When you hear the word basketball, the first thing that probably comes into your mind is NBA basketball. And why not? The NBA or the National Basketball Association is the most popular basketball league all over the world. That’s many thanks to Michael Jordan who’s been an instrument in popularizing NBA both in 1990s and in 1980s.
Basically, the NBA is the premier men’s basketball league in the United States in the professional level, particularly in North America. It is also the top league when it comes to salaries, game popularity, level f competition and talent. At present, there are thirty teams in the NBA coming from both the United States and Canada.
History of NBA
The NBA started out as the Basketball Association of America or the BAA in 1946. Its aim was to organize the top teams in the professional category as well as to make them more popular. The first game of the league was played between the Toronto Huskies and the New York Knickerbockers in Toronto, Canada. In 1949, the name National Basketball Association was adopted.
From this year hereon, NBA continued to evolve along with the addition of more teams. Notable players also started to emerge. It featured famous players like George Mikan who is known in the NBA as the first “big man;” Bob Cousy, the most celebrated point guard; Bill Russell, considered as the genius in defense. Other notable players include;
• Wilt Chamberlain
• Oscar Robertson
• Jerry West
• Karl Malone
• Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
• Julius Erving
• Larry Bird
• Magic Johnson
• Michael Jordan
There are lots of notable NBA players fro the United States. However, not all of the players considered to be among the greatest are from the USA. International players have also made their own marks in the history of NBA. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is among them. Others include;
• Leandro Barbosa – He was from Brazil and was awarded the Sixth Man Award in 2007.
• Pau Gasol – received the NBA Rookie of The Year award in 2002 and became the World Championships MVP in 2006.
• Manu Ginobili – this San Antonio Spurs man is from Argentina and won the Sixth Man Award in 2008. He was also the Olympic Tournament MVP in 2004.
• Dirk Nowitzki – He is German and won awards like 2007 NBA MVP, 2002 World Championships MVP and Eurobasket 2005 MVP.
• Tony Parker – Also playing for San Antonio Spurs; he was the NBA Finals MVP in 2007.
• Peja Stojakovic – this Serbian won the Eurobasket 2001 MVP award.
• Andrei Kirilenko – this Russian is also known as the AK-47 in NBA; he won the Eurobasket 2001 MVP award.
Aside from the list above, many international players have been doing great jobs in NBA. Yao Ming and Andrea Bargnani were both first picked in 2002 NBA Draft by Houston Rockets and 2006 NBA Draft by Toronto Raptors respectively.
The Teams in NBA
Basically, there are 29 teams from the US and 1 from Canada playing in the NBA. All these themes were divided into two conferences with three divisions each.
• Atlantic Division – includes teams such as the Boston Celtics, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors.
• Central Division – includes the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks.
• Southeast – includes Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Bobcats, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and the Washington Wizards.
• Northwest Division – teams included are Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA Oklahoma City which is set to replace the now defunct Seattle SuperSonics, Portland Trailblazers, and Utah Jazz.
• Pacific Division – teams like Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns and the Sacramento Kings are included in this division.
• Southwest Division – this division includes teams like the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Hornets and San Antonio Spurs.
For the 2007-2208 NBA season, the San Antonio Spurs from the Southwest Division of the Western Conference played against the Los Angeles Lakers of the Pacific Division of the same conference. The San Antonio Spurs, which is the depending champion, lose in the game.