The History of the NBA

For decades, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has been the premier professional basketball league in the world. It was founded in 1946 as the Basketball Association of America (BAA) with only eleven teams and eventually merged with the National Basketball League (NBL) to become the NBA we know today. Throughout its history, the NBA has grown to include thirty teams across the United States and Canada and is home to some of the greatest players in history. With its star-studded lineups, fierce rivalries, and thrilling playoffs, the NBA is a premier global sports league that has captivated fans around the world. From its humble beginnings in the 1940s to its international success today, the NBA continues to capture the hearts of fans and players alike.

History of the NBA

The history of the NBA dates back to the 1940s when the BAA (Basketball Association of America) was founded. The BAA was created to rival the already-established NBL (National Basketball League). The BAA sought to expand eastward, while the NBL was focused on the Midwest. The BAA and NBL both grew to include eleven teams each, and in 1949, the teams finally merged to become the modern-day NBA. Since the merger, the NBA has grown to include thirty teams across North America. The NBA is currently the premier basketball league in the world and is home to some of the greatest players in history. The NBA's history is dotted with notable rivalries, including the Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers, the Bulls vs. the Knicks, and the Rockets vs. the Clippers.

a. Founding of the BAA

The BAA was created in 1946 to rival the already-established National Basketball League (NBL). The BAA sought to expand eastward, while the NBL was focused on the Midwest. The BAA and NBL both grew to include eleven teams each. It was not until 1949 that the teams finally merged to become the modern-day NBA. The BAA began to play in the 1946–47 season with 11 teams: the New York Knickerbockers, Philadelphia Warriors, Washington Capitols, Boston Celtics, Chicago Stags, Providence Steamrollers, St. Louis Bombers, Toronto Huskies, Pittsburgh Ironmen, and Detroit Gems.

b. Merger between BAA and NBL

In the league's first few seasons, attendance was poor as basketball was not yet a popular sport. Teams often had to host games in local YMCAs or armories as their venues were less than adequate for proper play. During the 1949 season, the BAA teams began to increase attendance, and the league had an estimated 2,000,000 fans attending games at an average of 3,000 per game. This caused the BAA to merge with the NBL to form the National Basketball Association. The newly-formed NBA retained the BAA's league structure of two eight-team divisions, and the new league had 17 franchises. The sixteen NBL teams formed their own Western Division, while the original BAA teams formed the Eastern Division. Nine of the 16 NBL teams joined the Eastern Division, while the other seven NBL teams joined the Western Division. The terms of the merger stated that the NBL's New York franchise would be transferred to the Eastern Division once they had finished construction on a new arena. The remaining NBL teams would be placed in the Western Division.

c. Expansion of teams

The first decade of the NBA was marked by heavy expansion. Four new teams were added to the league: the Tri-Cities Blackhawks (now the Atlanta Hawks), the Denver Nuggets, the Fort Wayne Pistons, and the Rochester Royals. In addition, the BAA's Washington Capitols folded after the 1950-1951 season, while the New York Knickerbockers were transferred to the Western Division when their new arena was completed. This left the league with 17 teams playing a 48-game season. In the early 1960s, the league added three more franchises: the San Francisco Warriors, the Baltimore Bullets, and the Philadelphia Warriors (now the Golden State Warriors). The final team to join the league was the Portland Trailblazers, who began playing in 1970 after the franchise was formed. The addition of these teams brought the league to 23 teams playing an 80-game season.

Greatest NBA Players

The NBA has hosted some of the greatest players in history. From Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Michael Jordan, these players have made the NBA their home throughout their careers. Abdul-Jabbar is the most decorated player in NBA history. He was named the league's Most Valuable Player six times, was the season's top scorer 10 times, and led the company in blocked shots and points scored five times each. He retired with the record for most points scored (38,387), most games played (1,560), and most minutes played in a career (57,892). Jordan is perhaps the most successful player in NBA history. He retired as the season's top scorer six times, led the league in steals six times, and was the top rebounder once. He was named the MVP five times and led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships.


The NBA is home to many fierce rivalries between teams and players. Two of these rivalries are the Celtics vs. the Lakers and the Bulls vs. the Knicks. The Celtics vs. the Lakers: These two teams are the most decorated in NBA history, and have faced off in many memorable playoff series. The two teams have met in the Finals nine times, with the Celtics winning five of them. The Bulls vs. the Knicks: These two teams have faced off in the playoffs nine times, with the Bulls winning seven of them.

NBA Playoffs

The NBA Playoffs are the postseason tournament held after the conclusion of the NBA regular season. The top eight teams in each conference advance to the playoffs, and the teams play a best-of-seven series to determine which team advances to the next round. The two teams that advance to the Finals play a best-of-seven series to determine the NBA champions. The current NBA playoff format was implemented in 1984, and it has been changed several times since then. The format has remained mostly the same since 2003, but the number of teams that qualify for the playoffs has increased significantly.

Global Reach of the NBA

The NBA is played at the highest level of basketball and is considered by many fans to be the premier basketball league in the world. The league has grown in popularity across the globe and is home to some of the most recognizable players in the world. The league has expanded to include 30 teams across the United States and Canada as well as several teams in China and Australia. As a result, more people can enjoy the NBA's thrilling gameplay. The NBA continues to captivate fans across the globe. With its star players, fierce rivalries, and thrilling gameplay, the NBA will continue to grow in popularity for years to come.