On August 3, 1949, representatives from the two leagues met at the BAA offices in New York’s Empire State Building to finalize the merger. Maurice Podoloff, head of the BAA since its inception, was elected head of the new league. The new NBA was made up of 17 teams that represented both small towns and large cities across the country.
Through the 1950s, though, the number of teams dwindled, along with fan support, and by the 1954-55 season, only eight teams remained. That year, the league transformed the game with the creation of the 24-second clock, making play faster-paced and more fun to watch. Fans returned, and the league, now financially solvent, expanded throughout the 1960s and 70s. Today, the NBA has 30 franchises and attracts players—and millions of fans—from countries around the world.