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The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in North America, and is widely considered to be the premier men's professional basketball league in the world. It has 30 franchised member clubs (29 in the United States and 1 in Canada), and is an active member of USA Basketball (USAB),[1] which is recognized by FIBA (also known as the International Basketball Federation) as the national governing body for basketball in the United States. The NBA is one of the four major North American professional sports leagues. NBA players are the world's best paid sportsmen, by average annual salary per player.

The league was founded in New York City on June 6, 1946, as the Basketball Association of America (BAA).[3] The league adopted the name National Basketball Association on August 3, 1949, after merging with its rival National Basketball League (NBL). The league's several international as well as individual team offices are directed out of its head offices located in the Olympic Tower at 645 Fifth Avenue in New York City. NBA Entertainment and NBA TV studios are directed out of offices located in Secaucus, New Jersey.

The Basketball Association of America was founded in 1946 by owners of the major ice hockey arenas in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States and Canada. On November 1, 1946, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the Toronto Huskies hosted the New York Knickerbockers at Maple Leaf Gardens, in a game the NBA now regards as the first played in its history.[4] The first basket was made by Ossie Schectman of the Knickerbockers. Although there had been earlier attempts at professional basketball leagues, including the American Basketball League and the NBL, the BAA was the first league to attempt to play primarily in large arenas in major cities. During its early years, the quality of play in the BAA was not significantly better than in competing leagues or among leading independent clubs such as the Harlem Globetrotters. For instance, the 1948 ABL finalist Baltimore Bullets moved to the BAA and won that league's 1948 title, and the 1948 NBL champion Minneapolis Lakers won the 1949 BAA title. Prior to the 1948-49 season, however, NBL teams from Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Rochester jumped to the BAA, which established the BAA as the league of choice for collegians looking to turn professional.