National Basketball Association Teams
History of the NBA cont'd...

30 NBA National Basketball Association teams are divided into 2 conferences and 6 divisions. Follow the history of the NBA below and see how the league grew from its original 17 teams.

To find the schedules and standings of your favorite teams, visit NBA.com.

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NBA Teams
Eastern Conference


Atlantic Division

Boston Celtics

Brooklyn Nets

New York Knicks

Philadelphia 76ers

Toronto Raptors

Central Division

Chicago Bulls

Cleveland Cavaliers

Detroit Pistons

Indiana Pacers

Milwaukee Bucks

Southeast Division

Atlanta Hawks

Charlotte Bobcats

Miami Heat

Orlando Magic

Washington Wizards


NBA Teams
Western Conference


Northwest Division

Denver Nuggets

Minnesota Timberwolves

Oklahoma City Thunder

Portland Trail Blazers

Utah Jazz

Pacific Division

Golden State Warriors

Los Angeles Clippers

Los Angeles Lakers

Phoenix Suns

Sacramento Kings

Southwest Division

Dallas Mavericks

Houston Rockets

Memphis Grizzlies

New Orleans Pelicans

San Antonio Spurs

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National Basketball Association Teams
NBA History: The Struggle Continues

It wasn't until June 6, 1946 after World War II was over that the league that would eventually become the NBA was founded.

Eleven teams made up the Basketball Association of America (BAA). See if you recognize any of them:

Boston Celtics
Chicago Stags
Cleveland Rebels
Detroit Falcons
New York Knickerbockers
Philadelphia Warriors
Pittsburgh Ironmen
Providence Steamrollers
St. Louis Bombers
Washington Capitols
Toronto Huskies

The biggest problem with getting this league off the ground was that 2 other leagues were already in existence, the National League and the American League.

It was tough competing for players and fans. The AL eventually melted into the BAA, but the National League continued to compete. The NL signed many of the nation's best college players, and they had the best pro player at the time, George Mikan.

The battle for recruits between the leagues raged on, much to the benefit of the better players. They were able to negotiate top salaries at about $6,000 per year.

Four teams couldn't financially survive the first season, so Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Toronto folded. The league added a team in Baltimore and limped through the 1947-48 season with 8 teams.

The BAA and the NL continued their standoff until Maurice Podoloff, who was the president of the BAA, realized the only answer would be a merger between the leagues.

The 2 leagues joined together and expanded to 12 teams with the addition of Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Rochester.

A couple of years later, in 1949, the National Basketball Association was officially born and included a field of 17 teams. Things were looking very promising! 

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However, within a couple years the National Basketball Association teams dropped down to 11 and then 8.

Attendance at the games plummeted because the game was not only rough and crude, but also very boring.

It all came to a climax on November 22, 1950 when Fort Wayne played Minneapolis in what was to become the lowest-scoring game in NBA history. Both teams stalled for a majority of the game. Fans became so angry they started chunking stuff at the players down on the court. Three hours later, the game ended with Fort Wayne on top, 19-18. The game was so long, the end of it wasn't even seen on TV because the camera crews packed it all up and went home.

Want to learn more cool and unusual NBA facts?

It was until 1954 that Danny Biasone, owner of the Syracuse team, came up with a solution that basically saved the game - the 24-second clock.

The shot clock was just one of many rule changes that have affected the game over time.

A few other leagues have tried to compete with the NBA, but they have come and gone.

The American Basketball League made another attempt along with the American Basketball Association. The ABA actually competed with the NBA for about 10 years before merging with the NBA in the late 1970s.

See how it all began...

History of the NBA: Setting the Stage
NBA History: A League is Born

Timeline of Major Events in the History of the NBA

I found these facts about National Basketball Association teams and NBA history in a very interesting book, The Amazing Basketball Book: The First 100 Years. This book was a great read, and I would highly recommend it for anyone interested in learning more about the history of this great game.


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