The National Basketball Association of the United States and Canada, commonly known as the NBA, is the premier professional basketball league in North America. Many of the world's best players play in the NBA, and the overall standard of the competition is considerably higher than any other professional competition. Players in other nations looking to jumpstart their career often join NBA teams in the hope of becoming a star player and gaining international exposure.
The NBA was founded in New York City on June 6, 1946 as the Basketball Association of America (BAA). It adopted the name National Basketball Association in the fall of 1949 after adding several teams from the rival National Basketball League.
The NBA, formerly all white players and coaches, became the first professional sports league to have a black head coach in 1966, the first to have a black general manager in 1972, and the first to have a black majority owner in 2002.
The league's several international offices and 30 teams are directed out of New York City (Olympic Tower on Fifth Avenue) and Secaucus, New Jersey (home of NBA Entertainment and NBA TV studios).
The regular season
Following the summer break, teams hold training camps in October. Training camps allows teams to evaluate players, especially rookies, to scout the team's strengths and weaknesses, to prepare the players for the rigorous regular season, and to determine the 15-man roster they will begin the regular season with. After training camp, a series of preseason exhibition games are held. In the first week of November, the NBA regular season begins.
In the regular season, each team plays 82 games, which are divided evenly between home and away games. Teams face teams in their own division four times a year, teams in their own conference at least three times a year, and all other teams twice a year. The number of games a team plays with any given team is unbalanced.
In February, the NBA regular season is interrupted to celebrate the annual NBA All-Star Game. Fans are balloted throughout the United States, Canada and through the internet, 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 remaing 14 All-Stars. Then, East faces West in the All-Star game. The player with the best performance during the game is rewarded with a NBA All-Star Game MVP award, which is usually given to a player on the winning team. Other attractions of the All-Star break include the Rookie-Sophomore game, which pits the best rookies and the best sophomores against each other, the 3-Point Shootout, a competition between players to see who is the best 3-point shooter, and the Slam Dunk Competition, to see which player dunks the ball in the most entertaining way.
Shortly after the All-Star break is the trading deadline. After the trading deadline, teams may no longer trade players, although they can still sign and release players. Many times, major trades are completed right before the trading deadline, making that day a hectic time for general managers.
In April, the regular season ends. It is during this time that voting begins for all the postseason awards and teams of the NBA. The NBA Sixth Man Award is awarded to the best contributor off the bench. The NBA Rookie of the Year Award is awarded to the best rookie player. The NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award is awarded to the league's best defender. The NBA Coach of the Year Award is awarded to either the best coach in the league or the coach that has made the most positive difference to a team. The NBA Executive of the Year Award is awarded to the general manager who has made the best moves during the season. The NBA Most Valuable Player Award is given to the best overall player in the league.
The postseason teams are the All-NBA Teams, the All-Defensive Teams, and the All-Rookie Teams. There are three All-NBA teams, consisting of the three best players at every position that season. There are two All-Defensive teams, consisting of the two best defenders at every position. There are also two All-Rookie teams, consisting of the two best rookies at each position
In April, the regular season ends, and the playoffs begin. The eight teams in each conference with the best regular season records qualify for the playoffs. The seed of each team is determined by several factors. The top three seeds for each conference are determined by taking the winners of the three divisions of each conference and ranking them by regular season record. The other five seeds are determined by taking the five teams with the next-best records in the conference. However, the seeding system has one feature that is unusual in North American sports. Division champions do not necessarily have home-court advantage in the playoffs. Although the playoff brackets are not reseeded, home-court advantage is based strictly on regular-season record, without regard to whether a team won its division.
Having a higher seed offers several advantages. Since the first seed plays 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 in the playoffs, having a higher seed generally means you will be facing a weaker team. In addition, when a team plays another team with a lower seed than them in the first round, the first team gains home court advantage, meaning that it will play more games at home than away. In later rounds, the team with the best regular season record receives home court advantage. Therefore, the team with the best record receives home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
The playoffs are designed like a tournament. Every team plays another team in a best-of-seven series, with the first team to win four games advancing into the second round, while the other team is eliminated from the playoffs. In the next round, the team would play against another advancing team of the same conference and repeat the process. Thus, all but one team in each conference are eliminated from the playoffs.
The final playoff round, a best-of-seven series between the victors of both conferences, is known as the NBA Finals. This is held in June, and is usually highly competitive. The victor in the NBA Finals wins the Larry O'Brien Trophy. Each player and major contributor, including coaches and the general manager, on the winning team receive a championship ring, while the best player on the winning team is awarded the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award. However, there has been one exception to this unwritten rule; Jerry West won the award in 1969 even though his Los Angeles Lakers did not win the championship.
NBA finals championships
NBA Presidents and Commissioners
- Hoop Addicts basketball discussion list (http://www.hoopaddicts.com/)
- NBA official website (http://www.nba.com)
- NBA News (http://www.prosportsdaily.com/nba/nba.html) from Pro Sports Daily
- Doug's NBA Statistics (http://www.dougstats.com/)
- NBA Statistics (http://www.82games.com/teams.htm) from 82games.com
- Patricia's Various Basketball Stuff (http://www.dfw.net/~patricia/index.html)
- a FAQ on NBA Salary Caps (http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm)
- Collective Bargaining Agreement (http://www.nbpa.com/cba/cba.html) from the National Basketball Players Association (http://www.nbpa.com/)
- NBADraft.net (http://www.nbadraft.net/index.asp)
- NBA Draft Prospects Site (http://draftcity.com)
- European Basketball (http://eurobasket.com/)
- Gatorade Virtual GM (http://games.espn.go.com/vgm)
- RealGM Trade Checker (http://www2.realgm.com/src_tradechecker.php)
- Remember the ABA (http://www.remembertheaba.com/)
- Association for Professional Basketball Analysis (http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/APBR_analysis/) discussion group
- Jeff Sagarin NBA ratings (http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/nba0405.htm)
- NBA Players (http://dir.yahoo.com/Recreation/Sports/Basketball/Leagues/National_Basketball_Association__NBA_/Players/) on Yahoo!