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The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the premier professional basketball league in the United States and Canada. The NBA is an active member of USA Basketball (USAB), which is recognized by FIBA (also known as the International Basketball Federation) as the national governing body for basketball in the United States. The NBA is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. NBA players are the world’s best paid athletes by average annual salary per player.
The league was founded in 1946 as the Basketball Association of America (BAA). The BAA was renamed to the National Basketball Association in 1949 after merging with its rival National Basketball League (NBL). The NBA played its first game on October 29, 1946, versus the Toronto Huskies at Maple Leaf Gardens. In 1949, following the absorption of the NBL by BAA, three leagues held games: The Eastern Division games were played by teams from Chicago, Detroit, Washington D.C., New York and Philadelphia; The Western Division games were played by teams from Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Omaha and Rochester; while a third league, made up of just seven teams from Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Syracuse, New York and Toronto, also held games.
The Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA) is one of two conferences that makes up the league, the other being the Western Conference. Like the Western Conference, the Eastern Conference is made up of 15 teams, organized into three divisions.
The Eastern Conference was founded in 1949 when the NBA was created. At that time, there were only eight teams in the NBA, all of which were located in the Eastern United States. Of those eight teams, six were located in or near New York City, which led to the conference’s nickname at that time: “the New York League.”
Today, the Eastern Conference is still home to some of the NBA’s most iconic franchises, including the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, and Chicago Bulls. These three teams have combined for 33 NBA championships, more than any other trio in either conference.
The Western Conference of the National Basketball Association is one of two conferences that makes up the league, the other being the Eastern Conference. Like the Eastern Conference, the Western Conference is made up of 15 teams, organized in three divisions.
The divisional alignment was adopted at the start of the 2004–05 season, when the now Charlotte Hornets began play as an expansion franchise. For historical reasons, the mapping of teams to divisions and conferences has changed over time. Since the move of the San Diego Rockets to Houston in 1971, each conference has been strictly divided into two 15-team divisions (except for a period from 2004 to 2013 in which it had three five-team divisions), and each division has been designated as either “East” or “West”.
As a result of this, if both conferences have an odd number of teams (15 teams in each conference), then one team in one conference would necessarily have to be idle on any given night (since there are 30 NBA teams altogether). Since 2006, when Greg Popovich became head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, every team has played at least one game every season against every other team in their conference at least once.
The 2020 NBA Finals will tip off on Thursday, October 22nd. The Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat will square off in a rematch of last year’s thrilling seven-game series. The Lakers are the favorites to win it all, but the Heat will be looking to repeat as champions. Be sure to tune in to watch all the action!