Basketball is one game that has become one with the American identity. The NBA Basketball League is renowned all over the world. It is one of the major professional sports leagues. Christened Basketball Association of America in 1946, NBA soon adopted its present name in the fall of 1949. It adopted the name after its merger with the major contender National Basketball League. The attempt to form professional basketball leagues dates back to the days before the formation of BAA. The quality of games in the early days of the BAA was nothing exceptional compared to the games played by other leagues or individual clubs.
Today, NBA considers the New York Knickerbockers hosted by the Toronto Huskies on November 1, 1946 as the first game in the history of the league. NBA began with seventeen franchises and has seen quite a number of changes in number ever since. In 1950, the number of franchises came down to eleven and further reduced to eight in 1954. All eight of them are still part of the league. They are the Knickerbockers, Warriors, Pistons, Nationals/76ers, Celtics, Hawks and Royals/Kings.
In June 2006 NBA and the entire world stood witness to the first change in the game ball ever since the beginning of the League 35 years ago. The ball, manufactured by Spalding, bore a new design and was formed of a new synthetic material.
Today, after a series of re-sizing and relocations, NBA has, under its belt, 30 teams, 29 US-based and 1 based in Canada. The Boston Celtics have been the most successful NBA team with 16 Finals wins. The Miami Heat, who won its first championship in 2006, is the defending champions at present.
The NBA Regular Season begins in the first week of November with warm-up games, practice sessions and rigorous training beginning from October. Once the training camps are over, a series of exhibition games are held before the Regular Season takes off.
February interrupts the regular NBA season to make way for the annual NBA All-Star Game celebration. Balloting the fans is done all across the US. The best is selected while coaches vote to choose the remaining 14 All-Stars. The best performing player is rewarded with a Game MVP award. Besides, the All-Star game provides the opportunity to players to show off their talents in multiple ways. The NBA Playoffs begin towards the end of April.