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National Basketball Association (NBA) History

The National Basketball Association (NBA) History

The National Basketball Association (NBA) was founded in 1946 as the Basketball Association of America. It adopted the name National Basketball Association in the fall of 1949 after adding several teams from the rival National Basketball League (NBL). Also this section covers the rival American Basketball Association league which in 1976 had 4 teams move to the NBA. Below is additional information on these two leagues.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) information on Rauzulu' Street:

National Basketball Association (NBA) Information
National Basketball Association (NBA) Directory
National Basketball Association Team Information
National Basketball Association (NBA) Awards
National Basketball Association (NBA) Records
National Basketball Association (NBA) Champions
National Basketball Association (NBA) All Star Game and Events
National Basketball Association (NBA) History of Leagues
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National Basketball League (NBL)

The National Basketball League (NBL) is one of the original leagues prior to the NBA. The National Basketball League was a professional basketball league in the United States from 1937 to 1949. The NBL started with 13 previously independent teams in 1937-38. The league was created by three corporations General Electric, Firestone and Goodyear. The league was made up mostly by teams in small Great Lakes towns and corporate teams. The NBL lasted 12 years before merging with the three-year-old Basketball Association of America in 1949 which was renamed the National Basketball Association. Some of the current NBA teams can chase their roots to the NBL. The Fort Wayner Zolloner Pistons are now the Detorit Pistons, the Detroit Games moved to Minneopolis became the Lakers, then moved on to Los Angeles. and the Rochester Royals are now the Sacramento Kings.

National Basketball League (NBL) Information


  • National Basketball League (NBL) Previous Teams
  • National Basketball League (NBL) Past Champions
  • National Basketball League (NBL) Leading Scorers
  • National Nasketball League (NBL Award Winners

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American Basketball Association (ABA)

The ABA was a league that was a rival to the NBA from 1967 to 1976.
The ABA was successful at first, but once NBA teams begain to lure stars away, the ABA begain to decline. Iin 1976 only 5 teams remained. Four of those teams, the Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, New York Nets, and San Antonio Spurs joined the NBA, while the fifth team the Spirt of St. Louis did not.

American Basketball Association (ABA) Information


  • American Basketball Association (ABA) Previous Teams
  • American Basketball Association (ABA) Past Champions
  • American Basketball Association (ABA) Leading Scorers
  • American Basketball Association (ABA) Award Winners

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American Basketball Timeline

1891 Basketball is invented by Dr. James Naismith, an instructor at a YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts (Dec 21). Naismith had been asked to come up with an indoor game free of rough play for the football and lacrosse players during the winter. A team consisted of nine players—a goalkeeper, two guards (right and left), three centres (right centre, left centre, and centre), two wings (right and left) and a home man.
1892 Lew Allen of Hartford Connecticut makes cylindrical baskets of heavy woven wire to eliminate peach baskets.
1894 Soccer balls replaced by basketballs.
1895 The backboard is introduced to prevent fans from interfering with play (baskets were often hung on balconies).
1898 The first professional league, the National Basketball League, is formed with six teams in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
1908 The dribbler is permitted to shoot the ball.
1920 Players are allowed to re-enter the game.
1923 Person fouled has to shoot the foul shot eliminating the designated foul shooter.
1925 The first major professional league, the American Basketball League is formed.
1929 Use of rope or chicken wire cage around the basketball court is discontinued.
1930 Professional leagues eliminate the double dribble.
1931 The American Basketball League disbands.
1932 The midcourt line is introduced to eliminate stalling.
1933-34 The American Basketball League begins play again.
1937 The National Basketball League is formed again.
1937-38 The center jump after each score is eliminated; 10 second rule goes into effect.
1939 Backboards are moved from 2 feet from the end line to 4 feet to allow more movement underneath.
1945 Defensive goaltending is banned; Players are now allowed five fouls before fouling out (previously the limit was four); 3-second violation enacted.
1946-47 The Basketball Association of America begins play. The 11-team league includes the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks and Philadelphia (now Golden State) Warriors.
1948 Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Minneapolis and Rochester jump to the BAA from the NBL.
1949 Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball League merge to become the NBA.
1949-50 The BAA merges with the National Basketball League to form the National Basketball Association. The league is made up of 17 teams in 3 divisions.
1950 Charles (Chuck) Cooper of Duquesne becomes the first African-American drafted in the NBA.
1950 The 1-and-1 free throw rule is adopted.
1951 First NBA All-Star Game played at Boston Garden: East 111, West 94.
1951-52 The NBA extends the width of the foul lane from six to 12 feet.
1953 The American Basketball League disbands.
1954-55 The NBA introduces the 24-second shot clock to curtail stalling tactics.
1958 Offensive goaltending is banned. 1-and-1 goes into effect on the seventh foul of the half. Uniform numbers “1”, “2” and any digit greater than “5 “ are banned.
1960 The Minneapolis Lakers become the first NBA team to move to the West Coast (become the Los Angeles Lakers).
1961 The American Basketball League begins play again and introduces the three-point shot.
1962 Wilt Chamberlain scores 100 points against the NY Knicks to lead Philadelphia Warriors to a 169-147 victory (March 2).
1963 The ABL disbands.
1964-65 The NBA extends the width of the foul lane from 12 feet to 16 feet.
1967-68 The American Basketball Association is born with George Mikan as its first commissioner.
1973-74 Steals and blocked shots are added as statistical categories (NBA).
1974-75 Moses Malone signs with Utah Stars of the ABA becoming the first player to go directly from high school into the pros.
1975 Players called for fouls no longer have to raise their hands.
1976 The ABA is dissolved. The NBA expands to include the ABA's four surviving franchises (Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, New York Nets and San Antonio Spurs).
1978-79 The NBA adds a third official for games.
1979-80 The NBA adopts the 3-point field goal (23' 9" from the basket). Chris Ford (Boston Celtics) makes the first official 3-pointer.
1979-80 The number of referees officiating an NBA game is reduced from three to two.
1982 Alternating possession rule adopted. All fouls assessed to a team’s bench are credited to the coach.
1983 5-second closely guarded play is changed from a jump ball to a turnover.
1987 Three-point field goal is introduced at 19-feet, 9-inches.
1988-89 The NBA again adds a third official for its games.
1991 Two free throws awarded with a team’s 10th personal foul of the half. Three free throws given to players fouled beyond the three point arc while shooting.
1992 Professional basketball players are allowed in the Olympics and the "Dream Team" (featuring Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson) is born.
1993 Unsportsmanlike technical fouls count toward a player’s disqualification and team’s bonus situation.
1994-95 NBA shortens their three-point line to a uniform 22 feet from the basket
1995 The NBA expands into Canada by adding the Toronto Raptors and the Vancouver Grizzlies.
1997-98 The NBA three-point line is lengthened to its original distance of 23 feet, 9 inches (except in the corners, where the distance remains 22 feet).
1999 When defensive players (college) force held-ball situations, the defensive team will receive possession regardless of which direction the possession arrow is pointing.
2000 College officials may view television replays to determine the timing of last-second shots.