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Basketball is a game that has become one with the American identity. The NBA Basketball League is recognized around the world. It is one of the largest professional sports leagues in the United States.

Named the Basketball Association of America in 1946, the NBA soon adopted its current name in the fall of 1949. It adopted the name after its merger with top contender, the National Basketball League. The attempt to form professional basketball leagues dates back to the days before the formation of the BAA. The quality of matches in the early days of the BAA was nothing exceptional compared to matches played by other leagues or individual clubs.

Today, the NBA considers the New York Knickerbockers hosted by the Toronto Huskies on November 1, 1946 the first game in league history.

The NBA started with seventeen franchises and has seen a myriad of changes since then. In 1950 the number of franchises was reduced to eleven and further reduced to eight in 1954. All eight are still part of the league. They are the Knickerbockers, Warriors, Pistons, Nationals/76ers, Celtics, Hawks, and Royals/Kings.

In June 2006, the NBA and the entire world witnessed the first game ball change since the league’s inception 35 years ago. The ball, made by Spalding, sported a new design and was made of a new synthetic material.

Today, after a series of size changes and relocations, the NBA has, to its credit, 30 teams, 29 based in the US and 1 based in Canada. The Boston Celtics have been the most successful team in the NBA with 16 Finals wins. The Miami Heat, who won their first championship in 2006, are the current defending champions.

The NBA regular season begins the first week of November with warm-up games, practice sessions, and rigorous training beginning in October. After training camps are over, a series of exhibition games are held before the Regular Season begins.

February interrupts the NBA regular season to make way for the annual NBA All-Star Game celebration. Fan voting is done throughout the United States. The best one is selected while the coaches vote to select the remaining 14 All-Stars. The best performing player is rewarded with a Game MVP award. Additionally, the All-Star game provides an opportunity for players to showcase their talents in multiple ways. The NBA Playoffs begin at the end of April.

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