Liga ACB (Spanish Basketball League)
Organised professional basketball in Spain has been going on for sixty years since its inception in 1957 under the name of Liga Nacional under the administration of the Spanish Basketball Federation. Everything changed in 1983-84 when control over league was ceded to the Asociación de Clubs de Baloncesto (ACB). Now the league is regarded as a major force in European club basketball and is thought of as one of the top three European domestic or regional leagues. All games are played under the rules of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). The league is currently contested by seventeen teams.
Each of the seventeen teams plays each of the others twice in the season – both at home and away. Thus the regular season consists of thirty-four matches. When the season is concluded, there is a playoff for the top eight teams – it starts with the top team versus the eighth, the second against the seventh and so on. Each of the three playoff rounds consists of a series of five games and the ultimate winner is the Liga ACB Champion.
Relegation to LEB Oro lies in wait for the bottom two teams after the results of the 34 matches and they are then replaced by the top two teams of the second division.
The most successful basketball team in Spain is undoubtedly Real Madrid who are part of the same large sports club as the football team of the same name. Over sixty years Real Madrid have won the title no fewer than 33 times and been runner up on a further 11 occasions.
Basketball rivalries in Spain fall into the same pattern as football rivalries because the second most successful club in the history of Liga ACB is FC Barcelona who have won the title 18 times and had 20 seasons in the runner-up spot. None of the other teams have statistics that are in any way comparable – third place goes to Juventat Badalona with four championships and ten second places and fourth Baskonia with three championships and four second places.
Unsurprisingly the player who holds the scoring record in Liga ACB, Alberto Herreros, played for Real Madrid as well as previously for Estudiantes. He is the Liga ACB's all-time leader in points scored (9,759) and 3-point field goals made (1,233). He is closely followed by Jordi Villacampa a Joventut Badalona player who spent his entire professional career at the Club, scoring 8,991 points. He helped his team to win the Euroleague and two Spanish League championships.
Brian Jackson, from the United States, made his own impression on Spanish basketball where he scored 8,851 points from his 392 appearances, giving him a higher average than either Herreros or Villacampa.
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