From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
- "NBA" redirects here. For other uses, see NBA (disambiguation).
The National Basketball Association, more popularly known as the NBA, is the world's premier men's professional basketball league and one of the major professional sports leagues of North America.
The NBA was founded in New York City on June 6, 1946 as the Basketball Association of America (BAA). The league adopted the name National Basketball Association in the fall of 1949 after merging with the rival National Basketball League. The league's several international and individual team offices are directed out its head offices located in the Olympic Tower at 645 Fifth Avenue in New York City. NBA Entertainment and NBA TV studios are directed out of offices located in Secaucus, New Jersey.
Following the summer breaks, teams hold training camps in October. Training camps allow 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 12-man active roster and, if needed, a 3-man injured 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. In the first week of November, the NBA regular season begins.
In the regular season, each team plays 82 game, which are divided evenly between home and away games. Schedules are not identical for all teams. A team faces opponents in its own division four times a year, teams from the other two divisions in its conference either three or four times, and teams in the other conference twice apiece. A team can therefore have a relatively easy or difficult schedule, depending on the division and conference it is located in. Following the recent changes to the National Hockey League's scheduling format, the NBA is now the only major league in which all the teams play each other during the regular season, and where a season ticket holder can see every team in the league come to town in any one season.
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 remaining 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 Game MVP award, which is usually given to a player on the winning team. Other attractions of the All-Star break include the got milk? Rookie Challenge game, which pits the best rookies and the best second-year players against each other; the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout, a competition between players to see who is the best 3-point shooter; and the Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk contest, to see which player dunks the ball in the most entertaining way.
Shortly after the All-Star break is the league's trade deadline. 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. Often, 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 individual awards, as well as the selection of the honorary league-wide postseason teams. 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 Most Improved Player Award is awarded to the most improved 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 Most Valuable Player Award is given to player deemed most valuable for that season. Additionally, The Sporting News awards an unofficial (but widely recognized) NBA Executive of the Year Award to the general manager who is adjudged to have done the best job for his franchise.
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 top players at each position, with first-team status being 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.
- Main article: NBA Playoffs
In late April, the NBA Playoffs begin. Eight teams in each conference 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 the conference and ranking them by regular season record. The remaining five seeds are determined by taking the five teams with the next-best records from among the non-division winning teams 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. 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 6 (six) seed has a better record than the team with the 3 (three) seed (seeded thus by virtue of a divisional championship), the 6 seed would have home court advantage, even though the other team has a higher seed than them. Therefore, the team with the best regular season record in the league is guaranteed home court advantage in every series it plays.
The playoffs follow a tournament format. Each team plays a rival 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 successful team plays against another advancing team of the same conference. Thus, 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, the best of seven series follows a 2-2-1-1-1 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.
The final playoff round, a best-of-seven series between the victors of both conferences, is known as the NBA Finals, held annually in June. 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. In addition, the league awards an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award, which, while not by rule, nearly always goes to a member of the winning team. There has been only one exception to date: Jerry West won the award in 1969 (the award's first season) even though his Los Angeles Lakers did not win the championship.
The Collective Bargining Agreement between the two agencies expired on June 30, 2005. On June 22, 2005, a bargaining agreement was reached, preventing a lockout. The last time the NBA went though a lockout, a large portion of the 1998-99 season was cancelled, resulting in a shortened 50-game regular season schedule. The All-Star game was not played that year, but the playoffs were not affected. Fortunately for fans an agreement was reached, with the most significant change being an assignment system within the NBDL, as well as a one time salary cap amnesty clause.
Presidents and commissioners