The National Basketball Association, also known as the NBA, is comprised of teams from both the United States and Canada. When it comes to major professional basketball leagues, the NBA is a slam dunk. As an organization that many young athletes aspire to join, the National Basketball Association is one of both opportunity and strong competition.
Each year, the NBA holds a draft to decide which hopeful players will find their spot on a professional basketball team roster. Any athlete who is a high school graduate, is at least 17 years of age and has either relinquished or completed his collegiate basketball career by mid-May of the same year may participate in the NBA draft. Following team training camps, the regular NBA season begins in October or November, and is interrupted only once for the All-Star Game in February. Each year, NBA franchise teams look for the next Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal or Larry Bird through an extensive search of athletes from high school, college and minor league teams.
The Women’s National Basketball Association, also known as the WNBA, is an organization that was brought about by the emerging popularity of women’s basketball during the mid-90s. In 1996, the American Basketball League (ABL) was formed as the nation’s only professional women’s basketball league at the time. The following year, the WNBA was formed and soon became the major women’s basketball league in America. In 1998, the ABL filed for bankruptcy and, as they say, the rest is history. The WNBA, which was developed by the NBA, currently hosts a number of franchise teams and some of the top female athletes in the nation.
Today, basketball fans are treated to events featuring talented athletes, immense competition and the naming of an annual championship team that serves as the league’s top performer for the season. James Naismith, who is credited for having invented the sport of basketball, is honored as both a member and the namesake of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. As a physical education teacher, Naismith created basketball as an indoor sport for his students to enjoy during the cold winter months. It was this concept that would eventually lead to a professional sport that has introduced us to legends, brought us to the edge of our seats and continues to entertain us year after year.