The National Basketball Association, NBA is a professional basketball league in North America, in particular the United States and Canada. It is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, along with the NHL, Major League Baseball and the NFL. It was founded in 1946 as the Basketball Association of America and, having merged with the National Basketball League, was renamed the National Basketball Association.
Since 2004, the Association has included 30 teams, which are geographically divided into the Eastern and Western conferences, and each of the conferences, in turn, is divided into three divisions of five teams. During the regular season, each of the teams plays 82 matches, according to the results of which the participants in the playoffs are selected. In the playoffs, teams play according to the Olympic system, up to 4 wins in their conference. Two conference champions meet each other in the main final, where the owner of the title of NBA champion is determined.
The NBA had $3.8 billion in revenue in 2010 and, on an expense of just over $3.6 billion, generated an operating income of $183 million for the year and a 4.8% margin. The average player salary in 2010 was $4.8 million a year, more than any other sports league in the world. The NBA headquarters is located on the 19th floor of the Olympic Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York.
Dominance of the Celtics
Bill Russell (left) vs. Wilt Chamberlain (with ball, right)
From 1957 to 1969 inclusive, no team could match the skill of the Celtics from Boston, who won 11 championships in 13 seasons. Legendary Celtic coach Red Auerbach traded the rights to the St. Louis Hawks’ 1956 draft pick center Bill Russell,35 and then picked forward Tom Heinsohnson as a territorial pick,36 acquiring the last piece of a championship team. Teaming up ambitious rookies with players such as John Havlicek, Bill Sherman, Bob Cosey, and Sam Jones, Auerbach led the Celtics to the NBA Grand Finals ten times in a row starting in the 1956-1957 season.
In 1958, the Bostonians lost in the final series to St. Louis, winning only two meetings and losing in four, but the very next year they rehabilitated themselves, for the first time in the history of professional basketball, winning the final series “dry” from Minneapolis and scoring in four matches for a total of 487 points (although both participants scored over a hundred points in each meeting for the first time).
The Celtics of the late 1950s and early 1960s are considered one of the most dominant teams in the history of the NBA, despite the record-breaking performances of such an outstanding athlete as Wilt Chamberlain, who played for rival teams. Entering the league in 1959, the 216-centimeter center became a legend in his lifetime, setting records for points per game (100) and rebounds (55), but became the champion of the Association only twice, already at the end of the first era of the Celtics (in 1967and 1972).
At the beginning of the new decade, the Lakers were the first to move to the West Coast, moving to Los Angeles,33 the Warriors moved to San Francisco from Philadelphia, where the Syracuse Nationals moved, changing their name to the 76ers. In 1961, the Chicago Packers (now the Washington Wizards) became the NBA’s 9th team, and from 1966 to 1968, the league expanded to fourteen clubs, accepting the Chicago Bulls, Seattle SuperSonics (later moved to Oklahoma City (now known as the Thunder), San Diego Rockets (four years later they moved to Houston), Milwaukee Bucks, and Phoenix Suns.