NBA History

The Basketball Association of America (BAA) began in 1946, rivaling the already established National Basketball League (NBL) for three years before August 3rd, 1949 when the two leagues merged and the National Basketball Association (NBA) was born. 

The NBA started with 17 teams, but slow playing styles saw a big loss of fans and after six years only eight teams remained. To rectify this, in 1955 the league brought in the 24 second shot clock, which revolutionised the game.

Fans began to come back and in 1961 a ninth team joined the NBA, the Chicago Packers (now Washington Wizards). In 1976, the NBA merged with the ABA, it’s biggest competitor, and absorbed the four most successful teams from the league, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, New York Nets and San Antonio Spurs.

The NBA continued adding expansion teams as it’s success and popularity kept skyrocketing, with the most recent addition being the Charlotte Hornets (formerly Charlotte Bobcats) in 2004, forming the 30 team league that we see today.

NBA Dominant Decades

Since its inception, the NBA has seen certain teams dominate decades, with the 70s and the 10s being the only two decades where a NBA franchise hasn’t won at least four titles. The Minneapolis Lakers (now Los Angeles Lakers) won four titles over five years at the inception of the NBA before the Boston Celtics won 11 titles over 13 seasons from 1957-69. 

The 1980s saw the Lakers and the Celtics at the forefront of the league again, combining to win eight of the ten championships and the birth of one of the biggest rivalries in the sport that still exists to this day. 

The Chicago Bulls, led by Michael Jordan, stamped their authority on the league in the 1990s, winning the championship three years in a row twice, from 1991-93 and 1996-98. Their dominance through this period has seen many give this team the title of greatest team to ever play, not only basketball but all professional sports. 

The Lakers dominated the 2000s winning five championships from 2000-2010, including three in a row from 2000-02 with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant leading the way in one of the most dangerous guard-centre combinations the game has ever seen. 

While no team won the dominant number of four championships during the 2010s, LeBron James played in The Finals in eight straight seasons, four with the Miami Heat and four with the Cleveland Cavaliers, winning three titles in that time.

golden state warriors

The Golden State Warriors also emerged onto the scene, going to give straight Finals from 2015-2019, winning three championships over that stretch. The Warriors also had the best regular season of all time in 2015-16 with a record of 73-9, beating the infamous 72-10 season by Michael Jordan’s Bulls in 1995-96.

NBA Championships

The Celtics hold a league high 17 championships, with their most recent being in 2008. The Lakers are just behind, after their 2010 4-3 series victory over the Celtics won them their 16th championship. No other team has won over 10 championships with Chicago and Golden State tied for third with six championships each. 

Ten franchises are yet to win a NBA Championship, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Utah Jazz and Orlando Magic. The Toronto Raptors took themselves off that list last season after winning their first championship, led by Kawhi Leonard.

NBA All Star Game

The NBA All Star Game started in 1951 as a showcase of the league’s best talent, following on from the example set by Major League Baseball. The All Star Game allows fans to vote in players from both Eastern Conference teams and Western Conference teams to play against each other, with the East leading 37-29 all time until 2017 when the format changed.

The new format saw the player with the most fan votes from each conference be selected as captain, and they were able to draft players from the selected pool, regardless of conference. LeBron James has been voted captain by the fans in all three years of the new format and his team has won all three games. 

The Boston Celtics have dominated the All Star Game, much like they have championships, having the most players selected at 147. The Lakers are again a close second with 140 players selected to play in the 69 games played to date.

The Detroit Pistons and Philadelphia 76ers are the only franchises with over 100 players selected, with 106 and 105 respectively. All franchises have been represented at the All Star Game over the years, however the Memphis Grizzlies have only had six players selected during their 21 seasons in the league. 

Greatest NBA Player Of All Time

A topic that always creates debates, and at times heated ones, is which player is the Greatest Of All Time. This is so heavily debated as there is no singular way to quantify who is the greatest NBA player of all time, and each person has their own different opinion on the requirements to be considered the GOAT. 

michael jordan goat

Michael Jordan is often at the top of lists due to his dominance throughout the league starting in his rookie season and capped off with six titles in the 1990s. MJ won Rookie of the Year, five MVPs, six Finals MVPs, Defensive Player of the Year, ten Scoring Titles and three All Star Game MVPs. He was also selected to 14 All Star Games, 10 All-NBA First Teams and nine NBA All-Defensive First Teams. 

lebron james goat

LeBron James is in the midst of his 17th season and is continually striving to push his name above Michael’s in the GOAT debate. LeBron James dominated the East for most of his career, going to The Finals in eight straight seasons and has won three NBA championships (two with Miami and one with Cleveland), winning Finals MVP those three years as well, along with four MVPs, Rookie of the Year, one Scoring Title and three All Star Game MVPs. James has been selected to 16 All Star Games, 13 All-NBA First Teams and five NBA All-Defensive First Teams. 

Time after time, Michael and LeBron are the main two at the top of people’s lists, however there have been some incredible players over the years making their claims. George Mikan was the original GOAT winning five titles over seven seasons starting in 1949.

Jerry West is the NBA’s logo and is the only player to win Finals MVP on a losing team. Bill Russell has won the most championships of any player with 11 and The Finals MVP trophy is now named after him. Magic Johnson is the best all-around player of all time, being a 6’ 9” point guard who is the greatest passer to ever play basketball having an all time leading career average of 11.2 assists per game, leading the Showtime Lakers to five championships.

Shaquille O’Neal was a dominant monster on the court, using his size to his advantage, winning four championships, including three in a row with the Lakers putting up 28 points, 12 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game across that three year span.

kobe bryant goat

Kobe Bryant was a second coming of Michael Jordan with a similar playing style, size, tenacity and hunger to win at all costs, winning five championships, three with Shaq, before leading the Lakers to two more in 2009 and 2010. 

The two with the best claim outside of Michael and LeBron might be Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Wilt is the most dominant player the NBA has seen. At 7’ 1” he led the league in minutes played and points scored eight times and total rebounds 11 times along with winning two championships. In the 1961-62 season he averaged 50.4 points and 25.7 rebounds per game, including the infamous 100 point game on March 2nd, 1962. 

Kareem won six NBA championships with the Lakers (5) and the Bucks (1) and an all time high six MVP awards. He also had one of the most unstoppable moves of all time with the Sky Hook, while being first all time in total minutes, points and field goals, third all time in total blocks and fourth all time in total rebounds. 

Betting on the NBA

It wasn’t too long ago that you weren’t allowed to bet on the NBA, but now there are more ways to bet than ever, with the NBA recently striking deals with major gambling bookmakers, such as DraftKings, William Hill and PointsBet, to become official partners of the league. 

Here at SportsTips, we provide you with the best in depth analysis of the best NBA picks and parlays as well as expert NBA predictions for every game, every day. 

To see our best NBA expert picks and parlays, check out our NBA picks and predictions page!

For an in depth explanation on how NBA betting works, the most popular NBA markets and odds and payout examples, check out our how NBA picks works page!

NBA Teams FAQs

Who is predicted to win the NBA Championship?

The Los Angeles Lakers are on pace to defeat the Miami Heat in the 2020 NBA Finals, after taking a commanding lead. 

Will the Lakers are likely to win the 2020 NBA Championship, the odds for 2021 have already opened, with the Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks opening as +350 co-favourites. The Lakers are just behind with +375 odds (PointsBet – 10/04/20).

How are the NBA All Star teams picked?

The 10 starters (five from each conference) of the All Star Game are picked with votes from three groups of people, the fans, the players and the media. The fan votes make up 50%, with the players and media getting 25% of the votes each.

This has changed in recent years from a system where only the fans would choose the All Star starters. The eight bench players from each conference are chosen by the coaches, rewarding players having stand out seasons to that point. 

Over the last three seasons, the NBA has foregone the traditional East vs West format, instead opting for the leading fan vote getters from each conference being nominated as captains. They would then draft the successful All Stars to their respective teams, regardless of conference. 

Who has the first pick in the NBA Draft?

After being tied with the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers for the best odds to win the first pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves won the lottery. Georgia guard Anthony Edwards is the -175 favourite to be taken with the first pick (PointsBet – 10/04/20).

How many picks are in the NBA draft?

The NBA Draft is split into two 30 pick rounds. The first 14 picks in the draft are titled the ‘Lottery Picks’ and are for teams who didn’t make the playoffs in the previous season. The following 16 picks are for teams who made the playoffs and are sorted based on regular season record.  The second round follows the same order as the first round. 

How do you read NBA odds?

There are multiple different types of displaying and reading odds, including American, fraction and decimal odds. For information on different odd types, how to read odds and how to do the maths on how much money you might win, check our Understanding betting odds article on our Betting Guides page. 

How to bet on the NBA Finals? 

The NBA Finals are currently underway with the Los Angeles Lakers taking a commanding lead over the Miami Heat.

The NBA Finals is one of the most interesting and difficult futures markets to bet on, with constant trades, injuries and signings, teams are continuously changing throughout the year. Be sure to check in regularly for all of our NBA experts’ updates to ensure you have the right information before you place your bet.

How to bet on NBA games?

Sports Tips will provide you with current odds, spreads, over / under totals and all the NBA information you need before making any bets. There are multiple different betting agencies available to bet on NBA game including PointsBet, FanDuel and DraftKings among others, however as of June 10th there are only 18 states with legalised sports betting. If you want to know which sportsbooks are available in your state, check out our sportsbook review page.

How to watch the NBA Finals?

The NBA offers their own streaming service, LeaguePass, where you can pay a subscription to have certain levels of access. You can buy day passes, season passes, team passes and playoff passes among others. Throughout the season they offer a 7-day free trial. You can then watch the games on your local sport provider or on national stations like TNT, ESPN, ABC and NBATV. 

How many games are there in the NBA Finals?

The Finals, as well as the other three playoff series, are a best of seven games format. The first team to win four games against their opponent is the winner of the series, and in The Finals is the winner of the NBA Championship!

How do the NBA Playoffs work?

The NBA is split into two conferences, East and West. The top 8 teams in each conference make the playoffs. Based on the regular season standings, the 1-seed plays 8th, 2nd plays 7th, 3rd plays 6th and 4th plays 5th all in a best of seven game series.

The winner of each series advances to the Conference Semifinals where the winner of 1v8 and 4v5 (typically 1v4) play against each other while the winner of 2v7 and 3v6 (typically 2v3) play against each other. The winners from those two series (typically 1v2) play against each other in the Conference Finals with the winner advancing to the NBA Finals, playing against the Conference Champion from the other conference. 

What does the NBA stand for?

NBA stands for National Basketball Association. 

Who has the most NBA rings?

The Boston Celtics have won the most NBA rings with 17, while the Los Angeles Lakers have won 16. Bill Russell is the individual who has won the most NBA rings with 11. 

When is the NBA All Star Game?

The NBA All Star Game is historically on a Sunday in the middle of February. The 2020 All Star Game was played on February 16th, and the 2021 All Star Game is currently scheduled for Sunday February 14th, 2021 and is to be hosted by the Indiana Pacers. 

When does the NBA regular season start?

The NBA regular season typically starts towards the end of October. The 2019-20 season started on October 22nd, 2019. The 2020-21 season was originally scheduled to start on October 21st, 2020, but due to COVID-19 delaying the end to the 2019-20 season, that date has been pushed back to an undisclosed date in January 2021. 

How long is an NBA game?

NBA games go for four 12 minute quarters, totalling 48 minutes of game time, that usually spans over a 2.5 hour broadcast period. In the result of a tie at the end of 48 minutes, there will be an additional five minute overtime period. There will continue to be overtime periods added until there is a victorious team at the end. 

What is the most amount of overtime periods in an NBA game?

The NBA game with the most overtime periods added was in 1951 when there were SIX overtime periods added to determine the winner between the Indianapolis Olympians and the Rochester Royals with the Olympians winning 75-73.
In more recent history there were two games in the 2017-18 season with four overtime periods added.

The Chicago Bulls defeated the Atlanta Hawks 168-161 after an additional 20 minutes were added, with Zach Lavine and Trae Young going head to head scoring 47 and 49 points respectively. Later that season in the playoffs, the Portland Trailblazers defeated the Denver Nuggets 140-137 after the fourth overtime period. 

Who is the tallest player in the NBA?

The tallest player currently in the NBA is Tacko Fall of the Boston Celtics, who is listed at 7’5 (226cm). Boban Marjanovic of the Dallas Mavericks is the second tallest player in the NBA, standing at 7’4 (224cm).

The tallest player to ever play in the NBA is Gheorge Muresan, standing at 7’7 (231cm), who played 307 games across seven seasons for the Washington Bullets and the New Jersey Nets. Manute Bol is the second tallest player to ever play in the NBA, listed at 7’6 (229cm). Bol played 625 games across 9 seasons for the Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat. 

How many teams are there in the NBA?

The NBA currently has 30 teams with 29 in the United States and one in Canada. 

When do the playoffs start?

The 2020 NBA playoffs started on August 17th, 2020. They were originally scheduled to begin on April 18th, 2020 but were delayed due to COVID-19. 

The 2020 playoffs featured a playoff game for the first time in history, with the 8-seed Portland Trail Blazers defeating the 9-seed Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference to go head to head for the last playoff seed.

Portland won the first game to advance directly to the playoffs to face the 1-seed Los Angeles Lakers, but if Memphis won the first play-in game on August 15th, there would have been a second ‘winner takes all’ contest on August 16th. 

How many games are there in an NBA season?

There are 82 regular season games in an NBA season. The opponents for the 82 games are broken down as so:

  • Four games against four divisional opponents (2 home & 2 away) – 16 games
  • Four games against six opponents from the same conference, but different division (2 home & 2 away) – 24 games
  • Three games against the remaining four opponents from the same conference, but different division (1 home & 2 away or 2 home & 1 away). 
  • Two games against the 15 opponents from the other conference (1 home & 1 away) – 30 games

The NBA scheduling for which of the conference teams are played four times and which are played three times works on a five year rotation policy, based on previous years performance and expected performance for future years. 

What does spread mean in betting NBA?

The spread is the amount of points that the bookmakers think the favourites should win the game by. The bigger the favourite is for the game, the bigger their points spread is they have to cover to win the spread bet. 

For in depth review of different NBA betting markets, including the spread, with a real life example, check out our how to bet on NBA page.