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NBA 101

How many quarters are there in a basketball game?

There are four quarters in a basketball game.

As per FIBA rules, a quarter lasts 10 minutes for a total game time of 40 minutes, while in the NBA, a quarter lasts 12 minutes for a total game time of 48 minutes.

The NCAA has chosen to have two halves of 20 minutes each for a total game time of 40 minutes.

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FIBA Basketball Quarters
NBA Basketball Quarters
NCAA Basketball Halves

FIBA Basketball Quarters

The Federation Internationale de Basketball Amateur, commomnly know as FIBA, is the governing body for all basketball activity across the globe.

It was founded on June 18th, 1932 and has 212 basketball-playing member countries.

It sets the rules for all FIBA-associated tournaments such as the Olympics, the Asian Games, and other such international competitions.

The playing time in a FIBA basketball game is 40 minutes. Teams play for four quarters which are 10 minutes long each.

There is a 2 minutes break between the first and the second quarter, and then again between the third and the fourth quarter.

The period between the second and the third quarters is called a halftime which lasts for 15 minutes.

NBA Basketball Quarters

The National Basketball Association, commonly know as NBA, is the premier basketball league in the United States of America. Many believe that it is the best basketball league in the world. governing body for all basketball activity across the globe.

It was founded on June 6th, 1946 and currently has 30 teams playing in a season.

The playing time in an NBA basketball game is 48 minutes. Teams play for four quarters which are 12 minutes long each.

The duration of the breaks is the same as FIBA basketball, i.e. 2 minutes between the first and second, and then the third and fourth quarters. NBA games also have a 15-minutes long halftime.

NCAA Basketball Halves

The National Collegiate Athletic Association, commonly know as NCAA, is the premier university and college basketball league in the United States of America.

It governs all college and university level athletics and sports played in the USA.

It was founded in 1910 and currently has nearly 1,100 member colleges and universities. They are divided into three divisions:

Division I – 350 member institutions

Division II – 310 member institutions

Division III – 440 member institutions

The playing time in an NCAA basketball game is 40 minutes. Teams play for two halves which are 20 minutes long each.

The duration of the halftime in the NCAA game is 15 minutes.


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NBA 101

What is LeBron James net worth?

NBA star LeBron James has earned over $1 billion in his lifetime. He has earned nearly $350 million in NBA salary, and over $700 million in endorsements.

Hi biggest NBA paycheck is $41 million which he will earn playing for the Los Angles Lakers this season (2021-22). His biggest endorsement – an estimated $30 million dollars per year – comes from Nike – a sportswear brand.

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LeBron James current NBA contract
LeBron James Nike deal
LeBron James other endorsements
LeBron James investments

LeBron James current NBA Contract

LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

LeBron James has earned nearly $350 million in NBA salary during his career.

He made his most money playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Over the 11 seasons he has played for the franchise, he has earned close to $170 million.

His current contract with the Los Angeles Lakers is a 2-year/$85.6 million contract that ends after the 2022-23 season. He will earn $41.1 million in the first year, and $44.4 million in the second year of the contract.

He is eligible for a $97 million extension that could see James continue with the Lakers franchise till 2025.

LeBron James Nike deal

A detail view of the Nike Lebron 15 sneakers worn by LeBron James. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

LeBron James is a brand ambassador for Nike. his current deal is a “lifetime” deal that is reportedly worth about $30 million a year.

James’ signed his first contract with Nike Basketball in 2003 for seven years worth $90 million. It was the largest contract that Nike had ever given to a rookie player at the time. It was reported that Reebok had offered James a seven year deal worth $115 million which he turned down.

LeBron James endorsements

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers. Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

LeBron James has more than a dozen multi-million dollar endorsement contracts.

Some of his biggest endorsement contracts include Nike, PepsiCo, 2K Sports, AT&T, Beats by Dre, Calm, GMC, RIMOWA, Tonal, and Walmart.

PepsiCo: James’ deal with the beverage maker is reportedly a multi-year contract that he signed in 2021. James moved to endorsing Pepsi after 18 years with Coca Cola; Coke signed him as a 18-year-old rookie.

2KSports: is a video-game producer that produces the wildly popular NBA 2K series of games.

AT&T: This is a multi-year deal with the world’s largest telecommunications company. James entered this deal in 2020.

Beats by Dre: is a primarily an audio company that produces speakers and headphones. in 2014, when Apple acquired Beats by Dre for $3 billion, it was reported that James made over $30 million in that deal. James received a stake in the company for simply agreeing to wear the headphones while in public. However, in 2020 former NBA player Kendrick Perkins said that LeBron as actually a “silent investor” in Beats Electronics, and that the acquisition in 2014 might have netted James close to $700 million. The claim remains unconfirmed and unsubstantiated.

Calm: is a meditation app that was valued at over $2 billion in 2020. In 2019, James partnered with Calm to release a series of videos in which he talks about the importance of mental health and how meditation helps his stay focused.

GMC: The automobile maker roped in James to push and promote the EV (electronic vehicle) version of its flagship Hummer SUV.

RIMOWA: is a luxury luggage maker that partnered with James in 2018. in fact, James was already customer of the brand for a few years before the opportunity to partner with them on an endorsement came through.

Walmart: LeBron James partnered with Walmart in 2019 to help improve accessibility and availability of daily necessities to underprivileged communities. It started with the launch of James’ I PROMISE School that aims to pro vide high quality education to economically underprivileged children in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.

LeBron James investments and other earnings

NBA Player Lebron James and Maverick Carter. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images)

SpringHill Entertainment: Is an entertainment and production company owned by LeBron James and Maverick Carter and is valued at $725 million.

Blaze Pizza: In 2012, James took an active investment of $1 million in in a pizza restaurant called Blaze Pizza. In addition to owning close to two dozen outlets of the pizza chain, James has also seen his initial investment rise. Blaze Pizza has seen its valuation rise to over 300 million over the last ten years, taking the value of James’ stake to an estimated #30-40 million.

Epic Games: The creators behind the game Fortnite, were part of a group that invested over $100 million dollars into LeBron James’ SpringHill company. The deal also included Fortnite being able to use James’ likeness for a character in the game.

Tonal: The company makes an interactive exercise machine. James made an undisclosed investment in the company, and also signed up as its brand ambassador. By 2021 the company had raised over $450 million and was valued at $1.6 billion.


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NBA 101

How many rings does Michael Jordan have?

Michael Jordan retired from the NBA having won six rings, or six NBA Championships.

He won rings in the following seasons – 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, and 1998.

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Michael Jordan’s first NBA Ring
Jordan’s first NBA three-peat
Jordan’s first NBA ring after retirement
Jordan’s second three-peat and last NBA ring

Michael Jordan’s first NBA ring

Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls with the 1991 NBA Championship Trophy.(Photo by Ken Levine/Getty Images)

Jordan was a four-time NBA scoring champion before the 1990-91 NBA season. However, no matter how hard he tried he never seemed to get to the NBA Finals.

In fact, in the three prior seasons his Bulls team was eliminated by the Detroit Pistons.

In the 1991 NBA Playoffs, Jordan – who was once again scoring champion – took care of business against the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. The Chicago Bulls swept the Pistons to setup an NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers, led by their star Magic Johnson, came prepared to fight a young Bulls team led by a 27-year-old Jordan.

The Bulls proved to be the better team throughout, beating the Lakers in five games and giving Jordan his first NBA ring.

Jordan’s first NBA three-peat

Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan victorious with three fingers(Photo by Walter Iooss Jr./Sports Illustrated via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Jordan and his Bulls were now the two-time reigning NBA champions. They had finished the 1992-93 NBA season with 57 wins – the second best record in the Eastern Conference.

They won their first two series in the 1993 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers fairly easily, sweeping the Hawks 3-0 and the Cavaliers 4-0.

The 1993 NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Bulls and their arch rivals the New York Knicks did not go as per Jordan’s plans.

The New York Knicks came blazing out of the gate winning the first two games. Jordan and the Bulls had not lost two playoff games back-to-back since the 1990 NBA playoffs.

However, the team and Jordan jumped back with stunning performances and won four games straight.

They then beat the Phoenix Suns – led by regular season MVP Charles Barkley – in six games to give Jordan is third NBA ring and first NBA three-peat.

Jordan’s first NBA ring returning from retirement

Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls. (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jordan retired for the first time in 1993 after finding out about the tragic passing of his father. He went to play baseball – a sport his father had encouraged him to play.

However, in 1995, Jordan chose to return to the NBA halfway through the season. The 1995 season did not end as per Jordan’s or the Bulls’s expectations as they lost to the Orlando Magic in six games in the 1995 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals.

The next season – 1995-96 – Jordan and the Bulls came back with a vengeance.

They won a record 72-games, and Jordan once again led the NBA in scoring.

The NBA Playoffs were just as entertaining as Jordan and the Bulls lost just three out of fifteen games to put NBA ring no. 4 on Jordan’s hand. Tis was Jordan’s most emotional championship since it was his first NBA championship without his father around.

Jordan’s second three-peat and last NBA ring

Michael Jordan (L) and Chicago Bulls head coach Phil Jackson (R). (Photo by JEFF HAYNES / AFP) (Photo by JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images)

By the 1997-98 season, Jordan had played 12 seasons in the NBA. He had won five rings, and was the scoring champion for nine seasons.

However, at the start of the season there were rumblings that the team might be dismantled at the end of the season.

There was buzz that Phil Jackson would be replaced, and Jordan and some of the key Bulls members such as Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman were sure they did not want to play for anyone else.

The Bulls ownership stood steadfast in their decision. Jordan and Bulls decided to make one last run at the championship.

They finished the regular season with 62 wins – tied with the Utah Jazz for the best record in the NBA.

The 1998 NBA Playoffs started well for the Bulls – they swept the New Jersey Nets and beat the Charlotte Hornets in five games.

However, the Indian Pacers gave Jordan and the Bulls a hard time. They took them to a Game 7, but eventually lost.

Bulls then went on to play the Utah Jazz in the NBA Finals for the second time in two seasons. Jordan and the Bulls beat the Jazz in six games, giving Jordan his second career three-peat and NBA ring No. 6.


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NBA 101

Who is the youngest NBA player?

Andrew Bynum is the youngest player to have ever played in an NBA game. He was 17 years and 244 days old when he suited up for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2005-06 NBA season.

Joshua Giddey is 19 years and 158 days and is the youngest NBA player actively playing in the 2021-22 season. He is a point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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Youngest NBA player ever
Youngest NBA player in the 2021-22 NBA season
Youngest NBA player to start an NBA game
Youngest NBA player to win an MVP
Youngest NBA player to win an NBA Finals MVP
Youngest NBA player to win an NBA championship

Youngest NBA player ever

Andrew Bynum was drafted with the 10th overall pick in Round 1 of the 2005 NBA Draft. He was 17 years and 244 days old on the day.

The Los Angeles Lakers were looking for a gifted big man, and Bynum seemed to their answer. He averaged 22 points, 17 rebounds and 5 blocks as a senior in high school. The Lakers franchise felt they could repeat the success they had with another high school player named Kobe Bryant.

Bynum did no play much his first season. Between battling injuries and his inexperience he played just 46 games and finished with averages of 1.6 points and 1.7 rebounds.

It wasn’t until the 2011-12 season that he played and started in 60 games and finished with career highs of 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds.

An injury sdielined him for the whole of next season and Bynum was never the same.

He retired in 2014 with career averages of 11.5 points and 7.7 rebounds.

Youngest NBA player in the 2021-22 NBA season

Josh Giddey #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Joshua Giddey, 19 years, was picked 6th overall in Round 1 of the 2021 NBA draft. He was 18 years and 335 days old at the draft.

A 6’8″ guard, Giddey was born in Australia and played a season of professional basketball with the Adelaide 36ers.

That experience seems to have helped him ease into the NBA where he is averaging 12.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

At the time of this article his best game came in a win against the New York Knicks where he had a triple-double finishing with 28 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists.

Youngest NBA player to start a game

Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Walter Iooss Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)

The late great Kobe Bryant was the youngest NBA player to start a game.

Bryant, a 6’8″ guard, was just shy of his 18th birthday (17 years and 312 days) when he was picked 13th overall in Round 1 by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1996 NBA Draft.

On January 28, 1997, Bryant started the game against the Dallas Mavericks. He finished the game with 12 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals.

Bryant retired after the 2015-16 season after winning five championships, and finishing with a career total of 33,643 points scored.

Youngest NBA player to win MVP

Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Derrick Rose, a 6’2″ point guard, was the youngest NBA player to win an MVP Trophy at the age of 22 years and 191 days.

Rose was the 1st pick in the 2008 NBA Draft and was everything the Chicago Bulls hoped he would be.

In the 2010-11 season, finished with a career high 25.0 points per game, while also averaging 7.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game.

He led the Bulls to 62 wins – the best record in the NBA – and wins in Round 1 and Round 2 of the 2011 NBA playoffs.

Youngest NBA player to win an NBA Finals MVP

Los Angeles Lakers Magic Johnson (32) (Photo by Manny Millan /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images) (Set Number: X24508 )

Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson is the youngest NBA player to win the NBA Finals MVP trophy. He was 20 years old.

Johnson, a 6’9″ guard, was the first pick in the 1979 NBA draft. He was believed to be way ahead of his time – a 6’9″ player running and playing point was non-existent in the NBA at the time.

In the 1980 NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers, Johnson and the Lakers were up 3-2 after Game 5. In that game, their best player – the center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – suffered a badly sprained ankle in the third quarter. While Jabbar finished the game after receiving some treatment, he was unable to travel to Philadelphia for Game 6.

Johnson, a 20-year-old rookie at the time, bravely agreed to start and the play the game at the center position.

He blew away everyone, finishing with a game high 42 points and 15 rebounds, and bringing home the NBA championship and the NBA Finals MVP Trophy.

Youngest NBA player to win an NBA championship

Darko Milicic #31 of the Detroit Pistons. (Photo by Allen Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

This may come as a shock to most NBA fans, but the youngest NBA player to win a championship is Darko Milicic.

Milicic, a 7’0″ forward, was a phenom in Europe. He was drafted with the 2nd pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. He was picked ahead of players such as Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade.

While Milicic never lived up to the hype, he was fortunate enough to be part of a Detroit Pistons team that had put together a contender with players such as Chauncey Billups, Richard ‘Rip’ Hamilton, and Ben Wallace.

The Pistons upset the three-time reigning champions, the Los Angeles Lakers in five games in the 2004 NBA Finals, making Milicic the youngest NBA champion at the age 18 years and 361 days.


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NBA 101

How long is an NBA basketball game?

An NBA game has 48 minutes of playing time. It is divided into four quarters of 12 minutes each.

There is a break of two (2) minutes between the 1st & 2nd quarter, and between the 3rd and 4th quarter, while halftime at an NBA game is 15 minutes long.

Incase a game goes into overtime, each overtime period is 5 minutes with a break of two (2) minutes between each overtime period.

Basketball is a stoppage-time game, i.e. the clock stops when there is a foul, or the ball goes out of bounds. Due to this, modern NBA games last up to two and a half (2.5) hours including breaks and entertainment, while an overtime game can last up to three (3) hours.

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How long was the first basketball game?
College basketball vs. the NBA – Two halves vs. Four quarters
How long is a live NBA game?
What was the longest NBA game ever played?

How long was the first basketball game?

Dr. James Naismith, who invented the game of basketball, decided that a game should be no more that 35 minutes long.

A basketball was divided into two halves of 30 minutes each, and a five (5) minute break between the halves.

12. The time shall be two fifteen-minute halves, with five minutes rest between.

Rules of basket ball – Dr. James Naismith, inventor of basketball

Since the game was invented to his students active, he felt 35 minutes of activity was long enough for his students to get a good workout, yet short enough so they did not get too bored.

College basketball vs. the NBA – Two halves vs. Four quarters

Basketball was soon adopted by colleges as a part of their sports calendar.

They increased the length of each half to be twenty minutes. The five (5) minute break in between remained the same. This took the total playing time to forty minutes and a full game to forty five minutes.

When the BAA or Basketball Association of America (as the NBA was called at the time) it decided to increase the length of a full game experience to two hours. They felt two (2) hours was the perfect amount of time for a fan and his or her family to enjoy a game of basketball.

To do this, the BAA decided to:

One, divide the game into four quarters instead of two halves.
Two, increase the length of each quarter to twelve minutes.
Three, keep a break of two minutes between the 1st & 2nd, and the 3rd & 4th quarters.
Four, to increase the halftime break to 15 minutes.

That took the total playing time to 48 minutes, and the length of a full game to 1 hour 7 minutes including breaks.

However, since in basketball is a stoppage game, i.e. the time stops when the ball goes out of bounds or a foul is committed. This takes the total time from the opening tip-off to the final whistle to about two (2) hours.

How long is a live NBA game?

The length of a full NBA game has not changed.

It is still four quarters of 12 minutes each with two minute break between quarters and a 15-minute break between halves.

However, as the NBA grows, it has a host of partners and entertainment events during live games.

In the arena, fans are entertained with team dancers, mascots, partner or sponsor activity, and popular performers and music artists.

For the fans watching at home, they get to see advertisements, and sometimes the entertainment at the venue as mentioned above.

This has taken the total time of a modern NBA game to two and a half hours.

In addition to what was discussed above, the modern NBA game also allows fans to watch pre-game warmups, and an elaborate player introduction.

In case an NBA game goes into overtime, the a modern NBA game can last up to three (3) hours.

The longest NBA game ever played

The Indianapolis Olympians and the Rochester Royals hold the record for the longest game ever played. It was game that lasted six overtimes, and finished with a score of 75-74. In fact the teams shot more free throws (75) than they made field-goals (34).

The contest was among a handful that convinced the NBA that something needed to be done about the duration of games. It led to the discussion about a “shot” clock in 1953, and eventually the introduction of the 24-second shot clock in 1954.


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NBA 101

How many games are in an NBA season?

NBA team play 82 games in the regular season, up to two games in the Play-In tournament, and up to 28 games in the playoffs.

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How and when did the NBA first decide to play 82 games?
How are NBA teams are divided by conference and divisions?
How are the 82 games calculated in the modern NBA era?
How many playoff games do NBA teams play?
What is the NBA Play-In tournament?
Summary
Sam Jones #24 of the Boston Celtics dribbles against Wilt Chamberlain #13 of the 76ers. (Photo by Focus on Sport via Getty Images)

How did the NBA first decide to play 82 games?

The NBA had its first season in 1946-47.

Its regular season and playoffs, however, underwent several changes over the years.

The first season, with just 11 teams, the NBA’s schedule had teams playing a total of at least 60 regular-season games, and up to 20 playoff games.

In the 1967-68 season, two expansion teams – the San Diego Rockets, and the Seattle Supersonics – took the total number of NBA teams to 12.

That season, each NBA team played eight (8) games against their conference rival – Eastern conference and Western conference – and seven (7) games against non-conference rivals.

Each conference had six teams.

Thus 82 games came from:

8 games x 5 conference rivals = 40 games.

7 games x 6 opposite conference rivals = 42 games.

The NBA however, continued to expand until the 2004-05 season. This was when the last expansion team – the Charlotte Bobcats (now the Charlotte Hornets) – joined the NBA, taking the total number of teams to 30. The number of teams remains unchanged to this day.

Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs reaches for the opening tip-off against Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat during Game One of the 2013 NBA Finals. (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

How NBA teams divided into conferences and divisions?

The modern NBA era features a total of 30 teams.

These teams are divided into two conferences – Eastern and Western – of 15 teams each.

Within a conference, teams are further subdivided into divisions. featuring five (5) teams each.

The Eastern Conference features the Atlantic Division, the Central Division and the Southeast Division.

The Western Conference features the Northwest Division, the Pacific Division, and the Southwest Division.

Here is the breakup of the teams by division, sorted alphabetically:

Eastern ConferenceWestern Conference
Atlantic DivisionNorthwest Division
Boston CelticsDenver Nuggets
Brooklyn NetsMinnesota Timberwolves
New York KnicksOklahoma City Thunder
Philadelphia 76ersPortland Trailblazers
Toronto RaptorsUtah Jazz
Central DivisionPacific Division
Chicago BullsGolden State Warriors
Cleveland CavaliersLos Angeles Clippers
Detroit PistonsLos Angeles Lakers
Indiana PacersPhoenix Suns
Milwaukee BucksSacramento Kings
Southeast DivisionSouthwest Division
Atlanta HawksDallas Mavericks
Charlotte HornetsHouston Rockets
Miami HeatMemphis Grizzlies
Orlando MagicNew Orleans Hornets
Washington WizardsSan Antonio Spurs
NBA teams sorted by conference and division.
Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors hugs Vince Carter #15 of the Memphis Grizzlies after the Warriors finished the 2015-16 NBA regular season with a 73-9 record. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

How are the 82 games calculated in the modern NBA era?

As we see above, there are 30 teams divided into two conferences and six divisions.

Each team will play

I. Four games against its division rivals; 4 games x 4 teams = 16 games.

II. Four games against six of its out-of-division conference rivals; 4 games x 6 teams = 24 games.

III. Three games against the remaining four out-of-division rivals; 3 games x 4 teams = 12 games.

III. Two games against its non-conference rivals; 2 games x 15 teams = 30 games.

That gives us a total of 82 games.

How, then, does the NBA decide which out-of-division conference rivals should a team play four times, and which they should play three times.

For this, the NBA has come up with a five-year rotation policy.

This means that once every five years, a team will play an out-of-division conference rival four times.

Year 1 to Year 4 – 3 games.

Year 5 – 4 games.

Year 6 – Year 9 – 3 games.

Year 10 – 4 games.

And so on.

Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs reaches for the opening tip-off against Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat during Game One of the 2013 NBA Finals. (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

How many playoff games do NBA teams play?

The NBA playoffs format has evolved over the years.

In its first season, the two top teams in each conference qualified for a best-of-seven semifinal. The second and the third-best teams in each conference battled for a spot in the second semifinal.

In the modern NBA era, there are four playoff rounds:

The first round (or) Quarter-Finals

The second round (or) Semi-Finals

The third round (or) Conference Finals

The NBA Finals.

Each round is a best-of-seven series; i.e. a team has to win four out of seven games to proceed to the next round.

Credit: NBA.com

What is the NBA Play-In tournament?

Till the 2019 playoffs, the top eight teams – based on their regular-season record – from each conference moved on to the Playoffs.

However, since the difference between the records of the seventh-seed and the tenth-seed was often so small, the NBA wanted to give more teams a chance to try and make it into the playoffs.

So starting in the 2020 NBA Playoffs, the NBA initiated the Play-In tournament.

The Play-in tournament is fairly simple:

It starts with two games:

Game 1 – 7-seed vs. 8-seed, and

Game 2 – 9-seed vs. 10-seed

The winner of Game 1 proceeds to get the seventh seed in the Playoffs.

The loser of Game 1 plays the winner of Game 2. The winner of this game gets the eighth seed in the Playoffs.

Summary

As mentioned at the start of this article, NBA teams play 82 regular season games, up to two games in the Play-In tournament, and up to 28 games in the NBA playoffs.

***

If you like this article you probably would like to learn more about how NBA teams earn their playoffs seeds, and how the regular season record matters.


Basketballbaba.com is a free-to-read resource on the NBA. You may consider showing your appreciation by buying something from Baba’s store. It is a combination of affiliate links to basketball books and gear, and also some exclusive BasketballBaba merchandise. for every purchase you make, 5% of the profits go towards the Dribble Academy Foundation.

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NBA 101 Salary Cap

What is the Highest Career NBA Salary Earned by a player?

NBA salaries continue to climb.

This is because of the growth in the NBA’s broadcasting deal – the last broadcasting deal was signed in 2014, a nine-year/$24 billion deal – and the growth of the NBA brand around the world.

Since it was first instituted in the 1984-’85 season, the NBA salary cap has increased or stayed the same for every NBA season except one – the 2009-’10 season –

Since then the career salary earnings of the top 100 players exceeds $17 billion (as of 2022), with the top ten earning 16% of that – $2.8 billion.

48 out of the top 100 are actively playing having made $8.3 billion till date.

This is a list of the ten NBA players who have earned the most salary in playing contracts during their careers.

Click to jump to section

10. Blake Griffin
9. Carmelo Anthony
8. James Harden
7. Shaquille O’Neal
6. Russell Westbrook
5. Kevin Durant
4. Kobe Bryant
3. Chris Paul
2. Kevin Garnett
1. LeBron James

10. Blake Griffin, Brooklyn Nets

NBA Career salary earnings: $255 million ($255,764,829)
Blake Griffin #2 of the Brooklyn Nets against the Boston Celtics (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)

Griffin was one-third of the Big Three on the LA Clippers.

He formed a high-flying and high scoring trio with point guard Chris Paul, and centre DeAndre Jordan between 2011 and 2017.

His current contract is a 1-year / $2.6 million player minimum contract.

Prior to joining the Brooklyn Nets, Griffin was a star on the Detroit Pistons and the LA Clippers.

His largest single-season salary was $34.2 million he received from the Pistons in 2019-20 – his last season there.

Griffin’s largest contract was with the LA Clippers with whom he signed a 5-year / $171 million deal in 2017.

9. Carmelo Anthony, Los Angeles Lakers

NBA Career salary earnings: $262 million ($262,523,093)
Carmelo Anthony #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)

Anthony is one of the two oldest active players on this list. He is considered by many to be among the most effortless scorers in the history of the NBA.

His current contract with the Los Angeles Lakers is a 1-year/$2.6 million player minimum deal.

Prior to that, Howard was a big earner, earning over $230 million over a 15-year span.

His career’s largest contract is the 5-years/$124 million contract the New York Knicks gave him at the start of the 2014-15 season. This was following the 3 years/$64 million contract he received from them in 2012. Prior to the Knicks, Anthony was a star with the Denver Nuggets and earned $75 million in salary over the eight he played for them.

Anthony’s highest single-season salary was the $26.2 million he earned during his one season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

8. James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers

NBA Career salary earnings: $268 million ($268,660,574)
James Harden #1 of Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

James Harden is by many to be one of the most skilled scoring guards in the history of the NBA.

He is one of three players – the other two being Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan – who have more than one season ranked in the All-time top-15 season scoring averages. The two seasons were 2018-19 where he averaged 36.13 ppg and 2019-20 where he averaged 34.34 ppg.

His current contract is a 4-year / $171 million contract he had signed with the Houston Rockets in 2019. This has carried on to his current team – the Philadelphia 76ers – through trades that included a stop at the Brooklyn Nets.

He is set to earn $47.4 million for the 2022-23 season – his highest per season salary ever.

This is Harden’s second $100 million+ contract; the last one being a 4 year / $117.9 million contract he signed with the Houston Rockets.

7. Shaquille O’Neal, retired

NBA Career salary earnings: $286 million ($286,344,668)
Shaquille O’Neal #34 of the Los Angeles Lakers. Mandatory Credit: Donald Miralle/Allsport.

The most dominant big man to ever play the sport, Shaq towered at 7’2″ and weighed a monstrous 325 pounds (147 kgs) at his apex.

The four-time NBA Champion led the NBA in FG% for ten seasons during his 20 year NBA career, topping off with 29.3 ppg in 1994-95.

His largest contract was the 7-year / $120 million contract he signed when he moved to the Los Angeles Lakers from the Orlando Magic – the team that drafted him.

It was the first of two $100 million+ contracts he signed in his career; the second one coming with the Miami Heat in 2005, where he signed a 5-year / $101 million contract.

In the 2004-05 season, O’Neal earned $27.6 million, making that the highest salary he has earned in a single season.

6. Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers

NBA Career salary earnings: $288 million ($288,581,670)
Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

Westbrook rakes in the numbers both on and off the court.

The former NBA MVP is the only player in the top 100 to make at least $30 million with four different teams.

Westbrook’s biggest single-season salary jump came at the start of the 2016-17 season when he earned $26.5 million for the season. He averaged a triple-double that season – only the second NBA player to do so after Oscar Robertson.

His largest contract is the 5-years/$206 million contract he signed in with the Oklahoma City Thunder at the start of the 2018-’19 season. He has been traded thrice since that contract, which will end in 2023 with Westbrook expecting to be paid over $47 million for the 2022-23 season.

Westbrook’s highest-earning season is the current season (2021-22) where is drawing a salary of $44 million.

5. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets

NBA Career salary earnings: $306 million ($306,172,746)
Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets against the Indiana Pacers. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

At just under 7-feet tall, Durant is a smooth operator on the court. The two time NBA champions has been the scoring champion four times in five seasons between 2009 and 2014.

His current contract is 4-year / $198 million extension he signed with the Brooklyn Nets starting 2022.

This was an extension of the 4-year / $164 million contract he had signed with the Golden State Warriors in a sign-and-trade deal in 2019.

His current contract is the largest contract he has ever signed. The $40 million he will earn this season makes it the biggest season paycheck of his career.

4. Kobe Bryant (late)

NBA Career salary earnings: $323 million ($323,312,307)
Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers against the Portland Trail Blazers. (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

The late Kobe Bryant is a five-time NBA Champion. He finished his career with 33,000 points, giving him the fourth highest points total in NBA history.

Bryant’s last contract with the Los Angeles Lakers was a 2-year / $48.5 million contract. This came on the heels of a 3-year / $83 million contract he signed in 2011

His career’s largest contract was the 7-year / $136 million contract he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2004.

The highest salary he has received in a season is the $30.4 he received in 2013-14.

3. Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns

NBA Career salary earnings: $330 million ($330,709,419)
Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Nicknamed “The Point God”, Paul continues to be be among the top points guards in the NBA in 2022 – his 17th year in the league.

He has led the NBA in steals six times, and in assists five times. He is also the only NBA player to lead the NBA in assists and steals three times – ’08, ’09, and ’14

His largest contract is the 4-year / $159.7 million which he signed while with the Houston Rockets in 2018. It also included a salary of $41 million in 2020-21 which is the highest salary he has received in a single season.

This is second $100 million+ contract, the first one being the 5-year / $107 million contract he signed when he joined the LA Clippers in 2013.

2. Kevin Garnett, retired

NBA Career salary earnings: $334 million ($334,304,240)
Kevin Garnett #21 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Bill Frakes/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

“The Big Ticket”, as he was often referred to, Kevin Garnett is one of three players on this list who entered the NBA right out of high school.

He led the NBA in rebounding four times and was named NBA regular season MVP in ’04.

His last contract was a 2-year / $ 16.5 million contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Garnett made headlines early in his career by getting a $100 million+ extension contract in 1998 right after his rookie contract. It was a 5-year / $126 million contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves. This was immediately followed by another $100 million+ contract. The Timberwolves put their trust in him by giving him a 4-year / $100 million contract in ’04.

The highest salary he has earned in a season is the $28 million he earned in ’04 as part of his extension contract with the Timberwolves.

1. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

NBA Career salary earnings: $387 million ($387,384,119)
LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

The self-proclaimed “The King” tops the list of All-time career earnings list, getting close to that coveted $400 million number.

The four-time NBA Champion has amassed just over 37,000 career points, putting him in second place behind the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He is also the only active player in the top-10 all time scoring list.

His current contract is a 2-year / $85.6 million which ends with the 2023 season.

The largest contract he has ever singed is the 4-year / $153.3 million contract he signed in 2018 with the Los Angeles Lakers.

He has signed almost three $100 million contract in his career – the other two being (a.) a 3-year / $99.8 million contract in 2016, and (b.) a 6-year / $109.8 million contract in 2010 – both of which he signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

His highest season payday will come in ’23 where he will rake in $44 million.


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