The NBA (National Basketball Association) is the the best basketball league in the world. Currently there are 30 teams playing in league (29 from the United States and 1 from Canada).

The first NBA season was organized in 1946-1947, the very first game being played between Toronto Huskies and New York Knicks.

The Boston Celtics have won the most championships (17) in NBA history. The team that plays it’s home games in the TD Garden first started dominating the league after the legendary coach Red Auerbach managed to aquire center Bill Russell and Tommy Heinsohn to play with Bob Cousy. Red Auerbach would eventually win 9 titles as head coach and Russell a record 11 titles a player, between 1957 and 1969 ). In 1974 and 1976 the Celtics won another 2 championships and in 1979 they drafted Larry Bird, a move that made sure they would be title contenders for another decade. With players like Larry Bird, Dennis Johnson, Danny Ainge, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, the Celtics won 3 titles in the 80’s. After long years of rebuilding and lack of results, the Celtics won another title in 2008, after they managed to sign Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to join Paul Pierce.

The team they defeated in the 2008 Finals was none other than their biggest rival and the second most successful team in NBA history, the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers won their first titles playing in Minneapolis and having the most dominant player in the league at that time, George Mikan. After relocating to Los Angeles in 1960, the Lakers continued to be successful, but they lost 6 finals against the Celtics in the 60’s (the team featured Jerry West and Elgin Baylor).  After the Lakers acquired Wilt Chamberlain, they managed to win the first title in Los Angeles in 1972. After Chamberlain retired, the Lakers signed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and drafted Magic Johnson in 1979, and the Showtime Lakers were born. In the 80’s  the Showtime Lakers, coached by Pat Riley, won 5 titles. After a decade without a title, in the 2000’s the Lakers (with Phil Jackson on the bench) started another dynasty. Players like Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher and later Pau Gasol and Ron Artest helped them win another 5 titles in 10 years.

The 1990’s are considered the golden years of the NBA, mainly because of the rising popularity the league gained outside the USA. This decade was dominated by the Chicago Bulls, whose leader was the player most people consider the best to ever play the game, Michael Jordan. The Bulls of course had other quality players too on their roster, such as Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoc, Ron Harper or Steve Kerr.

The rising popularity around the globe and the development of the game also meant that more and more international players managed to showcase their talent in the NBA. While in 1992 only 23 international players played in the NBA, today there are over 100 players from 42 different countries. This trend is growing because NBA teams have the financial power to offer the highest salaries, thus most of the best international players choose to try their luck in the NBA.

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