National Basketball Association

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a men's professional basketball league in North America; composed of 30 teams (29 in the United States and 1 in Canada). It is widely considered to be the premier men's professional basketball league in the world. The NBA is an active member of USA Basketball (USAB),[2] which is recognized by FIBA (also known as the International Basketball Federation) as the national governing body for basketball in the United States. The NBA is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. NBA players are the world's best paid athletes by average annual salary per player.[3][4]

The league was founded in New York City on June 6, 1946, as the Basketball Association of America (BAA).[1][5] The league adopted the name National Basketball Association on August 3, 1949, after merging with the competing National Basketball League (NBL). The league's several international as well as individual team offices are directed out of its head offices located in the Olympic Tower at 645 Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. NBA Entertainment and NBA TV studios are directed out of offices located in Secaucus, New Jersey.

National Basketball Association (NBA)
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2018–19 NBA season
National Basketball Association logo
SportBasketball
FoundedJune 6, 1946
(as BAA),
New York City, New York, United States[1]
Inaugural season1946–47
CommissionerAdam Silver
No. of teams30
CountriesUnited States (29 teams)
Canada (1 team)
HeadquartersNew York City
ContinentFIBA Americas (Americas)
Most recent
champion(s)
Golden State Warriors
(6th title)
Most titlesBoston Celtics (17 titles)
TV partner(s)United States:

Canada:

Official websiteNBA.com

History

Creation and BAA–NBL merger (1946–1956)

The Basketball Association of America was founded in 1946 by owners of the major ice hockey arenas in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States and Canada. On November 1, 1946, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the Toronto Huskies hosted the New York Knickerbockers at Maple Leaf Gardens, in a game the NBA now refers to as the first played game in NBA history.[6] The first basket was made by Ossie Schectman of the Knickerbockers. Although there had been earlier attempts at professional basketball leagues, including the American Basketball League 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. 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 won the 1949 BAA title. Prior to the 1948–49 season, however, NBL teams from Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Rochester jumped to the BAA, which established the BAA as the league of choice for collegians looking to turn professional.[7]

On August 3, 1949, the remaining NBL teams–Syracuse, Anderson, Tri-Cities, Sheboygan, Denver, and Waterloo–merged into the BAA. In deference to the merger and to avoid possible legal complications, the league name was changed to the present National Basketball Association, even though the merged league retained the BAA's governing body, including Podoloff.[7] To this day, the NBA claims the BAA's history as its own. It now reckons the arrival of the NBL teams as an expansion, not a merger, and does not recognize NBL records and statistics.

The new league had seventeen franchises located in a mix of large and small cities,[8] 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: the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia Warriors, Minneapolis Lakers, Rochester Royals, Fort Wayne Pistons, Tri-Cities Blackhawks, and Syracuse Nationals, all of which remain in the league today. The process of contraction saw the league's smaller-city franchises move to larger cities. The Hawks shifted from the Tri-Cities to Milwaukee in 1951, and then to St. Louis in 1955. The Rochester Royals moved from Rochester, New York, to Cincinnati in 1957 and the Pistons relocated from Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Detroit in 1957.

Japanese-American Wataru Misaka broke the NBA color barrier in the 1947–48 season when he played for the New York Knicks. He remained the only non-white player in league history prior to the first African-American, Harold Hunter, signing with the Washington Capitols in 1950.[9][10] Hunter was cut from the team during training camp,[9][11] but several African-American players did play in the league later that year, including Chuck Cooper with the Celtics, Nathaniel "Sweetwater" Clifton with the Knicks, and Earl Lloyd with the Washington Capitols. During this period, the Minneapolis Lakers, led by center George Mikan, won five NBA Championships and established themselves as the league's first dynasty.[12] To encourage shooting and discourage stalling, the league introduced the 24-second shot clock in 1954.[13] 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 (1956–1979)

In 1957, rookie center Bill Russell joined the Boston Celtics, which already featured guard Bob Cousy and coach Red Auerbach, and went on to lead the club to eleven NBA titles in thirteen seasons. Center Wilt Chamberlain 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 greatest rivalries in the history of American team sports.

Wilt Chamberlain Bill Russell
Bill Russell defending against Wilt Chamberlain in 1966.

The 1960s were dominated by the Celtics. Led by Russell, Bob Cousy and coach Red Auerbach, Boston won eight straight championships in the NBA from 1959 to 1966. This championship streak is the longest in NBA history. They did not win the title in 1966–67, but regained it in the 1967–68 season and repeated in 1969. The domination totaled nine of the ten championship banners of the 1960s.[14]

Through this period, the NBA continued to evolve with the shift of the Minneapolis Lakers to Los Angeles, the Philadelphia Warriors to San Francisco, the Syracuse Nationals to Philadelphia to become the Philadelphia 76ers, and the St. Louis Hawks moving to Atlanta, as well as the addition of its first expansion franchises. The Chicago Packers (now Washington Wizards) became the ninth NBA team in 1961. From 1966 to 1968, the league expanded from 9 to 14 teams, introducing the Chicago Bulls, Seattle SuperSonics (now Oklahoma City Thunder), San Diego Rockets (who relocated to Houston four years later), Milwaukee Bucks, and Phoenix Suns.

In 1967, the league faced a new external threat with the formation of the American Basketball Association (ABA). The leagues engaged in a bidding war. The NBA landed the most important college star of the era, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then known as Lew Alcindor). However, the NBA's leading scorer, Rick Barry, jumped to the ABA, as did four veteran referees—Norm Drucker, Earl Strom, John Vanak, and Joe Gushue.[15]

In 1969, Alan Siegel, who oversaw the design of Jerry Dior's Major League Baseball logo a year prior, created the modern NBA logo inspired by the MLB's. It incorporates the silhouette of the legendary Jerry West based on a photo by Wen Roberts, although NBA officials 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 (with a small change to the typeface on the NBA wordmark in 2017) and would remain a fixture of the NBA brand.[16][17]

The ABA succeeded in signing a number of major stars in the 1970s, including Julius Erving of the Virginia Squires, 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, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Buffalo Braves (now the Los Angeles Clippers) all made their debuts expanding the league to 17.[18] The New Orleans Jazz (now in Utah) came aboard in 1974 bringing the total to 18. Following the 1976 season, the leagues reached a settlement 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, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, and New York Nets (now the Brooklyn Nets). Some of the biggest stars of this era were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Rick Barry, Dave Cowens, Julius Erving, Elvin Hayes, Walt Frazier, Moses Malone, Artis Gilmore, George Gervin, Dan Issel, and Pete Maravich. 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 league.

Surging popularity (1979–1998)

The league added the ABA's innovative three-point field goal beginning in 1979 to open up the game. That same year, rookies Larry Bird and Magic Johnson joined the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers respectively, initiating a period of significant growth in fan interest in the NBA throughout the country and the world. The two had faced each other in the 1979 NCAA Division I Basketball Championship Game, and they later played against each other in three NBA Finals (1984, 1985, and 1987, featuring 11 players and coaches who would later be inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame). Like the 1960s, when the Celtics and Lakers faced each other in six NBA Finals, the two teams again dominated the NBA. In the 10 seasons of the 1980s, Johnson led the Lakers to five titles in eight Finals while Bird led the Celtics to three titles in five Finals. Also in the early 1980s, the NBA added one more expansion franchise, the Dallas Mavericks, bringing the total to 23 teams. Later on, Larry Bird won the first three three-point shooting contests. Former league commissioner David Stern, who took office on February 1, 1984, oversaw the expansion and growth of the NBA to a global commodity.

Jordan by Lipofsky 16577
Michael Jordan going in for a dunk

Michael Jordan entered the league in 1984 with the Chicago Bulls, 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, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, and Minnesota Timberwolves made their NBA debuts, bringing the total to 27 teams. The Detroit Pistons won the back-to-back in 1989 and 1990, led by coach Chuck Daly and guard Isiah Thomas. Jordan and Scottie Pippen led the Bulls to two three-peats in eight years during the 1991–98 seasons. Hakeem Olajuwon won back-to-back titles with the Houston Rockets in 1994 and 1995.

The 1992 Olympic basketball Dream Team, the first to use current NBA stars, featured Michael Jordan as the anchor, along with Bird, Johnson, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Scottie Pippen, Clyde Drexler, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Chris Mullin, Charles Barkley, and star NCAA amateur Christian Laettner. The team was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, while 11 of the 12 players on the roster (all but Laettner) and three of the four coaches have been elected to the Hall of Fame as individuals.

In 1995, the NBA expanded to Canada with the addition of the Vancouver Grizzlies and the Toronto Raptors. In 2001, the Vancouver Grizzlies relocated to Memphis, 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 (WNBA).

In 1998, the NBA owners began a lockout 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 won their first championship, and first by a former ABA team, by beating the New York Knicks, who were the first, and are the only, eighth seed to ever make it to the NBA Finals.

Modern era (1998–present)

Since the breakup of the Chicago Bulls championship roster in the summer of 1998, the Western Conference has dominated. The Los Angeles Lakers of coach Phil Jackson and the San Antonio Spurs of Gregg Popovich combined to make 13 Finals in 16 seasons, with 10 titles. Tim Duncan and David Robinson won the 1999 championship with the Spurs, and Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant started the 2000s with three consecutive championships for the Lakers. The Spurs reclaimed the title in 2003 against the Nets. In 2004, the Lakers returned to the Finals, only to lose in five games to the Detroit Pistons.

Nowitzki-v-wizards2
Dirk Nowitzki and John Wall in action as the Dallas Mavericks face the Washington Wizards in 2011

After the Spurs took home the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy in 2005, the 2006 Finals featured two franchises making their inaugural Finals appearances. The Miami Heat, led by their star shooting guard, Dwyane Wade, and Shaquille O'Neal, who had been traded from the Lakers during summer 2004, won the series over the Dallas Mavericks in six 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, who were led by LeBron James. The 2008 Finals saw a rematch of the league's highest profile rivalry, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, with the Celtics winning, for their 17th championship, thanks to their new big three of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett.

In 2009, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers returned to the Finals, this time defeating the Dwight Howard-led Orlando Magic. Bryant won his first Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in his 13th season after leading the Lakers to their first NBA championship since the departure of Shaquille O'Neal.[19]

The 2010 NBA All-Star Game was held at Cowboys Stadium in front of the largest crowd ever, 108,713.[20] At the end of that season, the Celtics and the Lakers renewed their rivalry from 2008 when they met again in the NBA Finals for a record 12th time. The Lakers won the title by winning Game 7, 83–79.[21] 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 free agents 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 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, led by Dirk Nowitzki (the eventual NBA Finals MVP), took the series in six games. This was the Mavericks' first title. Veterans Shawn Marion, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, and Peja Stojaković celebrated their first NBA championship.

On July 1, 2011, at 12:01 am, the NBA announced another lockout.[22] After the first few weeks of the season were canceled, the players and owners ratified a new collective bargaining agreement on December 8, 2011, setting up a shortened 66-game season.[23] Following the shortened season, the Miami Heat made a return to the Finals with the trio of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh against Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. The Heat went on to defeat the Thunder in five games, capturing their second NBA title in six years. Their success would continue into the following season, which concluded with their victory over the San Antonio Spurs in the 2013 NBA Finals. The two teams would meet for a rematch in the following year's Finals, where the Spurs defeated the Heat in five games. Off the court, commissioner David Stern retired on February 1, 2014, exactly 30 years to the day from taking office. He was succeeded by his deputy, Adam Silver.

Following the 2014 Finals, LeBron James announced that he would return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. James led the Cavaliers to their second Finals appearance, where they lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games. The following year, in a rematch, the 2016 NBA Finals concluded with the Cavaliers defeating the Warriors in seven games to win their first NBA Championship. The dominance of those two teams continued in 2017, when the Warriors, having signed Kevin Durant as a free agent, took the third straight Finals matchup between the two teams in five games, with Durant named Finals MVP, and again in 2018 when they went to a fourth straight Finals matchup.

During free agency in 2018, LeBron James signed with the Lakers.

International influence

Following pioneers like Vlade Divac (Serbia) and Dražen Petrović (Croatia) 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. Since 2006, the NBA has faced EuroLeague teams in exhibition matches in the NBA Europe Live Tour, and since 2009, in the EuroLeague American Tour. The 2013–14 season opened with a record 92 international players on the opening night rosters, representing 39 countries and comprising over 20% of the league.[24] The beginning of the 2017-18 season saw a record 108 international players representing 42 different countries marking 4 consecutive years of at least 100 international players and each team having at least one international player.[25] In 2018, the Phoenix Suns hired Serbian coach Igor Kokoškov as their new head coach, replacing Canadian interim coach Jay Triano, making Kokoškov the first European coach to become a head coach for a team in the NBA.

Other developments

In 2001, an affiliated minor league, the National Basketball Development League, now called the NBA G League, was created.[26] Before the league was started, there were strong rumors that the NBA would purchase the Continental Basketball Association, and call it its developmental league.

Two years after the Hornets' relocation to New Orleans, the NBA returned to North Carolina, as the Charlotte Bobcats were formed as an expansion team in 2004.

The Hornets temporarily relocated to Oklahoma City in 2005 for two seasons because of damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. The team returned to New Orleans in 2007.

A new official game ball was introduced on June 28, 2006, for the 2006–07 season, marking the first change to the ball in over 35 years and only the second ball in 60 seasons.[27] Manufactured by Spalding, 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.

Commissioner Stern announced on December 11, 2006, that beginning January 1, 2007, the NBA would return to the traditional leather basketball in use prior to the 2006–07 season. The change was influenced by frequent player complaints and confirmed hand injuries (cuts) caused by the microfiber ball.[28] The Players' Association had filed a suit on behalf of the players against the NBA over the new ball.[29] As of the 2017–18 season, the NBA team jerseys are manufactured by Nike, replacing the previous supplier, Adidas. All teams will wear jerseys with the Nike logo except the Charlotte Hornets, whose jerseys will instead have the Jumpman logo associated with longtime Nike endorser Michael Jordan, who owns the Hornets.[30]

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began an investigation on July 19, 2007, over allegations that veteran NBA referee Tim Donaghy bet on basketball games he officiated over the past two seasons and that he made calls affecting the point spread in those games.[31] On August 15, 2007, Donaghy pleaded guilty to two federal charges related to the investigation. Donaghy claimed in 2008 that certain referees were friendly with players and "company men" for the NBA, and he alleged that referees influenced the outcome of certain playoff and finals games in 2002 and 2005. NBA commissioner David Stern denied the allegations and said Donaghy was a convicted felon and a "singing, cooperating witness".[32] Donaghy served 15 months in prison and was released in November 2009.[33] According to an independent study by Ronald Beech of Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings, although the refs increased the Lakers' chances of winning through foul calls during the game, there was no collusion 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." [34]

The NBA Board of Governors approved the request of the Seattle SuperSonics to relocate to Oklahoma City on April 18, 2008.[35] The team, however, could not move until it had settled a lawsuit filed by the city of Seattle, which was intended to keep the SuperSonics in Seattle for the remaining two seasons of the team's lease at KeyArena. Following a court case, the city of Seattle settled with the ownership group of the SuperSonics on July 2, 2008, allowing the team to move to Oklahoma City immediately in exchange for terminating the final two seasons of the team's lease at KeyArena.[36] The Oklahoma City Thunder began playing in the 2008–09 season.

The first outdoor game in the modern era of the league was played at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on October 11, 2008, between the Phoenix Suns and the Denver Nuggets.[37]

A referee lockout began on September 1, 2009, when the contract between the NBA and its referees expired. The first preseason games were played on October 1, 2009, and replacement referees from the WNBA and NBA Development League were used, the first time replacement referees had been used since the beginning of the 1995–96 season. The NBA and the regular referees reached a deal on October 23, 2009.[38][39]

The first official NBA league games on European ground took place in 2011. In two matchups, the New Jersey Nets faced the Toronto Raptors at the O2 Arena in London in front of over 20,000 fans.

The 2011–12 NBA season, scheduled to begin November 1, 2011, with a matchup between the defending champion Dallas Mavericks and the Chicago Bulls, was postponed due to a labor dispute. The lockout officially ended on December 8, 2011, when players and owners ratified a new collective bargaining agreement, and the season began on Christmas Day.

After the 2012–13 season, the New Orleans Hornets renamed themselves the Pelicans.[40] During the 2013–14 season, Stern retired as commissioner after 30 years, and deputy commissioner Adam Silver ascended to the position of commissioner. During that season's playoffs, the Bobcats officially reclaimed the Hornets name, and by agreement with the league and the Pelicans, also received sole ownership of all history, records, and statistics from the Pelicans' time in Charlotte. As a result, the Hornets are now officially considered to have been founded in 1988, suspended operations in 2002, and resumed in 2004 as the Bobcats, while the Pelicans are officially treated as a 2002 expansion team.[41] (This is somewhat similar to the relationship between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens in the NFL.)

Donald Sterling, who was then-owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, received a lifetime ban from the NBA on April 29, 2014, after racist remarks he made became public. Sterling was also fined US$2.5 million, the maximum allowed under the NBA Constitution.[42]

Becky Hammon was hired by the San Antonio Spurs on August 5, 2014, as an assistant coach, becoming the second female coach in NBA history but the first full-time coach.[43][44] This also makes her the first full-time female coach in any of the four major professional sports in North America.[44]

The NBA announced on April 15, 2016, that it would allow all 30 of its member clubs to sell corporate sponsor advertisement patches on official game uniforms, beginning with the 2017–18 season. The sponsorship advertisement patches would appear on the left front of jerseys, opposite Nike's logo, marking the first time a manufacturer's logo would appear on NBA jerseys, and would measure approximately 2.5 by 2.5 inches. The NBA would become the first major North American professional sports league to allow corporate sponsorship logos on official team uniforms, and the last to have a uniform manufacturer logo appear on its team uniforms.[45] The first team to announce a jersey sponsorship was the Philadelphia 76ers, who agreed to a deal with StubHub.[46]

On July 6, 2017, the NBA unveiled an updated rendition of its logo; it is largely identical to the previous design, except with revised typography and a "richer" color scheme. The league began to phase in the updated logo across its properties during the 2017 NBA Summer League, but it will not immediately be used on equipment or uniforms due to lead time.[47]

The NBA also officially released new Nike uniforms for all 30 teams beginning with the 2017–18 season. The league eliminated "home" and "away" uniform designations. Instead, each team would have four or six uniforms: the "Association" edition, which is the team's traditional white uniform, the "Icon" edition, which is the team's primary color uniform, and two other uniform editions, to be unveiled at a later date.[48]

Teams

Map of USA and Canada, NBA, zoom

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 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. Reflecting the population distribution of the United States and Canada as a whole, most teams are in the eastern half of the country: thirteen teams are in the Eastern Time Zone, nine in the Central, three in the Mountain, and five in the Pacific.

Notes
  1. An asterisk (*) denotes a franchise move. See the respective team articles for more information.
  2. The Fort Wayne Pistons, Minneapolis Lakers and Rochester Royals all joined the NBA (BAA) in 1948 from the NBL.
  3. The Syracuse Nationals and Tri-Cities Blackhawks joined the NBA in 1949 as part of the BAA-NBL absorption.
  4. The Indiana Pacers, New York Nets, San Antonio Spurs, and Denver Nuggets all joined the NBA in 1976 as part of the NBA-ABA merger.
  5. The Charlotte Hornets are regarded as a continuation of the original Charlotte franchise. Because of this, the New Orleans Pelicans are no longer the same franchise as the original Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets were known as the Bobcats from 2004–2014. The New Orleans Pelicans were established in 2002. The Charlotte Hornets rejoined the league in 2004.

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 G League. After training camp, a series of preseason exhibition games are held. Preseason matches are sometimes held in non-NBA cities, both in the United States and overseas. 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 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).

The NBA is one of only two of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada in which teams play every other team during the regular season (the other being the National Hockey League). Each team hosts and visits every other team at least once every season. From 2005 to 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 Day.[49] The league has been playing games regularly on the holiday since 1947,[50] though the first Christmas Day games were not televised until 1983–84.[51] Games played on this day have featured some of the best teams and players.[49][50][51] Christmas is also notable for NBA on television, as the holiday is when the first NBA games air on network television each season.[50][51] Games played on this day have been some of the highest-rated games during a particular season.

In February, the regular season pauses to celebrate the annual NBA All-Star Game. Fans vote throughout the United States, Canada, and on the Internet, and the top vote-getters in each conference are named captains. Fan votes determine the rest of the allstar starters. Coaches vote to choose the remaining 14 All-Stars. Then, the top vote-getters in each conference draft their own team from a player pool of allstars. The top vote-getter in the league earns first pick and so forth. 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 Rising Stars Challenge (originally Rookie Challenge), where the top rookies and second-year players in the NBA play in a 5-on-5 basketball game, with the current format pitting U.S. players against those from the rest of the world; the Skills Challenge, 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 highest number 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.[52] 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 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 is awarded to the most outstanding first-year player. The Most Improved Player Award 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 is awarded to the league's best defender. The Coach of the Year Award is awarded to the coach that has made the most positive difference to a team. The Most Valuable Player Award is given to the player deemed the most valuable for (his team) that season. Additionally, Sporting News awards an unofficial (but widely recognized) Executive of the Year Award 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, the All-Defensive Team, and the All-Rookie Team; 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

The NBA Playoffs begin in late April, with the top eight teams in each conference, regardless of divisional alignment, competing for the Championship. Seeds are awarded in strict order of regular-season record (with a tiebreaker system used as needed).

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. Before the league changed its playoff determination format for the 2006–07 season, this meant that, for example, if the team that received the 6 seed had a better record than the team with the 3 seed (by virtue of a divisional championship), the 6 seed would have home court advantage, even though the other team had 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 won 44 games and captured the Northwest Division and the #3 seed. Their opponent was the #6 seed Los Angeles Clippers, 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 5.

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, the best-of-7 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. From 1985 to 2013, the NBA Finals followed a 2–3–2 pattern, meaning that one team had home court in games 1, 2, 6, and 7, while the other played at home in games 3, 4, and 5.[53]

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

The league began using its current format, with the top eight teams in each conference advancing regardless of divisional alignment, in the 2015–16 season. Previously, the top three seeds went to the division winners.[54]

Championships

The Boston Celtics have won the most championships with 17 NBA Finals wins. The second most successful franchise is the Los Angeles Lakers, who have 16 overall championships (11 in Los Angeles, 5 in Minneapolis). Following the Lakers, are the Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors (2 in Philadelphia, 4 in Oakland) with six championships each. The San Antonio Spurs have five championships, all since 1999.

Teams Win Loss Total Year(s) won Year(s) runner-up
Boston Celtics 17 4 21 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1976, 1981, 1984, 1986, 2008 1958, 1985, 1987, 2010
Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers 16 15 31 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1972, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010 1959, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1973, 1983, 1984, 1989, 1991, 2004, 2008
Philadelphia/San Francisco/Golden State Warriors 6 4 10 1947, 1956, 1975, 2015, 2017, 2018 1948, 1964, 1967, 2016
Chicago Bulls 6 0 6 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998
San Antonio Spurs 5 1 6 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014 2013
Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers 3 6 9 1955, 1967, 1983 1950, 1954, 1977, 1980, 1982, 2001
Fort Wayne/Detroit Pistons 3 4 7 1989, 1990, 2004 1955, 1956, 1988, 2005
Miami Heat 3 2 5 2006, 2012, 2013 2011, 2014
New York Knicks 2 6 8 1970, 1973 1951, 1952, 1953, 1972, 1994, 1999
Houston Rockets 2 2 4 1994, 1995 1981, 1986
Cleveland Cavaliers 1 4 5 2016 2007, 2015, 2017, 2018
St. Louis/Atlanta Hawks 1 3 4 1958 1957, 1960, 1961
Baltimore/Washington Bullets (now Washington Wizards) 1 3 4 1978 1971, 1975, 1979
Seattle SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder 1 3 4 1979 1978, 1996, 2012
Portland Trail Blazers 1 2 3 1977 1990, 1992
Milwaukee Bucks 1 1 2 1971 1974
Dallas Mavericks 1 1 2 2011 2006
Baltimore Bullets (original) (folded in 1954) 1 0 1 1948
Rochester Royals (now Sacramento Kings) 1 0 1 1951
Phoenix Suns 0 2 2 1976, 1993
Utah Jazz (formerly New Orleans Jazz) 0 2 2 1997, 1998
New Jersey Nets (now Brooklyn Nets) 0 2 2 2002, 2003
Orlando Magic 0 2 2 1995, 2009
Chicago Stags (folded in 1950) 0 1 1 1947
Washington Capitols (folded in 1951) 0 1 1 1949
Indiana Pacers 0 1 1 2000

Current teams that have no NBA Finals appearances:

Media coverage

As one of the major sports leagues in North America, the NBA has a long history of partnerships with television networks in the United States. The NBA signed a contract with DuMont Television Network in its eighth season, the 1953–54 season, marking the first year the NBA had a national television broadcaster. Similar to the National Football League, the lack of television stations led to NBC taking over the rights from the 1954-55 season until April 7, 1962–NBC's first tenure with the NBA. Currently in the U.S., the NBA has a contract with ESPN and TNT through the 2024–25 season. Games that are not broadcast nationally are usually aired over regional sports networks specific to the area where the teams are located.

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. This tournament was won by the NBA invitee every year it was held.[55]

Ticket prices and viewership demographics

In 2012, a ticket cost from $10 to $3,000 apiece, depending on the location of the seat and the success of the teams that were playing.[56]

Viewership demographics

According to Nielsen's survey, the NBA has the youngest audience, with 45 percent of its viewers under 35, but the least likely, along with Major League Baseball, to be watched by women, who make up only 30% of the viewership. It also has the highest share of black viewers with 45 percent of its viewers being black and only about 40 percent of viewers being white, making it the only top North American sport that does not have a white majority audience.[57]

Notable people

Presidents and commissioners

Players

Foreign players

International influence

Following pioneers like Vlade Divac (Serbia) and Dražen Petrović (Croatia) 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 foreign players who have won NBA awards or have been otherwise recognized for their contributions to basketball, either currently or formerly active in the league:

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:

Since 2006, the NBA has faced EuroLeague teams in exhibition matches in the NBA Europe Live Tour, and since 2009 in the EuroLeague American Tour.

The 2013–14 season opened with a record 92 international players on the opening night rosters, representing 39 countries and comprising over 20% of the league[24] The NBA defines "international" players as those born outside the 50 United States and Washington, D.C. This means that:

  • Players born in U.S. possessions such as Puerto Rico and the U.S., Virgin Islands, most notably USVI native Tim Duncan, are counted as "international" even though they are U.S. citizens by birth, and may even have represented the U.S. in international competition (like Duncan).
  • U.S.-born players are not counted as "international" even if they were born with citizenship in another country and represent that country internationally, such as Joakim Noah, and Kosta Koufos.

Coaches

See also

Affiliates
Miscellaneous
Mobile Applications
Mozilla Firefox Addons
  • NBA Scoreboard
Notable statistics
Store
Television partners
Video games

References

  1. ^ a b Koppett, Leonard (December 7, 2007). "The NBA -- 1946: A New League". NBA.com. NBA Media Ventures, LLC. Retrieved March 8, 2016. On June 6, 1946-two years to the day after the invasion of Normandy, exactly ten months after the first atom bomb fell on Japan-they formed the Basketball Association of America during a meeting at New York's Commodore Hotel, next to Grand Central Station.
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  3. ^ "REVEALED: The world's best paid teams, Man City close in on Barca and Real Madrid". SportingIntelligence.com. May 1, 2012. Retrieved June 11, 2012.
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  50. ^ a b c Eisenberg, Jeff (December 24, 2009). "Christmas Tradition". The Riverside (Ca.) Press-Enterprise. p. B1.
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  52. ^ "NBA Trading Deadline Trades Since 1987". NBA.com. NBA Media Ventures, LLC. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
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  55. ^ "New club basketball championship to debut in 2010". ESPN. December 9, 2008. Retrieved June 13, 2011.
  56. ^ Reader's Digest: 50. January 2013. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  57. ^ Thompson, Derek. "Which Sports Have the Whitest/Richest/Oldest Fans?". Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  58. ^ Salvadore, Damon (June 17, 2015). "Leandro Barbosa Makes NBA History as Golden State Warriors Defeat Cleveland Cavaliers in Finals". Latin Post. Retrieved January 20, 2016.

Further reading

  • Rosen, Charley (2009). The First Tip-Off: The Incredible Story of the Birth of the NBA. McGraw-Hill Professional. ISBN 0-07-148785-9.
  • Editors of Sports Illustrated (2007). Sports Illustrated: The Basketball Book. Sports Illustrated. ISBN 1-933821-19-1.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  • Havlicek, John (2003). NBA's Greatest 1st edition. DK. ISBN 0-7894-9977-0.
  • Peterson, Robert W. (2002). Cages to Jump Shots: Pro Basketball's Early Years. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-8772-0.

External links

2003 NBA draft

The 2003 NBA draft was held on June 26, 2003, at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. The NBA announced that 41 college and high school players and a record 31 international players had filed as early-entry candidates for the 2003 NBA draft. The Cleveland Cavaliers, who had a 22.50 percent probability of obtaining the first selection, won the NBA draft lottery on May 22, and Cleveland chairman Gordon Gund said afterward his team would select LeBron James. The Detroit Pistons and the Denver Nuggets were second and third respectively.

The 2003 draft is known for having one of the most talented draft pools in draft history. The draft contained fifteen players that combined for twenty-six championships. Four of the top five picks are NBA All-Stars and "Redeem Team" Olympic Gold Medalists: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James. Many players have been in the starting line-ups of their respective teams; nine have participated in an All-Star Game, Dwyane Wade was named NBA Finals MVP in 2006 and won the NBA All Star Game MVP in 2010. Boris Diaw won the Most Improved Player Award in 2006, Jason Kapono won the three point shootout back-to-back years in 2007 and 2008, James Jones won the three point shootout in 2011, Leandro Barbosa won the Sixth Man Award in 2007, Kyle Korver set the NBA record for three point shooting percentage in 2010 (53.6%), and in the 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013 seasons LeBron James won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award, and the NBA Finals MVP in 2012, 2013 and 2016. Carmelo Anthony won the 2013 NBA Scoring Title and is the only player in NBA history to win at least three Olympic gold medals. Zaza Pachulia and David West won NBA championships with the Golden State Warriors in 2017 and 2018. Matt Bonner won NBA championships with the San Antonio Spurs in 2007 and 2014. Dahntay Jones and Mo Williams won the NBA championship in 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Luke Walton won three NBA championships, two as a player with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and 2010 and one as an assistant coach with the Warriors in 2015. Chris Bosh left Toronto in 2010 as its all-time leader in points, rebounds, blocks, double doubles, free throws made and attempted, and minutes played. The 2003 draft class has drawn comparisons to the 1984 and 1996 NBA draft classes, but is also known for the Detroit Pistons having made the selection of Darko Miličić with the second pick over other prospects. Out of the entire draft, only Nick Collison has played his entire career for the team that drafted him.

2003–04 NBA season

The 2003–04 NBA season was the 58th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Detroit Pistons defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 4–1 in the 2004 NBA Finals.

Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award

The Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award (formerly known as the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award) is an annual National Basketball Association (NBA) award given since the 1969 NBA Finals. The award is decided by a panel of eleven media members, who cast votes after the conclusion of the Finals. The person with the highest number of votes wins the award. The award was originally a black trophy with a gold basketball-shaped sphere at the top, similar to the Larry O'Brien Trophy, until a new trophy was introduced in 2005 to commemorate Bill Russell.Since its inception, the award has been given to 31 players. Michael Jordan is a record six-time award winner. Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, Tim Duncan and LeBron James won the award three times in their careers. Jordan and O'Neal are the only players to win the award in three consecutive seasons (Jordan accomplished the feat on two separate occasions). Johnson is the only rookie ever to win the award, as well as the youngest at 20 years old. Andre Iguodala is the only winner to have not started every game in the series. Jerry West, the first ever awardee, is the only person to win the award while being on the losing team in the NBA Finals. Willis Reed, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant won the award twice. Olajuwon, Durant, Bryant, and James have won the award in two consecutive seasons. Abdul-Jabbar and James are the only players to win the award for two teams. Olajuwon of Nigeria, who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1993, Tony Parker of France, and Dirk Nowitzki of Germany are the only international players to win the award. Duncan is an American citizen, but is considered an "international" player by the NBA because he was not born in one of the fifty states or Washington, D.C. Parker and Nowitzki are the only winners to have been trained totally outside the U.S.; Olajuwon played college basketball at Houston and Duncan at Wake Forest. Cedric Maxwell is the only Finals MVP winner eligible for the Hall of Fame who has not been voted in.On February 14, 2009, during the 2009 NBA All-Star Weekend in Phoenix, then-NBA Commissioner David Stern announced that the award would be renamed the "Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award" in honor of 11-time NBA champion Bill Russell.

Doc Rivers

Glenn Anton "Doc" Rivers (born October 13, 1961) is an American basketball coach and former player who is the head coach for the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). As an NBA point guard, Rivers was known for his defense.

John Havlicek

John Joseph "Hondo" Havlicek ( HAV-li-chek; born April 8, 1940) is an American retired professional basketball player who competed for 16 seasons with the Boston Celtics, winning eight NBA championships, four of them coming in his first four seasons.

In the National Basketball Association, only teammates Bill Russell and Sam Jones won more championships during their playing careers, and Havlicek is one of three NBA players with an unsurpassed 8–0 record in NBA Finals series outcomes. Havlicek is widely considered to be one of the greatest players in the history of the game and was inducted as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984. He was a three-sport athlete at Bridgeport High School in Bridgeport, Ohio.

John Stockton

John Houston Stockton (born March 26, 1962) is an American former professional basketball player. He spent his entire professional playing career as a point guard for the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association (NBA), from 1984 to 2003. Stockton is regarded as one of the greatest point guards of all time, holding the NBA records for most career assists and steals by wide margins.He is a ten-time NBA All-Star, and a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee (in 2009 for his individual career, and in 2010 as a member of the 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team "Dream Team"). In 2015, Stockton became an assistant coach for the Montana State University women's basketball team.

Karl Malone

Karl Anthony Malone (born July 24, 1963) is an American retired professional basketball player. Nicknamed "The Mailman", Malone played the power forward position and spent his first 18 seasons (1985–2003) in the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the Utah Jazz and formed a formidable duo with his teammate John Stockton. Malone also played one season for the Los Angeles Lakers. Malone was a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, a 14-time NBA All-Star, and an 11-time member of the All-NBA first team. His 36,928 career points scored rank second all-time in NBA history (behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), and he holds the records for most free throws attempted and made, in addition to co-holding the record for the second-most first team All-NBA selections in history (tied with Kobe Bryant and behind LeBron James). He is considered one of the greatest power forwards in NBA history.Malone played college basketball at Louisiana Tech University. In his three seasons with Louisiana Tech, he helped the Bulldogs basketball team to its first-ever NCAA tournament in 1984 and to first place in the Southland Conference in 1985. The Utah Jazz drafted Malone in 1985 with the 13th overall pick in the first round. Malone appeared in the playoffs every season in his career, including the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998 with the Jazz. He played his final season with the Los Angeles Lakers, with whom he played his third Finals in 2004. Malone has the most career postseason losses of any NBA player ever, with 95. Malone also competed with the United States national team in the Summer Olympic Games of 1992 and 1996; in both years he won gold medals. After retiring from the NBA, Malone joined the staff of the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs basketball team in 2007 and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010 (twice – for his individual career, and as a member of the 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team).

List of NBA champions

The National Basketball Association (NBA) (formerly Basketball Association of America (BAA) from 1946 to 1949) Finals is the championship series for the NBA and the conclusion of the NBA's postseason. All Finals have been played in a best-of-seven format, and contested between the winners of the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference (formerly Divisions before 1970), except in 1950 in which the Eastern Division champion faced the winner between the Western and Central Division champions. Prior to 1949, the playoffs were instituted a three-stage tournament where the two semifinal winners played each other in the finals. The winning team of the series receives the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy.

The home-and-away format in the NBA Finals is in a 2–2–1–1–1 format (the team with the better regular season record plays on their home court in Games 1, 2, 5 and 7) during 1947–1948, 1950–1952, 1957–1970, 1972–1974, 1976–1977, 1979–1984, 2014–present. It was previously in a 2–3–2 format (the team with the better regular season record plays on their home court in Games 1, 2, 6 and 7) during 1949, 1953–1955, and 1985–2013, in a 1–1–1–1–1–1–1 format during 1956 and 1971 and in a 1–2–2–1–1 format during 1975 and 1978.The Eastern Conference/Division leads the Western Conference/Division in series won (38–32). The defunct Central Division won one championship. The Boston Celtics and the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers alone own almost half of the titles, having won a combined 33 of 72 championships.

List of National Basketball Association career scoring leaders

This chart provides leading statistics on National Basketball Association players' total number of career regular season points scored.

Two lists are provided:

A list of National Basketball Association players by total career regular season points scored.

A progressive list of scoring leaders showing how the record increased through the past seasons.These are the current official NBA scoring leaders:

The current actively playing scoring leader is LeBron James with 32,439 total points scored across his career.The player with the highest number of points scored in NBA history is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 38,387 total points scored.The record for total number of points scored in a single season belongs to Wilt Chamberlain at 4,039 points.

List of first overall NBA draft picks

The National Basketball Association's first overall pick is the player who is selected first among all eligible draftees by a team during the annual National Basketball Association (NBA) draft. The first pick is awarded to the team that wins the NBA draft lottery; in most cases, that team had a losing record in the previous season. The team with the first pick attracts significant media attention, as does the player who is selected with that pick.

Eleven first picks have won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award: Oscar Robertson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (record six-time winner), Bill Walton, Magic Johnson (three-time winner), Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal, Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan (two-time winner), LeBron James (four-time winner), and Derrick Rose (youngest winner).

Since the advent of the draft lottery in 1985, seven number one overall picks have won an NBA title. They are David Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal, Glenn Robinson, Tim Duncan, LeBron James, Andrew Bogut, and Kyrie Irving.

China's Yao Ming (2002) and Italy's Andrea Bargnani (2006) are the only two players without competitive experience in the United States to be drafted first overall. Eleven other international players with U.S. college experience have been drafted first overall—Mychal Thompson (Bahamas) in 1978, Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria) in 1984, Patrick Ewing (Jamaica) in 1985, Tim Duncan (U.S. Virgin Islands) in 1997, Michael Olowokandi (Nigeria) in 1998, Andrew Bogut (Australia) in 2005, Kyrie Irving (Australia) in 2011, Anthony Bennett (Canada) in 2013, Andrew Wiggins (Canada) in 2014, Ben Simmons (Australia) in 2016, and Deandre Ayton (Bahamas) in 2018. Duncan is an American citizen, but is considered an "international" player by the NBA because he was not born in one of the fifty states or the District of Columbia. Ewing had dual Jamaican-American citizenship when he was drafted and Irving and Simmons had dual Australian-American citizenship when they were drafted.

Note that the drafts between 1947 and 1949 were held by the Basketball Association of America (BAA). The Basketball Association of America became the National Basketball Association after absorbing teams from the National Basketball League in the fall of 1949. Official NBA publications include the BAA Drafts as part of the NBA's draft history.

Moses Malone

Moses Eugene Malone (March 23, 1955 – September 13, 2015) was an American basketball player who played in both the American Basketball Association (ABA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1974 through 1995. The center was named the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) three times and was a 12-time NBA All-Star and an eight-time All-NBA Team selection. Malone won his only NBA championship in 1983, when he was both the league and Finals MVP with the Philadelphia 76ers. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2001.

Malone began his professional career out of high school after he was selected in the third round of the 1974 ABA Draft by the Utah Stars. He was named an ABA All-Star as a rookie and played two seasons in the league until it merged with the NBA in 1976. He landed in the NBA with the Buffalo Braves, who traded him after two games to the Houston Rockets. Malone became a five-time All-Star in six seasons with the Rockets. After leading the NBA in rebounding in 1979, he was named league MVP for the first time. He led the Rockets to the NBA Finals in 1981, and won his second MVP award in 1982. Malone was traded to Philadelphia the following season, when he repeated as MVP and led the 76ers to a championship in his first year. In his first of two stints with Philadelphia, he was an All-Star in each of his four seasons. Following another trade, Malone was an All-Star in his only two seasons with the then Washington Bullets (today's Wizards). He signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Hawks, earning his 12th straight and final All-Star selection in his first season. In his later years, he played with the Milwaukee Bucks before returning to the 76ers and completing his career with the San Antonio Spurs.

Malone was a tireless and physical player who led the NBA in rebounding six times, including a then-record five straight seasons (1981–1985). Nicknamed the "Chairman of the Boards" for his rebounding prowess, he finished his career as the all-time leader in offensive rebounds after leading both the ABA and NBA in the category a combined nine times. Combining his ABA and NBA statistics, Malone ranks ninth all-time in career points (29,580) and third in total rebounds (17,834). He was named to both the ABA All-Time Team and the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.

NBA Most Valuable Player Award

The National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) is an annual National Basketball Association (NBA) award given since the 1955–56 season to the best performing player of the regular season. The winner receives the Maurice Podoloff Trophy, which is named in honor of the first commissioner (then president) of the NBA, who served from 1946 until 1963. Until the 1979–80 season, the MVP was selected by a vote of NBA players. Since the 1980–81 season, the award is decided by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada.

Each member of the voting panel casts a vote for first to fifth place selections. Each first-place vote is worth 10 points; each second-place vote is worth seven; each third-place vote is worth five, fourth-place is worth three and fifth-place is worth one. Starting from 2010, one ballot was cast by fans through online voting. The player with the highest point total wins the award. As of June 2018, the current holder of the award is James Harden of the Houston Rockets.

Every player who has won this award and has been eligible for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has been inducted. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won the award a record six times. He is also the only player to win the award despite his team not making the playoffs back in the 1975–76 season. Both Bill Russell and Michael Jordan won the award five times, while Wilt Chamberlain and LeBron James won the award four times. Russell and James are the only players to have won the award four times in five seasons. Moses Malone, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson each won the award three times, while Bob Pettit, Karl Malone, Tim Duncan, Steve Nash and Stephen Curry have each won it twice. Only two rookies have won the award: Chamberlain in the 1959–60 season and Wes Unseld in the 1968–69 season. Hakeem Olajuwon of Nigeria, Duncan of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Nash of Canada and Dirk Nowitzki of Germany are the only MVP winners considered "international players" by the NBA.Curry in 2015–16 is the only player to have won the award unanimously. Shaquille O'Neal in 1999–2000 and James in 2012–13 are the only two players to have fallen one vote shy of a unanimous selection, both receiving 120 of 121 votes. Since the 1975–76 season, only two players have been named MVP for a season in which their team failed to win at least 50 regular-season games—Moses Malone (twice, 1978–79 and 1981–82) and Russell Westbrook (2016–17).

NBA Rookie of the Year Award

The National Basketball Association's Rookie of the Year Award is an annual National Basketball Association (NBA) award given to the top rookie(s) of the regular season. Initiated following the 1952–53 NBA season, it confers the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy, named after the former Philadelphia Warriors head coach.

The winner is selected by a panel of United States and Canadian sportswriters and broadcasters, each casting first, second, and third place votes (worth five points, three points, and one point respectively). The player(s) with the highest point total, regardless of the number of first-place votes, wins the award.The most recent Rookie of the Year winner is Ben Simmons. Twenty-one winners were drafted first overall. Sixteen winners have also won the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in their careers; Wilt Chamberlain and Wes Unseld earning both honors the same season. Nineteen of the forty two non-active winners have been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Three seasons had joint winners—Dave Cowens and Geoff Petrie in the 1970–71 season, Grant Hill and Jason Kidd in the 1994–95 season, and Elton Brand and Steve Francis in the 1999–2000 season. Five players won the award unanimously (by capturing all of the first-place votes) – Ralph Sampson, David Robinson, Blake Griffin, Damian Lillard, and Karl-Anthony Towns.Patrick Ewing of Jamaica, Pau Gasol of Spain, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons of Australia and Andrew Wiggins of Canada are the only winners not born in the United States. Three of these individuals have dual nationality by birth—Wiggins and Simmons have American fathers, and both of Irving's parents are Americans. Ewing immigrated to the Boston area at age 11, Irving moved to the United States at age 2, and Wiggins and Simmons moved to the U.S. while in high school. Gasol is the only winner trained totally outside the U.S.

NBA draft

The NBA draft is an annual event dating back to 1947 in which the teams from the National Basketball Association (NBA) can draft players who are eligible and wish to join the league. These are typically college basketball players, but international players are also eligible to be drafted. College players who have finished their four-year college eligibility are automatically eligible for selection, while the underclassmen have to declare their eligibility and give up their remaining college eligibility. International players who are at least 22 years old are automatically eligible for selection, while the players younger than 22 have to declare their eligibility. Players who are not automatically eligible but have declared their eligibility are often called "early-entrants" or "early-entry candidates". The draft usually takes place near the end of June, during the NBA offseason. Since 1989, the draft has consisted of two rounds; this is much shorter than the entry drafts of the other major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada, all of which run at least seven rounds. Sixty players are selected in each draft. No player may sign with the NBA until he has been eligible for at least one draft.In the past, high school players were also eligible to be selected. However, starting in the 2006 draft, high school players were not eligible to enter the draft directly after graduating from high school. The rules now state that high school players will gain eligibility for draft selection one year after their high school graduation, and they must also be at least 19 years old as of the end of the calendar year of the draft. Some players have chosen to use that year to play professionally overseas for example, such as Brandon Jennings (Italy), Emmanuel Mudiay (China), Luka Doncic (Slovenia), and Terrance Ferguson (Australia). Thon Maker was eligible for the 2016 draft despite not going to college because he chose to undertake a postgraduate year, so he was technically one year removed from graduation.

NBA playoffs

The NBA playoffs are a best-of-seven elimination tournament annually held after the National Basketball Association (NBA)’s regular season to determine the league's champion.

Point (basketball)

Points in basketball are used to keep track of the score in a game. Points can be accumulated by making field goals (two or three points) or free throws (one point). If a player makes a field goal from within the three-point line, the player scores two points. If the player makes a field goal from beyond the three-point line, the player scores three points. The team that has recorded the most points at the end of a game is declared that game's winner.

Reggie Miller

Reginald Wayne Miller (born August 24, 1965) is an American retired professional basketball player who played his entire 18-year National Basketball Association (NBA) career with the Indiana Pacers. Miller was known for his precision three-point shooting, especially in pressure situations and most notably against the New York Knicks, for which he earned the nickname "Knick Killer". When he retired, he held the record for most career 3-point field goals made. He is currently second on the list behind Ray Allen. A five-time All-Star selection, Miller led the league in free throw accuracy five times and won a gold medal in the 1996 Summer Olympics.

Miller is widely considered the Pacers' greatest player of all time. His No. 31 was retired by the team in 2006. Currently, he works as an NBA commentator for TNT. On September 7, 2012, Miller was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Steve Nash

Stephen John Nash, (born 7 February 1974), is a Canadian former professional basketball player who played 18 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was an eight-time NBA All-Star and a seven-time All-NBA selection. Twice, Nash was named the NBA Most Valuable Player while playing for the Phoenix Suns. He currently serves as general manager of the Canadian national team and as a player development consultant for the Golden State Warriors.

After a successful high school basketball career in British Columbia, Nash earned a scholarship to Santa Clara University in California. In his four seasons with the Broncos, the team made three NCAA Tournament appearances, and he was twice named the West Coast Conference (WCC) Player of the Year. Nash graduated from Santa Clara as the team's all-time leader in assists and was taken as the 15th pick in the 1996 NBA draft by the Phoenix Suns. He made minimal impact and was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in 1998. By his fourth season with the Mavericks, he was voted to his first NBA All-Star Game and had earned his first All-NBA selection. Together with Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Finley, Nash led the Mavericks to the Western Conference Finals the following season. He became a free agent after the 2003–04 season and returned to the Phoenix Suns.

In the 2004–05 season, Nash led the Suns to the Western Conference Finals and was named the league's MVP. He was named MVP again in the 2005–06 season and was runner-up for a third consecutive MVP to Nowitzki in 2006–07. Named by ESPN in 2006 as the ninth-greatest point guard of all time, Nash led the league in assists and free-throw percentage at various points in his career. He is also ranked as one of the top players in NBA league history in three-point shooting, free-throw shooting, total assists, and assists per game.

Nash has been honoured for his contributions to various philanthropic causes. In 2006, he was named by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2007 and invested to the order in 2016, and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws by the University of Victoria in 2008. Nash has been a co-owner of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC of Major League Soccer (MLS) since the team entered the league in 2011. In 2012, he was named general manager of the Canadian men's national basketball team, for whom he played from 1991 to 2003, making one Olympic appearance and being twice named FIBA AmeriCup MVP.

Women's National Basketball Association

The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) is a professional basketball league in the United States. It is currently composed of twelve teams.

The league was founded on April 24, 1996, as the women's counterpart to the National Basketball Association (NBA), and league play started in 1997. The regular season is played from May to September with the All Star game being played midway through the season in July and the WNBA Finals at the end of September until the beginning of October.

Five WNBA teams have direct NBA counterparts and play in the same arena: the Indiana Fever, Los Angeles Sparks, Minnesota Lynx, Phoenix Mercury, and Washington Mystics. The Atlanta Dream, Chicago Sky, Connecticut Sun, Dallas Wings, Las Vegas Aces, New York Liberty, and Seattle Storm do not share an arena with a direct NBA counterpart, although four of the seven (the Dream, the Sky, the Wings, and the Liberty) share a market with an NBA counterpart, and the Storm shared an arena and market with an NBA team at the time of its founding. The Dream, the Sky, the Sun, the Wings, the Aces, the Sparks, and the Storm are all independently owned.

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