What is the National Basketball Association, known as NBA?
The National Basketball Association, more known as the NBA, is a professional basketball league formed in the United Stats of America in 1949 by the merger of two rival organizations, the National Basketball League (founded in 1937) and the Basketball Association of America (founded in 1946).
In 1976 the NBA absorbed four teams from the American Basketball Association (ABA), which disbanded that year.
League growth and membership
By the early 1980s the NBA was plagued by money-losing franchises, low attendance, declining television ratings and, limited national appeal. The league soon rebounded under the leadership of David Stern, NBA commissioner from 1984, who helped transform it into an international entertainment company. Aggressive marketing highlighted star players such as Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and, especially Michael Jordan.
Other innovations included league limits on players salaries, lucrative broadcast rights for networks and cable television and, expanded All-Star Game festivities.
The National Basketball Association membership was divided into two conferences, each with three divisions. At total, there were 30 teams, aligned as follows:
- Atlantic Division: Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors
- Central Division: Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks
- Southeast Division: Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Washington Wizards
- Southwest Division: Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans
- Northwest Division: Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers
- Pacific Division: Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers
When the NBA was founded, each team only played around 60 games per season, but that number soon went up when new franchises joined the league and the NBA began to earn more money. The first time NBA teams had to play 82 games in one season was in the 1967-1968 season. That season, two expansion teams, the San Diego Rockets and the Seattle Supersonics, joined the league. Therefore, the total amount of games went up from 81 to 82 games per season. At that point, the NBA had 12 active teams, which meant that each team had to play against each other team in their conference eight times and, against teams in other conferences seven times. Since then, 18 more NBA teams have joined the league, but the amount of games per team has stayed the same. Now, each team plays about 3.5 games per week in about 165 games.
The NBA uses a formula to decide on the scheduling of games. That formula consists of 5 different factors that can be divided in different categories. The five factors are: the scheduling formula, court availability, official breaks, conflicts and broadcasters.
- Each team has to play four games against the other four teams in their division. (16 games in total)
- Four games against six out-of-division conference teams. (24 games in total)
- Three games against the other four teams in the conference. (12 games)
- Two games against all teams in the opposing conference. (30 games)
There are 15 teams in a conference and, after a team plays against all four teams in their division, there are still 10 opponents left. Then, a five-year rotation decides which of those teams are played against four times and which teams are played against three times.
Before the end of the previous season, every team has to submit a list with 50 dates their home court will be available, under which 4 Mondays and 4 Thursdays.
There are several pre-determined days when there are no games, such as holidays and during the All-Star weekend.
Some NBA teams play on courts or arenas that house several professional sports teams, such as the LA Lakers and the LA Clippers and, the NY Knicks and the NY Rangers (NHL). These scheduling conflicts have to be resolved beforehand. For example, there has to be enough time between a Knicks and Rangers game, so they can convert the court.
The broadcasters pay a lot of money to gain the rights of the NBA, therefore they have some say in when the games will be played. For their convenience, the time a game starts can be moved to better fit their broadcasting schedule.