Nine years after the original basketball league, came the Basketball Association of America. In June 1946, the new league was created by owners of ice hockey arenas. Made up of teams in the Northeast and Midwest of America, as well as in Canada the league began play. The Toronto Huskies hosted the New York Knickerbockers for the first game in Toronto.
August 3rd,1949, saw the formation of the NBA. Representatives from both leagues met in New York at the Empire State Building. Maurice Podoloff was appointed the director of the now merged NBA.
The new league, the NBA (the great National Basketball Association)
consisted of 17 teams. These teams came from towns both large and small, from right across the United States. Although a small number, they contracted the league further during the 1950s. In fact, by the time that the ‘54-’55 season came around, there were just eight teams left. Because of the downsizing of the league, many teams sought out larger cities. Boston was the dynasty to beat throughout the sixties, lead by Bill Russell.
The NBA began to expand. Then it faced challenges over players with the American Basketball Association. The creation of the American Basketball Association set up a rivalry with the NBA. The leagues agreed to a merger in 1976. The two leagues finally became one great league known as the National Basketball Association.
Known and recognized around the world, the NBA logo is the one of the most iconic sporting motifs in history. Presumably modeled on Lakers legend Jerry West, Alan Siegel designed the logo in 1969. This image generates $3 billion a year in licensing. It is little wonder that the NBA refuses to acknowledge that Mr. West is the player in the image.
These days the NBA has over two dozen franchises. It attracts players from across the globe, bringing millions of fans with them. It started in the late 80's with Vlade Divac, from Serbia, and Dražen Petrović from Croatia. Since then, a large number of international players have moved into a starting lineup in the NBA.
Currently, there are 30 NBA teams, split between two conferences and three divisions:
In 1967 the American Basketball Association became the NBA's competition. The Brooklyn Nets, known then as the New Jersey Americans were part of the original members of the ABA. In 1968 the team moved to Long Island. They then made the decision to change the name to the New York Nets. They won two ABA championships as the New York Nets, led by basketball great Julius "Dr. J." Erving. Yet, in 1977 the team moved again - this time to New Jersey and played as the New Jersey Nets until 2012. After moving to the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, the team took on their current name. View our Brooklyn Nets display cases.
Established in New York City in 1946, the Knicks were an original member of the BAA. The Knicks have won two titles throughout their history. Some of the game's greatest have played for the Knicks, including Walt Frazier and Patrick Ewing. The team drafted current team president, Phil Jackson, in the 2nd round of the 1967 NBA draft. The Knicks play in "the world's most famous arena," Madison Square Garden. View our New York Knicks display cases.
Originally known as the Syracuse Nationals, the Philadelphia 76ers are one of just 8 to have survived the first 10 turbulent years of the NBA league. The 76ers have won a championship 3 times. Reading a list of previous players is like reading a Hall of Fame Ballot. These names include; Charles Barkley, Allen Iverson and Moses Malone. View our Philadelphia 76ers display cases.
As part of the NBA expansion into Canada, the Toronto Raptors became a franchise in 1995. The team plays in Ontario, Canada at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors name comes from a nationwide contest which saw 2,000 entries. The name ‘Raptors’ won, inspired by a movie. A draft day trade landed the Raptors superstar Vince Carter. Chris Bosh emerged as the next team leader before his exit the Heat. The Toronto Raptors have won 5 Division titles and 1 NBA Championship. View our Toronto Raptors display cases.
The Bulls, created on January 16th, 1966 share an arena. The United Centre is home to the Bulls as well as the Chicago Blackhawks, an NHL team. The Bulls are the only team in NBA history to have never lost a championship final. They won all 6 finals they appeared in. The Bulls are one of the most valuable teams in the NBA. They earned over $67 million in the 2015-2016 season alone. View our Chicago Bulls display cases.
The Cavaliers began playing in the NBA in 1970. The team has featured NBA stars in their lineups including the LeBron James. Other names include: Mark Price, Kyrie Irving, Mo Williams and Kevin Love. NBA legends such as Nate Thurmond and Walt "Clyde" Frazier also played for the Cavaliers. They have won 5 division championships and reached the playoffs 20 times. View our Cleveland Cavaliers display cases.
The Pistons have been around from since before the NBA started. They moved to Detroit, from Indiana, in 1957. They have won NBA championships three times; in 1989, 1990 and 2004. Fans have surmised the new uniform depict the blue collar work ethic of Detroit and the auto industry. View our Detroit Pistons display cases.
The Pacers first appeared in 1967 as a part of the ABA, and later became members of the NBA after the merger. The Indiana Pacers, named for the association Indiana has with the Indy 500’s pace cars. The Pacers have won 3 NBA championships and 9 division titles. View our Indiana Pacers display cases.
The Milwaukee Bucks formed on the 22nd of January, 1968, as an expansion team. The Milwaukee Bucks call the BMO Harris Bradley Center their home court. They picked one of the most prominent centers in the NBA with the number 1 pick in the draft. Lew Alcindor, was his name before he changed it to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The Milwaukee Bucks have won 1 championship, 2 conference titles and 13 division titles. View our Milwaukee Bucks display cases.
The Atlanta Hawks call Philips Arena home. The team began playing basketball in 1946 as the Blackhawks. They changed their name after moving to Milwaukee and began playing as the Hawks. They moved once again to St. Louis and then finally settled in Atlanta. The Atlanta Hawks have made the finals 3 times, winning once. Each time, they played the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. View our Atlanta Hawks display cases.
The Charlotte Hornets began in 1988 as part of the NBA expansion. The franchise moved to New Orleans following the 2001-02 season. In 2004 the NBA granted another expansion team to Charlotte as the Bobcats. In 2013 the New Orleans franchise changed it's name to the Pelicans. This allowed the Charlotte team to rename themselves, once again, the Charlotte Hornets. NBA superstar Michael Jordan owns a majority share of the Charlotte Hornets since 2010. The team has yet to win a title. View our Charlotte Hornets display cases.
Formed in 1988, The Miami Heat have won 3 NBA Finals, 5 conference titles and 11 division titles. The Miami Heat also holds the second longest winning streak in NBA history, having won 27 games in a row in 2013. The Miami Heat roster has had many future NBA Hall of Fame players. Superstars like Dwyane Wade, NBA 3-point leader Ray Allen and everyone's favorite LeBron James have all called the American Airlines Arena, in Downtown Miami, home. View our Miami Heat display cases.
Since the Orlando Magic beginning in 1989, several notable players have worn their uniform. These players include: Shaquille O’Neal, Grant Hill, Steve Francis and Vince Carter. In its 27 year history, the club has seen the playoffs 14 times. The Orlando Magic is the second most successful expansion team, behind the Miami Heat. That said, they have only reached the championship twice - losing twice. View our Orlando Magic display cases.
The Washington Wizards started life in Chicago as the Packers in’61. One short year later they became the Chicago Zephyrs. 1963 saw another move and another name change - this time becoming the Bullets. 1997 saw another name change and the one they currently use. Under all names and locations, the franchise has appeared has won one NBA finals. View our Washington Wizards display cases.
Since the Dallas Mavericks began playing in the NBA, the Mavericks have won 1 NBA Finals. They beat the Miami Heat and the "Big 3." The team name came from the fans after the television series "Maverick." They have employed future Hall of Fame players like Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd. The Dallas Mavericks play home games at the American Airlines Center in Downtown Dallas. View our Dallas Mavericks display cases.
The Rockets began in the NBA as an expansion team. They called San Diego home from 1967-1971 until they moved to Houston. The great Houston Rockets have won 2 NBA Championships and 4 Western Conference titles. At one point the Rockets boasted 3 of NBA's 50 greatest players of all-time. The three players being Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, and Charles Barkley. The Houston Rockets play home games at Toyota Center in Downtown Houston. View our Houston Rockets display cases.
The Grizzlies play their home games at the FedEx Forum. Robert Pera is the owner of the Memphis Grizzlies. Like many other teams, the Grizzlies started life in another city. The Vancouver Grizzlies joined 1995-’96 season. At the end of the 2000-’01 season, the team moved to Memphis. To date, the Memphis Grizzlies have yet to reach the NBA finals. View our Memphis Grizzlies display cases.
Founded in 2002 as the New Orleans Hornets, the team changed the name to the New Orleans Pelicans in 2013. They play their home games at Smoothie King Center, formerly New Orleans Arena. In 2008 they won their Division Title but have yet to reach the NBA Finals. Notable players include Chris Paul and Anthony Davis. View our New Orleans Pelicans display cases.
The San Antonio Spurs are the only former ABA team to win an NBA championship. In fact, the San Antonio Spurs have won a total of 5 championships. That is the fourth biggest haul in NBA history coming behind the Boston Celtics, LA Lakers and the Chicago Bulls. They have also won 20 division titles in their 38 NBA seasons. View our San Antonio Spurs display cases.
Since joining the NBA in 1976, the Nuggets qualified for the NBA playoffs 9 seasons in a row in the 80’s. They made the playoffs 10 seasons in a row between 2004 and 2013. The Nuggets share their Pepsi Center home arena with the Colorado Avalanche. View our Denver Nuggets display cases.
Since their founding in 1989 The Target Centre has been home to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Once they drafted Kevin Garnett things started to look up. The Minnesota Timberwolves made the playoffs 8 years in a row. They won their first Division Title in 2004 and Garnett was named MVP of the NBA. View our Minnesota Timberwolves display cases.
The NBA's Oklahoma City team call Chesapeake Energy Arena home. The Thunder is the only large pro team, of any North American sports leagues, based in the state of Oklahoma. They started in the NBA as the the Seattle Supersonics. They made the NBA playoffs 22 times and won their division 6 times. The Supersonics also won the ‘79 NBA championship. They moved in 2008 and began to play under the new name and logo in Oklahoma. They made the playoffs during the ‘09-’10 season. They won the division title in ‘10-’11 year. They took home their first Conference championship the following year. View our Oklahoma City Thunder display cases.
The Trail Blazers started as an expansion team in 1970. They played their home games in the Memorial Coliseum. In 1995 they moved to the Rose Garden (now named the Moda Centre). The Trail Blazers lived up to their name between ‘77 and ‘95. They sold out 814 games in a row - the longest streak in American professional sport at the time. Appearing in the NBA finals 3 times, they have won it once. View Trial Blazers display cases
The Utah Jazz have been playing their home games at the Vivint Smart Home Arena since 1991. They started in the NBA as the New Orleans Jazz. They moved to Utah in 1979. Notable Jazz players include Karl Malone and John Stockton. They finished just short of the title twice, to the Bulls. View our Utah Jazz display cases.
The Warriors began life in Philadelphia in 1946, before moving to San Francisco in 1962. They played as the San Francisco Warriors until 1971. They changed names again to the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors have won 5 championships. There was a 40 year gap between their 3rd and fourth titles. The fourth and fifth title came in 2015 and 2017, when they beat the Cleveland Cavaliers. View our Golden State Warriors display cases.
The team was founded in 1970 as the Buffalo Braves. They left Buffalo in 1978 for San Diego and became the San Diego Clippers. 6 years later, in 1984, the Clippers finally arrived in Los Angeles. They now play as the LA Clippers. In 2013, the Clippers won their first division title. View our Los Angeles Clippers display case.
The most famous of all the NBA teams, the Los Angeles Lakers have an astonishing win record. Between 1947 and 2012 they have won 3,125 games. They also have the second largest NBA championship haul with 16 titles. Boston is the current leader with 17. The Laker’s rosters read like a who's who of basketball hall of famers. Names include Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and of course Kobe Bryant. View our Los Angeles Lakers display cases.
The Suns began playing in Phoenix in 1968. They play their home games at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Phoenix Suns have won 6 Division Titles and 2 Conference Titles. They made two NBA Finals appearances. Outspoken NBA commentator, Charles Barkley, served on the roster for a time. Amare Stoudamire and Steve Nash were also beloved Phoenix Suns players. View our Phoenix Suns display cases.
The Sacramento Kings are the oldest franchise to grace the NBA. They originated in Rochester as the Rochester Seagrams in 1923. As the Rochester Royals they won an NBA championship in 1951. After a spell in Cincinnati, then Kansas they finally arrived in Sacramento in 1985. View our Sacramento Kings display cases.