How many teams are in the NBA?

NBA Logo. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
NBA Logo. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

For those of you just getting into the NBA, or for those of you who are fans of the New Orleans Pelicans and are trying to broaden your overall understanding of the league, the first question you should probably ask is: how many teams are in the National Basketball Association (NBA)?

The NBA, just like the Major League Baseball (MLB) association, has 30 teams in its league. This is two less than the National Football League (NFL) and National Hockey League (NHL), which both house 32 teams.

The list of the 30 teams in the NBA goes as follows: our Pelicans, the Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, and Washington Wizards.

However, the NBA wasn’t always comprised of 30 teams. In fact, for most of its history, the NBA has had less than that. It wasn’t until 2004 that the NBA reached the 30 team mark (when it added the then Charlotte Bobcats).

In 1946-47, the league started out with eleven teams. But the number didn’t increase immediately. It actually decreased down to eight teams the following season. The number eventually ballooned up to 17 teams in 1949-50, before dwindling back down to eight again in 1955.

From there, it has been a gradual increase in number of teams in the NBA. In 1961, the league added one team. In 1966, it added another. The following year (1967), it added two more. And the year after that (1968) two more were added. That brought the total number of teams up to 14.

From 1968 to 1975, four more teams were added. And then, in 1976, the league saw its largest increase of the modern era – adding four teams to increase its total from 18 to 22. Since then, the only other years that a team/teams have been added are 1980 (one team added), 1988 (two teams), 1989 (two teams), 1995 (two teams), and 2004 (one).

And that’s how the NBA got to the number 30. Let’s see if that’s where it stays or if more teams are to come in the future.

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