The NBA’s 82-game regular season begins in late-October and concludes in April, at which point the playoffs start. Each franchise plays 41 games at home and 41 away. The season’s schedule is organized like so:
- Teams play each member of their division four times each year for a total of sixteen games.
- They also play six of the teams from the other two divisions in their conference four times apiece, giving them another twenty-four games.
- The remaining four teams from the other two divisions in the conference are played three times each, equaling twelve games.
- They also play each opponent in the other conference twice, which gives us another thirty games on the schedule and brings the total to 82.
The playoffs are organized by Eastern and Western Conferences. At the end of the regular season, sixteen teams in total – eight per conference – advance to the playoffs. The playoffs are seeded one through eight and are organized strictly by record. The team with the best regular-season record in any given playoff matchup is granted home court advantage.
The NBA playoffs are four rounds long, with each round consisting of a best-of-seven series. The team with home court advantage plays the first two contests on their home court. The series follows a 2-2-1-1-1 pattern, meaning the higher seed will get games one, two, five, and seven in their home stadium, while games three, four, and six are played away.
In the Finals, the Eastern Conference champion faces off against the Western Conference champion for the NBA title. From 1985 until 2013, the Finals followed a 2-3-2 pattern, but it was deemed unfair to the franchise with home court advantage and scrapped for the standard 2-2-1-1-1.
All-Stars and All-Time Greats
The NBA has employed some of the most beloved athletes of all time. Players like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James became global icons as a result of their play on Association basketball courts. Many of the legendary ballers have stayed involved with the NBA either through ownership of a team, mentorship roles, or as coaches and front office employees. Here is a small preview of the types of players you can expect to read about on our NBA’s Greatest Players page:
- Michael Jordan – The GOAT. Michael Jordan was a six-time champion, legendary shoe salesman, and is currently the owner of the Charlotte Hornets.
- LeBron James – LeBron James earned the nickname “King James” as far back as high school. Since entering the league in 2003, he’s lived up to the hype and won three titles along with a boatload of individual awards.
- Larry Bird – Larry Bird is a legendary Boston Celtic. The “hick from French Lick” is one of the game’s great shooters and is one half of the rivalry with Magic Johnson that’s credited with bringing the NBA into the mainstream.
- Hakeem Olajuwon – Hakeem “the Dream” is one of the most exceptional centers to ever step on the court. He won back-to-back titles in 1994 and 1995 and is best known for his destruction of David Robinson in the 1995 playoffs after watching David receive the MVP trophy.
- Kareem Abdul Jabbar – Kareem Abdul Jabbar was a legendary winner at every level of the game. At UCLA, he took part in a dynasty, and in the NBA, he won titles with both the Bucks and the Lakers. He’s best known for the skyhook, although his career longevity is even more impressive.
- Magic Johnson– Magic is one of the top point guards in NBA history. He spent his career as the face of the LA Lakers, leading those Showtime Lakers to five NBA championships.
- Bill Russell – Bill Russell is probably the most well-respected former player ever to step foot in the NBA. He won eleven championships as a Celtic and five MVPs. All he cared about was winning, and that’s all he did.
The league is currently in the middle of one of the greatest talent boons in its 71-year history, which promises to add more players to the list of global icons in the near future.
To read more about the greatest players in basketball history, check out our article dedicated to the subject: