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Basketball History > NBA

 

NBA History

The National Basketball Association, more popularly known as simply the NBA, is the world's premier men's professional basketball league.

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 adding several teams from 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 on Fifth Avenue. NBA Entertainment and NBA TV studios are directed out of offices located in Secaucus, New Jersey.

Regular season

Following the summer break, 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. 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. 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.

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, which pits the best rookies and the best second-year players against each other; the 3-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 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 player deemed most valuable for that season.

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.

Playoffs

In late April, the NBA 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 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 with the best record has home court advantage in every single round, 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 record receives home court advantage throughout the entire playoffs.

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 and repeat the process. Thus, all but one team in each conference are eliminated from the playoffs. 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. 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.

Lockout

Currently the NBA is bargaining with the Players Association. The Collective Bargining Agreement between the two agencies expires on June 30th, 2005. If a new agreement is not reached, a lockout could occur as early as July 1st.

See Also:

 

NBA Draft

 

 

Wikimedia FoundationAll text is copied from Wikipedia, available under the GNU Free Documentation License
Last Updated May 2005
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