The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in North America, and is widely considered to be the premier men's professional basketball league in the world. It has 30 franchised member clubs (29 in the United States and 1 in Canada), and 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. Judged by the average annual salary per player. NBA players are the world's best paid sportsmen. The NBA commenced in 1946-47 after the Second World War when it was known as the BAA (Basketball Association of America), merging with its rival National Basketball League in 1949 to form the new organisation. The sport itself dated back to December 1891, when Canadian Dr James Naismith, a physical education professor and instructor at the YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts was trying to keep his gym class active on a rainy day. He sought a vigorous indoor game to keep his students occupied and at proper levels of fitness during the long New England winters.
Today the NBA has teams spread across the continental United States plus one over the border in Canada. It opened with 11 teams in 1946 but has grown in stutters and starts, with mergers and expansions, to its current 30. These thirty teams are divided into two conferences of three divisions with five teams each. The current divisional alignment was introduced in the 2004–05 season. Reflecting the population distribution of the United States and Canada as a whole, most teams are in the eastern half of the country: thirteen teams are in the Eastern Time Zone, nine in the Central, three in the Mountain, and five in the Pacific.
The most successful team in the NBA is undoubtedly the Boston Celtics who have won no fewer than seventeen NBA championships, the latest being in 2008. They have also been runners up on four occasions, most recently in 2010. The Los Angeles Lakers, previously hailing from Minneapolis but now in Los Angeles, defeated the Celtics in 2010 for the most recent of their sixteen victories and they have reached the final on a further fifteen occasions. Third in the list of NBA Champions come the Chicago Bulls who can boast six victories in the hunt for the Larry O’Brien trophy which is awarded to all Championship winners.
Other multiple winners are 2015 holders Golden State Warriors with four wins, Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat all with three apiece, while the New York Knicks and the Houston Rockets have two victories to show. Seven of the current roster of teams have one victory to show in one of the most hotly contested sporting leagues in the world.
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