The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a men's professional basketball league in North America; composed of 30 teams (29 in the United States and 1 in Canada). It is widely considered to be the premier men's professional basketball league in the world. The NBA is an active member of USA Basketball (USAB), 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 professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. NBA players are the world's best paid athletes 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). The league adopted the name National Basketball Association on August 3, 1949, after merging with the competing 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, NY. NBA Entertainment and NBA TV studios are directed out of offices located in Secaucus, New Jersey.
The NBA draft is an annual event dating back to 1947 in which the (now thirty) teams from the National Basketball Association (NBA) can draft players who are eligible and wish to join the league. These are typically college basketball players, but international players are also eligible to be drafted. College players who have finished their four-year college eligibility are automatically eligible for selection, while the underclassmen have to declare their eligibility and give up their remaining college eligibility. International players who are at least 22 years old are automatically eligible for selection, while the players younger than 22 have to declare their eligibility. Players who are not automatically eligible but have declared their eligibility are often called "early-entrants" or "early-entry candidates". The draft usually takes place at the end of June, during the NBA offseason. Since 1989, the draft has consisted of two rounds; this is much shorter than the entry drafts of the other major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada, all of which run at least seven rounds. Sixty players are selected in each draft. No player may sign with the NBA until he has been eligible for at least one draft.
In the past, high school players were also eligible to be selected. However, starting in the 2006 draft, high school players were not eligible to enter the draft directly after graduating from high school. The rules now state that high school players will gain eligibility for draft selection one year after their high school graduation, and they must also be at least 19 years old as of the end of the calendar year of the draft. Some players have chosen to use that year to play professionally overseas for example, such as Brandon Jennings (Italy), Emmanuel Mudiay (China), and Terrance Ferguson (Australia). Thon Maker was eligible for the 2016 draft despite not going to college because he chose to undertake a postgraduate year, so he was technically one year removed from graduation.