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How to: Follow the NBA


A primer for new fans

For new basketball fans, following the NBA can often be an intimidating experience. The sheer number of teams, players, rules, guidelines, games and tactics can often be overwhelming. With that in mind, here is a numerical introduction to the basics of the world’s top basketball league.


1946: This was the year the NBA was born as the Basketball Association of America, while the current name (National Basketball Association) was adopted in 1949. 

30: The league started with 11 teams, but boasts 30 teams today with franchises located all across the United States as well as one in Canada (Toronto Raptors).

2: The 30 teams are evenly split into two conferences, the Eastern Conference and Western Conference. Each conference is again evenly split into three divisions, with five teams in each division.

82: This is the number of regular season games that each team plays. Teams within the same conference and division play each other more frequently, while they play inter-conference rivals twice each season.

16: Following the regular season, the top 8 teams from each conference in terms of win-loss records will advance to the playoffs, for a total of 16 teams. The playoffs involve four best-of-seven elimination rounds, with an eventual champion thus playing a minimum of 16 games and a maximum of 28 games.

17: The Boston Celtics have won 17 NBA championships to date, which is the highest total among all 30 teams. This is followed closely by the 16 combined titles from the Minneapolis and Los Angeles Lakers.