NBA is a professional basketball league in North America. Photo: The Ringer
NBA is a professional basketball league in North America. Photo: The Ringer

History of the NBA

On August 3, 1949, after a damaging three-year battle to win both players and fans, the rival Basketball Association of America (BAA) and National Basketball League (NBL) merge to form the National Basketball Association (NBA), History cites.

The BAA incorporated in 1946, challenging the hegemony of the nine-year-old NBL. The BAA established itself in bigger cities than the NBL, which existed only in small Midwestern cities like Fort Wayne, Sheboygan and Akron. While the NBL held its games in small gymnasiums, the upstart BAA played its games in large major-market arenas such as the Boston Garden and New York City’s Madison Square Garden. By the 1948-49 season, the BAA had begun to attract some of the country’s best players, and four NBL franchises—Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Minneapolis and Rochester—moved to the BAA, bringing their star players with them. George Mikan, the biggest attraction in either league who by himself could virtually assure a team’s success, defected to the new league with the Minneapolis Lakers.

On August 3, 1949, representatives from the two leagues met at the BAA offices in New York’s Empire State Building to finalize the merger. Maurice Podoloff, head of the BAA since its inception, was elected head of the new league. The new NBA was made up of 17 teams that represented both small towns and large cities across the country. Through the 1950s, though, the number of teams dwindled, along with fan support, and by the 1954-55 season, only eight teams remained. That year, the league transformed the game with the creation of the 24-second clock, making play faster-paced and more fun to watch. Fans returned, and the league, now financially solvent, expanded throughout the 1960s and '70s. Today, the NBA attracts players—and millions of fans—from countries around the world.

Statistics and Facts about the NBA

According to Statista:


Photo: NBA
Photo: NBA

NBA salary cap in 2019/20: 109.14m USD

NBA average team payroll: 130.53m USD

Player expenses of the Los Angeles Lakers: 120m USD

Total earnings of LeBron James: 92.4m USD

NBA all-time scoring leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - number of points scored: 38,387

Russell Westbrook - number of career triple-doubles: 146


Average TV viewership of 2020 NBA Finals: 7.5m

TV ratings NBA finals 2019: 4

Twitter followers of the Los Angeles Lakers: 7.39m

Facebook fans of the Chicago Bulls: 17.42m

Share of survey respondents who think the '95-'96 Chicago Bulls team is the greatest of all-time: 41%


Total NBA regular season attendance: 17.24m

Average attendance in the NBA: 17.75k

The average attendance of the Philadelphia 76ers: 20,628

NBA average ticket price: 55.88 USD

NBA schedule: What games are on today?

Here's the full NBA schedule for the first three days of the regular season, plus final scores and how to watch every game live, as reported by Sporting News.

Friday, Dec. 25 (Christmas Day)

Game Time (ET) National TV
Pelicans vs. Heat Noon ESPN
Warriors vs. Bucks 2:30 p.m. ABC, fuboTV
Nets vs. Celtics 5 p.m. ABC, fuboTV
Mavericks vs. Lakers 8 p.m. ABC/ESPN
Clippers vs. Nuggets 10:30 p.m. ABC

How to watch, live stream NBA games

The NBA regular season tips off with four nationally-televised games over the first two days before a five-game slate on Christmas with each game on either ESPN or ABC.

On Tuesday, the new-look Nets hosts Golden State in Game 1 of a TNT doubleheader. It will be Kevin Durant's first game since leaving the Warriors after the 2018-19 season and sitting out all of last season with an Achilles injury. The doubleheader concludes with the defending champion Lakers hosting Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers. Both games can be streamed on the Watch TNT app.

Wednesday features two more nationally televised games, this time on ESPN. The Bucks travel to Boston for a potential preview of the Eastern Conference Finals at 7:30 p.m., before coverage heads to Phoenix where Chris Paul, Devin Booker and the Suns host Luka Doncic and the Mavs. Both games can be streamed on the Watch ESPN app.

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