 September 2009 and concluded with the final on 20 September 2009...

     MVP (entered the NBA in 2001)
  • Andrei Kirilenko
    Andrei Kirilenko (basketball)
    Andrei Gennadyevich Kirilenko is a Russian-American professional basketball player who plays at the small forward position for the CSKA Moscow in the Russian Professional Basketball League. He also plays for the Russia national basketball team...

    , Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

     – EuroBasket 2007
    Eurobasket 2007
    -Group B:-Group C:-Group D:-Second round:- Group E :- Group F :-Championship bracket:- Quarterfinals :-Classification rounds:- Semifinals :- Third place game:- Final :...

     MVP, 2007 FIBA Europe Player of the Year (drafted in 1999, entered the NBA in 2001)
  • Tony Parker
    Tony Parker
    William Anthony "Tony" Parker is a French professional basketball player who currently plays for the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA....

    , France
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

     – 3-time NBA Champion with San Antonio Spurs, 2007 NBA Finals
    2007 NBA Finals
    The 2007 NBA Finals was the championship series of the 2006-07 National Basketball Association season, and was the conclusion of the 2007 NBA Playoffs. The best-of-seven series was played between the Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs and the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland...

     MVP and 2007 Euroscar winner (entered the NBA in 2001)
  • Manu Ginóbili
    Manu Ginobili
    Emanuel David "Manu" Ginóbili is an Argentine professional basketball player. Coming from a family of professional basketball players, he is a member of the Argentine men's national basketball team and the San Antonio Spurs in the National Basketball Association .Ginóbili spent the early part of...

    , Argentina
    Argentina
    Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

     – 3-time NBA Champion with San Antonio Spurs, 2008 Sixth Man Award
    NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award
    The National Basketball Association's Sixth Man of the Year Award is an annual National Basketball Association award given since the 1982–83 NBA season to the league's most valuable player for his team coming off the bench as a substitute . A panel of sportswriters and broadcasters from throughout...

     winner, 50 Greatest Euroleague Contributors (drafted in 1999, entered the NBA in 2002)
  • Peja Stojaković
    Peja Stojaković
    Predrag Stojaković , also known by his nickname Peja , is a Serbian professional basketball player who last played for the Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association . Standing at 6 ft 10 , Stojaković plays the small forward position...

    , Serbia
    Serbia
    Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

     – NBA Champion with Dallas Mavericks (2011), 2002 World Champion
    2002 FIBA World Championship
    The 2002 FIBA World Championship was an international basketball tournament held by the International Basketball Federation in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA from August 29 to September 8, 2002.-Venues:-Squads:...

    , member of the all-tournament team in the 2002 FIBA World Championship
    2002 FIBA World Championship
    The 2002 FIBA World Championship was an international basketball tournament held by the International Basketball Federation in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA from August 29 to September 8, 2002.-Venues:-Squads:...

    , 2001 European Champion
    EuroBasket 2001
    The EuroBasket 2001 was the 32nd EuroBasket, the biennial regional basketball championship contested by European nations and held by FIBA Europe. The tournament, which was hosted by Turkey, began on 31 August 2001 and concluded with the final on 9 September 2001. Yugoslavia won the gold medal,...

    , MVP of the Eurobasket 2001
    EuroBasket 2001
    The EuroBasket 2001 was the 32nd EuroBasket, the biennial regional basketball championship contested by European nations and held by FIBA Europe. The tournament, which was hosted by Turkey, began on 31 August 2001 and concluded with the final on 9 September 2001. Yugoslavia won the gold medal,...

    , 2001 Euroscar winner, 2001 and 2002 Mr. Europa, 2-time NBA Three-Point Shootout champion and 3-time NBA All-Star (entered the NBA in 1998)
  • Yao Ming
    Yao Ming
    Yao Ming is a retired Chinese professional basketball player who last played for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association...

    , China
    People's Republic of China
    China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

     – First pick in the 2002 NBA Draft
    2002 NBA Draft
    The 2002 NBA Draft was held on June 26, 2002 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. In this draft, National Basketball Association teams took turns selecting 57 amateur college basketball players and other first-time eligible players, such as players from non-North...

     and 7-time NBA All-Star (entered the NBA in 2002)
  • Leandro Barbosa
    Leandro Barbosa
    Leandro Mateus Barbosa is a Brazilian professional basketball player, who plays at the guard position with Flamengo Basketball in Brazil. He is also under contract with the National Basketball Association's Toronto Raptors, and is expected to return to that team once the 2011 NBA lockout ends...

    , Brazil
    Brazil
    Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

     – 2007 Sixth Man Award
    NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award
    The National Basketball Association's Sixth Man of the Year Award is an annual National Basketball Association award given since the 1982–83 NBA season to the league's most valuable player for his team coming off the bench as a substitute . A panel of sportswriters and broadcasters from throughout...

     winner (entered the NBA in 2003)
  • Andrea Bargnani
    Andrea Bargnani
    Andrea Bargnani , nicknamed "Il Mago" , is an Italian professional basketball player with the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association. He was selected first overall in the 2006 NBA Draft. He is a power forward/center standing at 213 cm and weighing 113.4 kg...

    , Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

     – First pick in the 2006 NBA Draft
    2006 NBA Draft
    The 2006 NBA Draft was held on June 28, 2006 at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden in New York City and was broadcast in the United States on ESPN. In this draft, National Basketball Association teams took turns selecting amateur U.S. college basketball players and other eligible players,...

     by the Toronto Raptors
    Toronto Raptors
    The Toronto Raptors are a professional basketball team based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They are part of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association . The team was established in 1995, along with the Vancouver Grizzlies, as part of the NBA's re-expansion...

     (entered the NBA in 2006)

On some occasions, young players, most but not all from the English-speaking world, have attended U.S. colleges before playing in the NBA. Notable examples are:
  • Nigerian Hakeem Olajuwon
    Hakeem Olajuwon
    Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon is a retired Nigerian-American professional basketball player. From 1984 to 2002, he played the center position in the National Basketball Association for the Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors. He led the Rockets to back-to-back NBA championships in 1994 and 1995. In 2008,...

     (top draft pick in 1984
    1984 NBA Draft
    The 1984 NBA Draft was the 38th annual draft of the National Basketball Association . The draft was held at the Felt Forum at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York on June 19, 1984 before the 1984–85 season. The draft was broadcast in the United States on the USA Network. In this draft,...

    , 2-time champion, 12-time All-Star, 1994 MVP, 1994 and 1995 Finals MVP, 1994 and 1995 Defensive Player of the Year, first and only player to receive the MVP Award, Defensive Player of the Year Award, and Finals MVP award in the same season, and Hall of Famer)
  • Congolese Dikembe Mutombo
    Dikembe Mutombo
    Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo , commonly referred to as Dikembe Mutombo, is a retired Congolese American professional basketball player who last played for the Houston Rockets of the NBA...

     (Four time NBA Defensive Player of the Year
    NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award
    The National Basketball Association's Defensive Player of the Year Award is an annual National Basketball Association award given since the 1982–83 NBA season, to the top defensive player of the regular season...

    , selected fourth overall by the Denver Nuggets in the 1991 NBA Draft and 8-time NBA All-Star)
  • Dutchman Rik Smits
    Rik Smits
    Rik Smits is a retired Dutch professional basketball player who spent his entire professional career with the Indiana Pacers of the National Basketball Association. The 7'4" center was drafted by the Pacers out of Marist College with the second overall pick in the 1988 NBA Draft...

     (1988 second overall pick, 1998 NBA All-Star, played 12 years for the Indiana Pacers)
  • German Detlef Schrempf
    Detlef Schrempf
    Detlef Schrempf is a retired German NBA basketball player.-High school and college career:...

     (Sixth Man Award winner in 1991 and 1992, 3-time All-Star)
  • Canadian Steve Nash
    Steve Nash
    Stephen John "Steve" Nash, OC, OBC is a South African-born Canadian professional basketball player who plays point guard for the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association . Nash enjoyed a successful high-school basketball career, and he was eventually given a scholarship by Santa Clara...

     (2005 and 2006 MVP)
  • Australians Luc Longley
    Luc Longley
    Lucien James "Luc" Longley is a retired Australian professional basketball player, who was the first Australian to play in the NBA, where he played for eleven seasons...

     (3-times champion with the Chicago Bulls
    Chicago Bulls
    The Chicago Bulls are an American professional basketball team based in Chicago, Illinois, playing in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association . The team was founded in 1966. They play their home games at the United Center...

     in the 1990s) and Andrew Bogut
    Andrew Bogut
    Andrew Michael Bogut is an Australian professional basketball player. He plays for the Milwaukee Bucks of the United States' National Basketball Association....

    , (top draft pick in 2005
    2005 NBA Draft
    The 2005 NBA Draft took place on June 28, 2005 in the Theatre at Madison Square Garden in New York City. In this draft, NBA teams took turns selecting amateur college basketball players and other first-time eligible players, such as players from high schools and non-North American leagues...

    ).
  • Sudanese-born Englishman Luol Deng
    Luol Deng
    Luol Deng is a South Sudanese-British professional basketball player for the National Basketball Association's Chicago Bulls and the Great Britain national basketball team. He plays the small forward position.-Early life:...

     (2007 winner of the NBA Sportsmanship Award
    NBA Sportsmanship Award
    The National Basketball Association's Sportsmanship Award is an annual National Basketball Association award given since the 1995–96 NBA season, to the player who most "exemplifies the ideals of sportsmanship on the court—ethical behavior, fair play and integrity"...

    )


Since 2006, the NBA has faced Euroleague
Euroleague
Euroleague Basketball, commonly known as the Euroleague, is the highest level tier and most important professional club basketball competition in Europe, with teams from up to 18 different countries, members of FIBA Europe. For sponsorship reasons, for five seasons starting with 2010–2011, it is...

 teams in exhibition matches in the NBA Europe Live Tour
NBA Europe Live Tour
NBA Europe Live Tour is an event organised yearly since 2006. Its purpose is to bring teams from the National Basketball Association to play games against mainly Euroleague but also Eurocup teams....

 and since 2009 in the Euroleague American Tour
Euroleague American Tour
The Euroleague American Tour is an event organized yearly since 2009. Its purpose is to organize games between Euroleague and sometimes Eurocup teams to play games against National Basketball Association teams, thereby promoting the game of basketball globally...

.

The 2009–10 season
2009–10 NBA season
The 2009–10 NBA season was the 64th season of the National Basketball Association . The 1,230-game regular season began on Tuesday, October 27, 2009, and ended on Wednesday, April 14, 2010....

 season opened with a record of 83 international players on the opening night rosters, tying the record set in the 2006–07 season.

Other developments


In 2001, an affiliated minor league
Minor league
Minor leagues are professional sports leagues which are not regarded as the premier leagues in those sports. Minor league teams tend to play in smaller, less elaborate venues, often competing in smaller cities. This term is used in North America with regard to several organizations competing in...

, the National Basketball Development League
NBA Development League
The NBA Development League, or NBA D-League, is the National Basketball Association's official minor league basketball organization. Known until summer 2005 as the National Basketball Development League , the NBA D-League started with eight teams in the fall of 2001...

, now called the NBA Development League (or D-League) was created. Before the league was started, there were strong rumors that the NBA would purchase the CBA, and call it its developmental league, as the Continental Basketball Association
Continental Basketball Association
The Continental Basketball Association was a professional men's basketball league in the United States, which has been on hiatus since the 2009 season.- History :...

 was its "minor league" affiliate for years. 20% of NBA players spent time in this league and over 143 players have been called up to play in the NBA.

In 2004, two years after the Hornets relocation to New Orleans, the NBA returned to North Carolina as the Charlotte Bobcats
Charlotte Bobcats
The Charlotte Bobcats is a professional basketball team based in Charlotte, North Carolina. They play in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association. The Bobcats were established in 2004 as an expansion team, two seasons after Charlotte's previous NBA...

 were formed.

In 2005, the Hornets relocated to Oklahoma City
Oklahoma city
Oklahoma City is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Oklahoma.Oklahoma City may also refer to:*Oklahoma City metropolitan area*Downtown Oklahoma City*Uptown Oklahoma City*Oklahoma City bombing*Oklahoma City National Memorial...

 for two seasons. This was required due to damage caused by Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

. In 2007, the Hornets returned to New Orleans.
On June 28, 2006, a new official game ball was introduced for the 2006–07 season, marking the first change to the ball in over 35 years and only the second ball in 60 seasons. Manufactured by Spalding
Spalding (sports equipment)
Spalding is a sporting goods company founded by Albert Spalding in Chicago, Illinois, in 1876 and now headquartered in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The company specializes in the production of balls for many sports, but is most-known for its basketballs...

, the new ball featured a new design and new synthetic material that Spalding claimed offered a better grip, feel, and consistency than the original ball. However, many players were vocal in their disdain for the new ball, saying that it was too sticky when dry, and too slippery when wet.

On December 11, 2006, Commissioner Stern announced that beginning January 1, 2007, the NBA would return to the traditional leather basketball in use prior to the 2006–2007 season. The change was influenced by frequent player complaints and confirmed hand injuries (cuts) caused by the microfiber ball. The Players' Association had filed a suit in behalf of the players against the NBA over the new ball. As of 2006, the NBA team jerseys are manufactured by Adidas
Adidas
Adidas AG is a German sports apparel manufacturer and parent company of the Adidas Group, which consists of the Reebok sportswear company, TaylorMade-Adidas golf company , and Rockport...

, which purchased the previous supplier, Reebok
Reebok
Reebok International Limited, a subsidiary of the German sportswear company Adidas since 2005, is a producer of Athletic shoes, apparel, and accessories. The name comes from the Afrikaans spelling of rhebok, a type of African antelope or gazelle...

.

On July 19, 2007, the FBI investigated allegations that veteran NBA referee Tim Donaghy
Tim Donaghy
Tim Donaghy is a former professional basketball referee who worked in the National Basketball Association for 13 seasons, from 1994 to 2007. During his career in the NBA, Donaghy officiated in 772 regular season games and 20 playoff games...

 bet on basketball games he officiated over the past two seasons and that he made calls affecting the point spread in those games. On August 15, 2007, Donaghy pleaded guilty to two federal charges related to the investigation. However, he could face additional charges if it is determined that he deliberately miscalled individual games. Donaghy in 2008 claimed that certain refs were friendly with the players and "company men" for the NBA. Donaghy alleged that refs influenced the outcome of certain playoff and final games in 2002 and 2005. NBA commissioner David Stern
David Stern
David Joel Stern is the commissioner of the National Basketball Association. He started with the Association in 1966 as an outside counsel, joined the NBA in 1978 as General Counsel, and became the league's Executive Vice President in 1980. He became Commissioner in 1984 succeeding Larry O'Brien...

 denied the allegations and said Donaghy was a convicted felon and a "singing, cooperating witness". Donaghy served 15 months in prison and was released in November, 2009. According to an independent study by Ronald Beech of Game 6 of the NBA 2002 Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles, California. They play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association...

 and the Sacramento Kings
Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings are a professional basketball team based in Sacramento, California, United States. They are currently members of the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association...

, although the refs increased the Lakers' chances of winning through foul calls during the game, there was no collusion
Collusion
Collusion is an agreement between two or more persons, sometimes illegal and therefore secretive, to limit open competition by deceiving, misleading, or defrauding others of their legal rights, or to obtain an objective forbidden by law typically by defrauding or gaining an unfair advantage...

 to fix the game. On alleged "star treatment" during Game 6 by the refs toward certain players, Beech claimed, "there does seem to be issues with different standards and allowances for different players."

In June 2008, it was announced that the Seattle SuperSonics
Seattle SuperSonics
The Seattle SuperSonics were an American professional basketball team based in Seattle, Washington that played in the Pacific and Northwest Divisions of the National Basketball Association from 1967 until 2008. Following the 2007–08 season, the team relocated to Oklahoma City, and now plays as...

 would be rendered inactive and the franchise itself would relocate to Oklahoma City
Oklahoma city
Oklahoma City is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Oklahoma.Oklahoma City may also refer to:*Oklahoma City metropolitan area*Downtown Oklahoma City*Uptown Oklahoma City*Oklahoma City bombing*Oklahoma City National Memorial...

. The Oklahoma City Thunder
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder are a professional basketball franchise based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. They play in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association ; their home court is at Chesapeake Energy Arena....

 began playing in the 2008–2009 season. This marks the third NBA franchise to relocate in the past decade.

On October 11, 2008, the Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns are a professional basketball team based in Phoenix, Arizona. They are members of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association and the only team in their division not to be based in California. Their home arena since 1992 has been the US...

 and the Denver Nuggets
Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets are a professional basketball team based in Denver, Colorado. They play in the National Basketball Association . They were founded as the Denver Rockets in 1967 as a charter franchise of the American Basketball Association, and became one of that league's more successful teams...

 played the first outdoor game in the modern era of the NBA at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

On September 1, 2009, the contract between the NBA and its referees expired, creating a referee lockout. On October 1, 2009, the first preseason games were played and replacement referees from the WNBA and NBA Development League
NBA Development League
The NBA Development League, or NBA D-League, is the National Basketball Association's official minor league basketball organization. Known until summer 2005 as the National Basketball Development League , the NBA D-League started with eight teams in the fall of 2001...

 were used. The last time replacement referees were used was beginning of the 1995–96 season. The NBA and the regular referees reached a deal on October 23, 2009.

In 2011 the first official NBA league games on European ground took place. In two matchups the New Jersey Nets
New Jersey Nets
The New Jersey Nets are a professional basketball team based in Newark, New Jersey. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association...

 faced the Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors are a professional basketball team based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They are part of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association . The team was established in 1995, along with the Vancouver Grizzlies, as part of the NBA's re-expansion...

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

's O2 Arena
The O2 arena (London)
The O2 Arena is a multi-purpose indoor arena located in the centre of The O2, a large entertainment complex on the Greenwich peninsula in London, England.With a capacity of up to 20,000 depending on the event, it is second largest...

 in front of over 20,000 fans.

In July 2011, the NBA laid off around 114 league employees (about 11 percent of all the league office workforce) to save money.

The 2011-2012 NBA season
2011–12 NBA season
The 2011–12 NBA season, the 66th season of the National Basketball Association , will officially begin with the signing of a new collective bargaining agreement between the owners of all 30 NBA teams and the NBA's players. The previous CBA, which was ratified in 2005, expired at 12:01 AM EDT on...

, scheduled to begin November 1, 2011 with a matchup between the defending champion Dallas Mavericks and the Chicago Bulls, has been indefinitely postponed due to a labor dispute
2011 NBA lockout
The 2011 NBA lockout is the fourth lockout in the history of the National Basketball Association . The owners began the work stoppage at 12:01 am EDT on July 1, 2011. The main issues dividing the owners and the players are revenue sharing and the structure of the salary cap...

.

Teams



The NBA originated in 1946 with 11 teams, and through a sequence of team expansions, reductions, and relocations currently consists of 30 teams. The United States is home to 29 teams and one is located in Canada. The Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are a National Basketball Association team based in Boston, Massachusetts. They play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. Founded in 1946, the team is currently owned by Boston Basketball Partners LLC. The Celtics play their home games at the TD Garden, which...

 have won the most championships with 17 NBA Finals
NBA Finals
The NBA Finals is the championship series of the National Basketball Association . The series was named the NBA World Championship Series until 1986....

 wins. The second most successful franchise is the Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles, California. They play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association...

, who have 16 overall championships (11 in Los Angeles, 5 in Minneapolis). Following the Lakers are the Chicago Bulls
Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls are an American professional basketball team based in Chicago, Illinois, playing in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association . The team was founded in 1966. They play their home games at the United Center...

 with six championships, all of them over an 8-year span during the 1990s, and the San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs are an American professional basketball team based in San Antonio, Texas. They are part of the Southwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association ....

 with four championships, all since 1999.

The current league organization divides thirty teams into two conferences of three divisions with five teams each. The current divisional alignment was introduced in the 2004–05 season.

Notes

Regular season


Following the summer break, teams begin training camps in late September. Training camps allow the coaching staff to evaluate players (especially rookies), scout the team's strengths and weaknesses, prepare the players for the rigorous regular season, and determine the 12-man active roster (and a 3-man inactive list) with which they will begin the regular season. Teams have the ability to assign players with less than two years of experience to the NBA development league. After training camp, a series of preseason exhibition games are held. The NBA regular season begins in the last week of October.

During the regular season, each team plays 82 games, 41 each home and away. A team faces opponents in its own division four times a year (16 games). Each team plays six of the teams from the other two divisions in its conference four times (24 games), and the remaining four teams three times (12 games). Finally, each team plays all the teams in the other conference twice apiece (30 games). This asymmetrical structure means the strength of schedule
Strength of schedule
In sports, strength of schedule refers to the difficulty or ease of a team's/person's opponent as compared to other teams/persons. This is especially important if teams in a league do not play each other the same number of times.-Computation:...

 will vary between teams (but not as significantly as the NFL or MLB). Over five seasons, each team will have played 80 games against their division (20 games against each opponent, 10 at home, 10 on the road), 180 games against the rest of their conference (18 games against each opponent, 9 at home, 9 on the road), and 150 games against the other conference (10 games against each team, 5 at home, 5 on the road).

As of 2008, the NBA is one of only two of the Big 4 in North America in which teams play every other team during the regular season (the other being the National Hockey League
National Hockey League
The National Hockey League is an unincorporated not-for-profit association which operates a major professional ice hockey league of 30 franchised member clubs, of which 7 are currently located in Canada and 23 in the United States...

.) Each team hosts and visits every other team at least once every season. For a few seasons until 2008, the NBA had the distinction of being the only one of the four major leagues in which all teams play every other team.

The NBA is also the only league that regularly schedules games on Christmas
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

 Day. The league has been playing games regularly on the holiday since 1947, though the first Christmas Day games weren't televised until . Games played on this day have featured some of the best teams and players. Christmas is also notable for NBA on television, as the holiday is when the first NBA games air on network television each season.


In February, the regular season pauses to celebrate the annual NBA All-Star Game
National Basketball Association All-Star Game
The National Basketball Association staged its first All-Star Game in the Boston Garden on March 2, 1951. From that year on, the game has matched the best players in the Eastern Conference with the best players in the Western Conference....

. Fans vote throughout the United States, Canada, and on the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

, and the top vote-getters at each position in each conference are given a starting spot on their conference's All-Star team. Coaches vote to choose the remaining 14 All-Stars. Then, Eastern conference players face the Western conference players in the All-Star game. The player with the best performance during the game is rewarded with a Game MVP award. Other attractions of the All-Star break include the Rookie Challenge
Rookie Challenge
The Rookie Challenge is an exhibition basketball game held by the National Basketball Association on the Friday before the annual All-Star Game as part of the All-Star Weekend....

, where the top rookies and second-year players in the NBA play against each other in a 5-on-5 basketball game; the Skills Challenge
Skills Challenge
The Taco Bell Skills Challenge is a National Basketball Association contest held on the Saturday before the annual All-Star Game as part of the All-Star Weekend. First debuted in 2003, it is a competition among guards. In this contest, participant first shoots a layup...

, where players compete to finish an obstacle course consisting of shooting, passing, and dribbling in the fastest time; the Three Point Contest, where players compete to score the most amount of three-point field goals in a given time; and the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, where players compete to dunk the ball in the most entertaining way according to the judges. These other attractions have varying names which include the names of the various sponsors who have paid for naming rights.

Shortly after the All-Star break is the trade deadline, which is set to fall on the 16th Thursday of the season (usually in February) at 3pm Eastern Time
Eastern Time Zone
The Eastern Time Zone of the United States and Canada is a time zone that falls mostly along the east coast of North America. Its UTC time offset is −5 hrs during standard time and −4 hrs during daylight saving time...

. After this date, teams are not allowed to exchange players with each other for the remainder of the season, although they may still sign and release players. Major trades are often completed right before the trading deadline, making that day a hectic time for general managers.

Around the middle of April, the regular season ends. It is during this time that voting begins for individual awards, as well as the selection of the honorary, league-wide, post-season teams. The Sixth Man of the Year Award
NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award
The National Basketball Association's Sixth Man of the Year Award is an annual National Basketball Association award given since the 1982–83 NBA season to the league's most valuable player for his team coming off the bench as a substitute . A panel of sportswriters and broadcasters from throughout...

 is given to the best player coming off the bench (must have more games coming off the bench than actual games started). The Rookie of the Year Award
NBA Rookie of the Year Award
The National Basketball Association's Rookie of the Year Award is an annual National Basketball Association award given since the 1952–53 NBA season, to the top rookie of the regular season. The winner receives the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy, which is named in honor of the Philadelphia Warriors head...

 is awarded to the most outstanding first-year player. The Most Improved Player Award
NBA Most Improved Player Award
The National Basketball Association's Most Improved Player Award is an annual National Basketball Association award given since the 1985–86 NBA season, to the most improved player of the regular season. The winner is selected by a panel of sportswriters throughout the United States and Canada,...

 is awarded to the player who is deemed to have shown the most improvement from the previous season. The Defensive Player of the Year Award
NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award
The National Basketball Association's Defensive Player of the Year Award is an annual National Basketball Association award given since the 1982–83 NBA season, to the top defensive player of the regular season...

 is awarded to the league's best defender. The Coach of the Year Award
NBA Coach of the Year Award
The National Basketball Association's Coach of the Year is an annual National Basketball Association award given since the 1962–63 NBA season. The winner receives the Red Auerbach Trophy, which is named in honor of the head coach who led the Boston Celtics to nine NBA Championships from 1956 to 1966...

 is awarded to the coach that has made the most positive difference to a team. The Most Valuable Player Award
NBA Most Valuable Player Award
The National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player is an annual National Basketball Association award given since the 1955–56 NBA season. The winner receives the Maurice Podoloff Trophy, which is named in honor of the first commissioner of the NBA who served from 1946 until his retirement...

 is given to player deemed the most valuable for (his team) that season. Additionally, Sporting News awards an unofficial (but widely recognized) Executive of the Year Award
NBA Executive of the Year Award
The National Basketball Association's Executive of the Year Award is an annual award given since the 1972–73 NBA season, to the league's best general managers. Before 2009, the Executive of the Year is presented annually by Sporting News, although it is officially recognized by the NBA. Since then,...

 to the general manager who is adjudged to have performed the best job for the benefit of his franchise.

The post-season teams are the All-NBA Team
All-NBA Team
The All-NBA Team is an annual National Basketball Association honor bestowed on the best players in the league following every NBA season. The voting is conducted by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. The team has been selected in every season of the...

, the All-Defensive Team
NBA All-Defensive Team
The NBA All-Defensive Team is an annual National Basketball Association honor given since the 1968–69 NBA season to the best defensive players during the regular season. Voting is conducted by the NBA head coaches; the coaches are not allowed to vote for players on their own team...

, and the All-Rookie Team
NBA All-Rookie Team
The NBA All-Rookie Team is an annual National Basketball Association honor given since the 1962–63 NBA season to the top rookies during the regular season. Voting is conducted by the NBA head coaches; who are not allowed to vote for players on their own team. The All-Rookie Team is generally...

; each consists of five players. There are three All-NBA teams, consisting of the top players at each position, with first-team status being the most desirable. There are two All-Defensive teams, consisting of the top defenders at each position. There are also two All-Rookie teams, consisting of the top first-year players regardless of position.

Playoffs



NBA Playoffs begin in late April, with eight teams in each conference going for the Championship. The three division winners, along with the team with the next best record from the conference are given the top four seeds. The next four teams in terms of record are given the lower four seeds.

Having a higher seed offers several advantages. Since the first seed begins the playoffs playing against the eighth seed, the second seed plays the seventh seed, the third seed plays the sixth seed, and the fourth seed plays the fifth seed, having a higher seed means a team faces a weaker team in the first round. The team in each series with the better record has home court advantage, including the First Round. This means that, for example, if the team who receives the 5 seed has a better record than the team with the 4 seed (by virtue of a divisional championship), the 5 seed would have home court advantage, even though the other team has a higher seed. Therefore, the team with the best regular season record in the league is guaranteed home court advantage in every series it plays. For example, in 2006, the Denver Nuggets
Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets are a professional basketball team based in Denver, Colorado. They play in the National Basketball Association . They were founded as the Denver Rockets in 1967 as a charter franchise of the American Basketball Association, and became one of that league's more successful teams...

 won 44 games and captured the Northwest Division and the #3 seed. Their opponent was the #6 seeded Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers are a professional basketball team based in Los Angeles, California, United States. They play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association...

, who won 47 games and finished second in the Pacific Division. Although Denver won its much weaker division, the Clippers had home-court advantage and won the series in five games.

The playoffs follow a tournament format. Each team plays an opponent in a best-of-seven series, with the first team to win four games advancing into the next round, while the other team is eliminated from the playoffs. In the next round, the successful team plays against another advancing team of the same conference. All but one team in each conference are eliminated from the playoffs. Since the NBA does not re-seed teams, the playoff bracket in each conference uses a traditional design, with the winner of the series matching the 1st and 8th seeded teams playing the winner of the series matching the 4th and 5th seeded teams, and the winner of the series matching the 2nd and 7th seeded teams playing the winner of the series matching the 3rd and 6th seeded teams. In every round except the NBA Finals
NBA Finals
The NBA Finals is the championship series of the National Basketball Association . The series was named the NBA World Championship Series until 1986....

, the best of seven series follows a 2–2–1–1–1 home-court pattern, meaning that one team will have home court in games 1, 2, 5, and 7, while the other plays at home in games 3, 4, and 6. For the final round (NBA Finals), the series follows a 2–3–2 pattern, meaning that one team will have home court in games 1, 2, 6, and 7, while the other plays at home in games 3, 4, and 5. The 2–3–2 pattern in the NBA Finals has been in place since 1985.

The final playoff round, a best-of-seven series between the victors of both conferences, is known as the NBA Finals, and is held annually in June. The victor in the NBA Finals wins the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy
Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy
The Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy is a trophy awarded to the National Basketball Association team that wins the NBA Finals at the conclusion of every NBA season....

. Each player and major contributor—including coaches and the general manager—on the winning team receive a championship ring. In addition, the league awards a Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award to the best performing player of the series.

On August 2, 2006, the NBA announced the new playoff format. The new format takes the three division winners and the second-place team with the best record and rank them 1–4 by record. The other 4 slots are filled by best record other than those other 4 teams. Previously, the top three seeds went to the division winners.

International competitions


The National Basketball Association has sporadically participated in international club competitions. From 1987 to 1999 the NBA champions played against the continental champions of the Fédération Internationale de Basketball (FIBA) in the McDonald's Championship
McDonald's Championship
The McDonald's Championship was an international men's basketball cup competition played between the champions of the continental club competitions and an NBA invitee...

. This tournament was won by the NBA invitee every year it was held. FIBA is organizing a new World Club Championship
FIBA World Club Championship
The FIBA World Club Championship is a new annual basketball competition to be contested by the FIBA men's club tournament winners...

 to begin in 2010, and currently plans to invite the NBA champions starting in 2011.

Presidents and commissioners



  • Maurice Podoloff
    Maurice Podoloff
    Maurice Podoloff was a U.S. lawyer and basketball and ice hockey administrator. He was the first president of the National Basketball Association...

    , President from 1946–1963
  • Walter Kennedy
    Walter Kennedy (NBA)
    James Walter Kennedy was the commissioner of the National Basketball Association from 1963 until 1975. He is sometimes mistakenly referred to as Walter J. Kennedy.-Early life:...

    , President from 1963–1967 and Commissioner from 1967–1975
  • Larry O'Brien
    Larry O'Brien
    Lawrence Francis "Larry" O'Brien, Jr. was one of the United States Democratic Party's leading electoral strategists when, for more than two decades, he helped reshape American politics...

    , Commissioner from 1975–1984
  • David Stern
    David Stern
    David Joel Stern is the commissioner of the National Basketball Association. He started with the Association in 1966 as an outside counsel, joined the NBA in 1978 as General Counsel, and became the league's Executive Vice President in 1980. He became Commissioner in 1984 succeeding Larry O'Brien...

    , Commissioner since 1984–present

Players


Coaches


See also



External links