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|National Basketball Association|
|Founded||June 6, 1946 as BAA|
|No. of teams||30|
|Countries||United States : 29 teams | Canada : 1 team|
|Most titles||Boston Celtics | LA Lakers (17 titles)|
NBA | History
Although the association was established in 1946, at that time it was known as BAA, it officially became the NBA until 1949. Since then, every decade has been recognized for the dominance of certain teams and/or players, but it wasn't until the 80's that it finally exploded thanks to the rivalry between the Boston Celtics, led by Larry Bird, and the Los Angeles Lakers, then known as "Showtime" largely due to the incredible skill of Magic Johnson.
After that boom, in the 90's the NBA finished experiencing globalization thanks to Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls, who won 6 titles in 8 years, which came in two so called "three-peat", that is, two periods in which they won three consecutive titles.
NBA | League Structure
Like most professional leagues in the United States, the NBA is also divided into two Conferences, East and West, which in turn are composed of divisions. In total, there are 30 teams, 29 based in the United States and 1 in Canada (Toronto Raptors).
During the regular season, each team plays a total of 82 games (without COVID-19), and the top eight finishers in each conference get a ticket to the Playoffs.
In the playoffs stage, direct elimination series are played, with one champion per conference representing the NBA finals.
NBA | International Influence
After the phenomenon that involved the "Dream Team" in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, a wave of European players began to make a space in the NBA, starting with figures like Dražen Petrović, Tony Kukoc, Vlade Divac, Arvydas Sabonis, among others.
Later, others like Dirk Nowitzki and Tony Parker reached another level by being crowned champions with their respective teams, Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurts. But that's not all, since figures from all over the world began to arrive, Yao Ming (China), Manu Ginóbili (Argentina), Steve Nash (Canada), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece), Luka Dončić (Slovenia) and Eduardo Nájera (Mexico).
NBA | 2020 Champion
Led by performances from LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the Finals on Sunday night to claim their 17th NBA championship, tying the Boston Celtics for the most playoffs in U.S. basketball league history.
NBA | Western Conference
The Western Conference of the NBA, together with the Eastern Conference, makes up the best basketball league in the world. With a total of 15 teams, distributed in three divisions, the Western Conference is considered the strongest thanks to the resurgence of teams such as Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers, among others.
Like the Eastern Conference, the current structure was consolidated in 2004-05, when the New Orleans Pelicans became the last team to move to the Western Conference, this to open a space for the Charlotte Hornets in the NBA.
Previously, teams like Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks, now in the Eastern Conference, were part of the West.
Today there is a lot of talk about the Golden State Warriors, but decades ago the Western Conference had iconic teams that contributed a lot to the NBA becoming a global phenomenon, but none like Magic Johnson's Los Angeles Lakers in the 80's, better known as "Showtime" Lakers, who won 7 conference titles, four of them consecutively.
Later, after the retirement of figures such as Magic and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs appeared, which marked an era during the second half of the 90's.
The Lakers returned to the top in the early 2000's hand in hand with Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, but we cannot forget figures like Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, among others, who carried the League on their shoulders for several years.
It is no coincidence that the last five most valuable players in the NBA come from the Western Conference, before Greece's Giannis Antetokounmpo won it in 2018-2019. Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden have been carrying the league in recent years, and that has led to consideration of a new format to qualify for the postseason, as most of the 16 teams would be from the West, unlike the 8 per conference that are advancing today.
NBA | Eastern Conference
The NBA's Eastern Conference is made up of 15 teams, divided into three divisions, which compete against each other to represent the conference in the NBA Finals, where they face the Western Conference champion.
In 1970, the NBA merged with the NBL, which in turn allowed a conference format to be established, however, the distribution, as we know it today, was decreed in 2004-05 when what we know today as the Charlotte Hornets took over from the New Orleans Pelicans (now in the Western Conference).
During the 80's and 90's, when the NBA ended up exploding and became a global phenomenon, the Eastern Conference was dominated by a couple of dynasties, first the Boston Celtics (3 titles in the 80's) and then the Chicago Bulls (6 titles in the 90's).
In between were such epoch-making teams as the Detroit Bad Boys, Orlando Magic with Shaquille O'Neal and Anfernee Hardaway, Patrick Ewing's New York Knicks, Charlotte Hornets with Muggsy Bogues, Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson, among others.
Until the 2018-19 season, the Eastern Conference was synonymous with LeBron James. The team that James played for (Miami Heat/Cleveland Cavaliers) won the area title the last eight seasons, with the Boston Celtics being the last ones to prevent "King" from reaching the NBA Finals.
Now, again, the Celtics are starting as favorites to dominate for the next few years, but a one-on-one competition with the Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks is on the horizon.
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