The History of the NBA Playoffs
The National Basketball Association (NBA) playoffs have a rich and deep history dating back to the league’s inaugural season in 1946-1947. The playoffs are a post-season tournament that determines the NBA champion for the year.
The first NBA playoffs took place in 1947, and it featured the Philadelphia Warriors, Chicago Stags, Boston Celtics, and New York Knicks. The Warriors won the championship by defeating the Stags in the finals.
Throughout the years, the NBA playoffs have undergone several changes. In 1950, the league expanded to 17 teams, and the playoffs format was adjusted to include six teams. In 1958, the playoffs expanded to include eight teams. In 1967, the playoffs expanded to include 12 teams, and the first round became a best-of-seven series.
In 1971, the NBA introduced the Eastern and Western Conferences and a conference-based playoff system. The playoff format was adjusted to include 16 teams, with the top eight teams from each conference qualifying for the playoffs.
The Play-In Tournament was introduced in the 2019-2020 season. Now, the 7th seed hosts the 8th seed while the 9th seed hosts the 10th seed. The winner of the 7/8 game is the seed, while the loser hosts the winner of the 9/10 game for the right to be the 8th and final seed.
The NBA playoffs have seen many memorable moments, including Bill Russell leading the Boston Celtics to 11 championships in 13 years in the 1950s and 1960s, Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls winning six championships in the 1990s, and the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics meeting in the NBA Finals multiple times in the 1980s and 2000s.
Now, with 20 teams being in the playoffs, the possibility for more memorable moments and Cinderella runs is only greater! That’s what makes the playoffs so special for fans of the sport.