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The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a men’s professional basketball league in North America and the top professional basketball league in the world. The league has 30 teams (29 in the United States and 1 in Canada) and has a global reach with players from all around the world. The NBA was founded in 1946 as the Basketball Association of America before merging with the National Basketball League in 1949 and changing its name to the National Basketball Association. The 30 teams in the NBA play 82 regular season games between October and April. The winner of each division and the remaining top five teams from each conference then make the playoffs which are made up of four rounds of best-of-seven series. The NBA champion is the team that makes it through their own conference’s three playoff rounds and then defeats the winner of the other conference. The champion is crowned in mid to late June.

Since there are only 15 players on each basketball team (and just 13 active), the NBA has the world’s highest paid athletes by average annual salary. The league is known for its players having big personalities both on and off the court. Players like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James have dominated the sport on the court but have also created huge name brands off of it. The Boston Celtics hold the record for most NBA championship titles with 17, and the Los Angeles Lakers are in a close second with 16. The Lakers, however, have the most NBA Finals appearances with 31. The Chicago Bulls are famous for dominating the 1990s with consecutive championships from 1991-1993 and 1996-1998.