The NBA is the world's premier men's professional basketball league and is watched by tens of millions of sports fans all across the world.
It's a league which celebrated its 75th birthday in 2021 and has bestowed legendary status on the likes of Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, LeBron James and many, many more.
|What||National Basketball Association|
|Where||Across the USA and Toronto, Canada|
|How to watch||ABC, ESPN, TNT, NBA TV & NBA League Pass|
|Odds||Boston Celtics +350, Brooklyn Nets +550, Milwaukee Bucks +600, Golden State Warriors +800, Denver Nuggets +900|
The NBA, or to give it its full title, the National Basketball Association, is the biggest and most prestigious professional basketball league in the sport featuring 30 teams, 29 based in the United States with the other hailing from Toronto in Canada.
There were professional basketball leagues in the United States from the 1920s with the new national league founded in New York in June 1946. Then known as the Basketball Association of America, it changed its name to the NBA three years later.
The first champions, way back in 1946/47, were the Philadelphia Warriors – (now based in Golden State) – who beat the Chicago Stags 4-1 in the finals.
From the very start there has been a Western Conference and an Eastern Conference (called divisions until 1970), split equally and geographically with 15 teams in each conference.
Those 15 teams are then divided again into divisions of five teams.
There are 82 games in a regular season which runs from the middle of October to the middle of April.
Teams play each of their four divisional rivals four times per season, their other 10 conference rivals either three or four times and they will also play home-and-away against the 15 teams in the opposite conference.
The NBA playoffs follow on from the end of the regular season, contested by the top six teams from each conference and four more teams who are determined by a 'play-in'.
The teams featuring in the play-in are those who finished between seventh and 10th in the respective conferences in the regular-season standings.
Once the 16 teams are finalised, they are placed into a draw bracket for each conference with the seedings decided solely on their regular-season records.
The NBA playoffs are all best-of-seven game showdowns with the higher-ranked team slated to play four home games and three away.
Golden State Warriors, who won it for the fourth time in eight years when they beat Eastern Conference champs Boston Celtics 4-2 in June 2022.
That honour is shared by the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics, who have each won the NBA 17 times. Five of the Lakers' 17 titles were when they were based in Minneapolis in the 1940s and '50s.
The Celtics boast a record which will surely never be beaten when their side of the 1950s and '60s, coached by the inimitable Red Auerbach and starring legendary Hall of Famers like Bill Russell, John Havlicek and Sam Jones, won the title in eight straight years.
Sports fans never shy away from making lists so search the internet and you'll find any number of different Greatest Ever Player rundowns.
Some names, like Bill Russell, will come up time and time again.
Alongside the legendary Celtics' center you can add the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Milwaukee Bucks and LA Lakers), Magic Johnson (the Lakers), Wilt 'The Stilt' Chamberlain (Warriors, 76ers, Lakers) and, surely the greatest of them all, the incredible Michael Jordan, the biggest sports star on the planet in his Chicago Bulls' prime.
Of the current crop, no one has shone quite as brightly – and for so long – as the majestic LeBron James.
The Boston Celtics, coached by Joe Mazzulla and led by superstar Jayson Tatum, are +350 To Win Outright their record-setting 18th title this year.
However, the Eastern Conference looks as strong as it has for years with Giannis Antetokounmpo's Milwaukee Bucks and the all-star Brooklyn Nets looking serious challengers.
Injury to two-time MVP Stephen Curry have cost the champion Golden State Warriors wins in the West though, they are still +800 to retain their crown.