Basketball is one of the foremost betting sports in the United States courtesy of the NBA and the high profile superstars that have adorned its courts since 1950.
The majority of bookmakers have full betting coverage on the sport with outright, conference and top scorer and match betting (including handicap betting) available at the start of and through the whole season.
The sport originated in 1891, but the first professional league was formed in 1946 in America (BAA) and superseded by the NBA in 1974.
It is by far the most prominent of all the professional basketball leagues in the world in terms of spectators, sponsorship, salaries, talent and level of competition.
African American players first made their mark in the sport in the 1950's, but the first golden era in the sport in the United States was in the 1960'swhen the Boston Celtics ruled the roost winning 8 back to back championships, a record that still stands today.
Drug related issues marred the image of the sport at the backend of the 1970's despite a list of stars on parade that included Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Rick Barry and Walt Frazier.
In the 1980's the Boston Celtics (3 titles) and the Los Angeles Lakers (5) dominated the NBA with their two superstars, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.
And then came the era of the ultimate basketball superstar, Michael Jordan. He first appeared on an NBA court in 1984, but it wasn't until 1991 that Air Jordan won his first championship.
Along with Scottie Pippin, Jordan would lead the Chicago Bulls to six championships in eight years which overshadowed somewhat the immense talent of Hakeem Olajuwon's efforts in winning back to back titles 94/95 with the Houston Rockets.
Since the break-up of the great Bulls side the Western Conference has dominated the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs combining to win the title in nine of the last 12 years bringing to the fore such superstars as David Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
On the International front, Eastern Europe has always had a strong representation in the NBA with Serbia, Croatia and old Yugoslavia supplying many top class players with Drazan Petrovic and Toni Kukoc (member of the Chicago Bulls side) best known. Yet every time a rep team from NBA played a European team from 1987 to 1999 the NBA came out on top.
On the Olympic front the USA have dominated the gold medal placing winning 13 of the 17 competitions, the other successful teams being Soviet Union (2), Yugoslavia and Argentina.
2000 - Los Angeles Lakers
2001 - Los Angeles Lakers
2002 - Los Angeles Lakers
2003 - San Antonio Spurs
2004 - Los Angeles Lakers
2005 - San Antonio Spurs
2006 - Dallas Mavericks
2007 - San Antonio Spurs
2008 - Los Angeles Lakers
2009 - Los Angeles Lakers
2010 - Los Angeles Lakers