Feb 1, 2023 | Blog

When Does Basketball Season Start?

Basketball was invented and developed in the heartland of America and can be played using minimal equipment, making it affordable to all demographics. One of the five most popular sports in America, there are professional and amateur leagues all over the world that have sprung up in the last few decades.

From youth leagues all the way up to the NBA and Team USA, organized basketball games are almost always played indoors. That means if you’re pondering the question “when does basketball season start,” the answer is all year long, depending on the league and level of competition.

Let’s take a look at some leagues and schedules and find out about places to go to catch a game or to learn about the legends of the game and how basketball season came to be such an anticipated time for so many people.

So When Does Basketball Season Start?

As we touched on above, one of the best things about basketball season is that depending on the league, it can be basketball season all year. Sure, people typically check the NBA schedule and the NCAA schedule first, but then you have WNBA, Women’s NCAA, G-League, and Euro-League, and that’s just the beginning.

NBA Schedule

The NBA schedule tips off in mid-October most years (barring a labor stoppage or other extenuating circumstances) and concludes in early April. Teams play an 82-game schedule, and the NBA Playoffs start soon after the regular season concludes in April.

After the regular season finishes, a Play-In Tournament is played over three or four days. For example, the 2022-2023 Play-In Tournament will be held from April 11th thru the 14th, 2023.

Once the winners of the Play-in Tournament are crowned, the brackets are set for the NBA Playoffs, which begin directly afterward. The NBA Finals then start at the beginning of June. If you do the math, that’s roughly eight months of NBA basketball alone, and that doesn’t include the Summer League or preseason!

WNBA Schedule

The WNBA schedule plays off of the NBA schedule so as not to compete for fans in the stands. It starts in mid-May and concludes in early September. This is great for fans because that means wall-to-wall professional basketball all year long!

The WNBA Playoffs begin shortly after the regular season concludes and culminates with the WNBA Finals, which take place in mid-September. Starting in the 2023 season, the regular season schedule will expand to 40 games.

NCAA Schedule

The Men’s NCAA basketball season (Division I) begins in early November every year and wraps up sometime in mid-to-late April before the floodgates open on the NCAA Tournament. Perhaps the most anticipated event in all of basketball, the NCAA Tournament – also known as March Madness is an annual competition between the best 64 collegiate basketball teams in the country, the winner of which is crowned champion.

Other Leagues

Fans of any of the other leagues mentioned above should check local listings and schedules, as they sometimes shift their season start dates to accommodate other events, such as the Olympics. Again, there is action to be caught just about any time of year; it’s just a matter of working out time zones and availability.

Illinois Basketball Luminaries

Now that you know when to catch the start of the most popular basketball seasons let’s look at some of the most famous basketball players with roots or ties to the great State of Illinois. We’ll start with a pretty predictable one that is familiar to even the most fairweather basketball fan.

Michael Jordan

Widely considered the best basketball player of all time, Michael “Air” Jordan played most of his storied career with the Chicago Bulls. Famous for his clutch performances and dogged competitiveness, Jordan is a legend and a proud adopted son of Illinois.

Michael led the Chicago Bulls to three consecutive NBA championships before temporarily retiring to play baseball for the Chicago White Sox organization. He returned soon after to deliver yet another “three-peat” to secure his place in the pantheon of NBA legends. Jordan is also a four-time Olympic gold medalist, most notably as a part of “The Dream Team” in the 1992 Olympics, held in Barcelona.

Jordan is now the principal owner and chairman of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets franchise.

Scottie Pippen

Jordan’s right-hand man for all six championships with the Chicago Bulls was Scottie Pippen. An excellent defender and wing scorer, Pippen carried the Bulls to the playoffs in Jordan’s brief retirement absence. Listed in the Top 100 Players, Pippen was integral in bringing six championships to the Windy City.

Derrick Rose

A homegrown talent out of Chicago, Rose joined the Chicago Bulls as the number-one pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. He went on the win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award in 2011, the youngest player to ever get the honor. He won the Rookie of the Year award after the 2008 season.

Rose’s career has been somewhat derailed by injuries. He led the Memphis Tigers to the NCAA Championship in the 2007-2008 season. They recorded an NCAA record 38 wins.

Tamika Catchings

A WNBA superstar, Catchings was Ms. Basketball in Illinois in high school as a sophomore. She is a nine-time All-Star in the WNBA while playing for the Indiana Fever and a member of 11 All-WNBA teams. Catchings is a four-time Olympic gold medalist in basketball.

Kevin Garnett

While Garnett isn’t from Illinois, nor did he play professional basketball in Illinois, he spent his senior season in high school at the Farragut Academy. There, he honed his skills before becoming “The Kid” in a successful career with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He then eventually led the 2008 Boston Celtics to an NBA Championship.

Coaches and Officials

There are several dozen coaches and officials that also grace the halls of the Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame. Whether they’ve been recognized for years of service or exceptional records, fans of Illinois basketball as a whole will appreciate the contributions of these individuals.

NBA Superstars Born In Illinois

There have been several NBA superstars who called the State of Illinois their childhood home. Aside from their popularity, they have also been very successful. Aside from Derrick Rose, here are some basketball legends that hail from Illinois.

  • Dwyane Wade
  • George Mikan
  • Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski)
  • Anthony Davis
  • Tim Hardaway
  • Juwan Howard
  • Fred VanVleet
  • Erik Spoelstra
  • Andre Iguodala

There are dozens of NBA and NCAA championships dispersed amongst this incredible list of athletes and coaches who call Illinois their home. Whenever basketball season starts, you can be sure that there will be a prominent Illinois native or adopted athlete somewhere waiting in the wings to join the competition.

But when it comes down to it, the only way to understand why so many people love this team is by taking a deeper dive into the fascinating history of the Chicago Bulls. 

So if you want an even deeper dive into Chicago Bulls facts and history, there’s plenty of reading material out there including books, documentaries, articles, and more. But be sure to check out our blog for more articles like this!

How Are Illinois Teams Expected to Finish This Season?

Let’s take a quick look at how well Illinois basketball teams have fared thus far this season. We’ll hit the most popular leagues only, for brevity’s sake.

University of Illinois Fighting Illini Men’s Basketball

The University of Illinois men’s basketball team enters this season with a lot of enthusiasm from fans and some accolades for college basketball pundits nationwide. The Fighting Illini, as of this writing, are 7-3 and ranked No. 18 in the AP NCAA Men’s College Basketball polls.

University of Illinois Fighting Illini Women’s Basketball

While not always as lauded as the men’s team, they have a current record of 9-2 – better than the men – at this juncture of the season. Behind solid rebounding and defense, they have been doing more than keeping up. Kendall Bostic has been exceptional so far this year, dominating the glass on both offense and defense.

Chicago Bulls

After a long lull in the post-Jordan years, the Chicago Bulls have begun to slowly climb back into contention through a series of conservative trades and free-agent signings.

However, this year has started as quite a disappointment. A few draft picks haven’t panned out and a couple of trades haven’t ended in their favor, but this is a team in a basketball-crazy city that always tries to compete.

While their performance has been a bit uneven and inconsistent, freshman Jayden Epps has given fans something to look forward to, leading the team in many statistical categories throughout each game this year.

A bit of a revolving door of wing players has left the team in a bit of a lurch, but things are looking to improve in the near future.

Chicago Sky

Chicago’s WNBA franchise has seen its fair share of star players and success. They will open their season on the road in Minnesota on May 19, 2023.

Notable Chicago Sky players include Candace Parker, who the All-WNBA Team again on in September 2022. The legendary ballplayer is joined by promising rookie Rebekah Gardner, who was named to the WNBA All-Rookie Team in August of 2022.

To add to the Sky’s impressive list of award-winners, the Sky’s James Wade won the 2022 WNBA Executive of the Year. With a solid past and a promising future coupled with an outstanding executive at the helm, things are going well in the Windy City.

State of the NBA

It seems apparent over the last few years that the NBA has become much less predictable in terms of who emerges as a contender each season. Gone are the days when the same three or four teams dominated the regular season and playoffs, culminating in the (often obvious) front-runner taking the title at the end of the year.

Going back just a few decades, it was dynasty after dynasty. in the early 80s, it was Celtics vs. Lakers, then came the Detroit Bad Boy years, followed by Michael Jordan and the Bulls shutting everyone down. Then it was the San Antonio Spurs, with Tim Duncan and David Robinson getting a couple of rings before Kobe and Shaq blew the doors down and got the Lakers back on the scene.

After a few outlier seasons with success from the Detroit Pistons and the Dallas Mavericks, the championship seemed to run through whatever team LeBron James was playing for, or the Golden State Warriors. While the Splash Brothers in Golden State took home the title again last year, they were far from the dominant squad that won a record 73 games during the 2015-2016 season, due largely to injuries.

Notable Chicago Sky players include Candace Parker, who the All-WNBA Team again on in September 2022. The legendary ballplayer is joined by promising rookie Rebekah Gardner, who was named to the WNBA All-Rookie Team in August of 2022.

To add to the Sky’s impressive list of award-winners, the Sky’s James Wade won the 2022 WNBA Executive of the Year. With a solid past and a promising future coupled with an outstanding executive at the helm, things are going well in the Windy City.

Who’s Going To Win It All This Basketball Season?

While most teams won’t admit it, there is an undercurrent of hush-hush that many of the teams at the bottom of the standings are planning to not try very hard to improve their record so that they can have a shot at drafting a generational talent in Victor Wembayanma from France. However, this won’t stop contenders from shooting for another ring.

Odds-on favorites to win this year’s NBA Championship this year are the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, and Golden State Warriors. With that in mind, the season is still young and many things can happen between now and the playoffs. Injuries and trades can have a massive impact on a team’s chances of winning it all.

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