Bottom Content goes here.
Wikipedia content requires these links.....
Wikipedia content is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
Basketball is a ball sport played by two teams of five players on a side. It
is highly suited to viewing by spectators as an indoor sport with a
relatively small court with only ten players. The ball is large and easy to
follow, and the lack of protective gear makes it possible to see the
reactions of players. It is one of the most popular sports in the United
States and is also reasonably popular in other parts of the world such as
southern Europe and in the former Soviet Union.
Basketball is that rare sport that was invented, largely from scratch and
with rules close to its present ones, by one man. Dr. James Naismith, a
Canadian, invented basketball in 1891, at a Young Men's Christian
Association YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. The first official
basketball game was played there on January 20, 1892. Dr. Naismith wanted an
indoor game of vigor and grace to keep young men occupied during the long
New England winters. Basketball was popular from the beginning and, within a
year, was being played all over the United States.
In the 1920s there were hundreds of professional basketball teams in towns
and cities all over the United States. There was little organization to the
professional game; players jumped all the time from team to team; and teams
played in armories and smoky dance halls. In 1946, the National Basketball
Association (NBA) was formed, organising the professional teams and leading
to greater popularity of the professional game.
The NBA produced many famous players such as Bill Russell, Michael Jordan,
Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson, Larry Bird, Magic
Johnson, John Stockton, Allen Iverson, Bill Walton, and George Mikan.
Basketball was included in the Olympic Games in 1936, after a demonstration
tournament was held in 1904. The sport has been part of the Olympic program
since, and has been mostly dominated by the United States, who have so far
won all but three titles - their first Olympic loss was in a controversial
Olympic final in Munich in 1972 against the Soviet Union. Women's basketball
was added to the Olympics in 1976 and since 1992, professional players are
allowed to compete in the Olympics. With NBA players now eligible, the US
Dream Team has been unbeatable, though Lithuania did come close against the
slightly less-stellar 2000 Olympic team. A team made up of NBA players was
humiliated in the 2002 World Championship, finishing sixth behind
Yugoslavia, Argentina, Germany, New Zealand, and Spain.
Internationally, the sport is governed by the FIBA, Fˇdˇration
Internationale de Basketball.
Basketball is played with a spherical pressurized ball that is 9" (22.86 cm)
in diameter. It is larger and heavier than a soccer ball, and designed to
bounce well on a hard, artificial floor. Basketball is played on a flat
court 50 feet wide and 94 (professional) or 84 (college) feet long, with a
basket (an 18" (45.72 cm) diameter circular steel ring mounted parallel to
the ground and a string net below, with a hole to allow the ball to fall
through) mounted ten feet (about 3 m) above the ground at each end. A
popular social variant ("half-court") is played with just one basket.
The goal of each team is to throw the ball through their basket, whilst
preventing their opponents from doing so. Teams score two points for putting
the ball in the basket, three points for long-range shots, and one point for
Naturally, it's easier to score a basket when close to the basket than when
farther away; however, offensive players in basketball may not tuck the ball
under their arm and run with it. Instead, they must constantly bounce
("dribble") the ball as they advance to the basket; every dribble represents
a chance for the ball to be mishandled or stolen.
Defensive players may not tackle an offensive player, and those who push,
shove or impede their opponents risk getting called for a foul. Players who
are fouled get either the ball or -- if they're in the act of shooting --
"free throw" shots from a line 15 feet from the basket for one point each.
This was important to Dr. Naismith, who disliked the brutal blocking and
tackling of American football. He wanted his game to be good clean exercise.
If a player commits five fouls in one game (six in some professional
leagues) he is disqualified from the rest of the game, and a reserve player
must take his place. It is also called fouling out. Arguing with a referee,
fighting with another player, or interfering with a ball after it falls
through the basket are grounds for a technical foul. Any player or coach
with two technical fouls is disqualified from the game. Savvy defensive
players use a wide array of legal and extra-legal techniques to hamper and
frustrate the players they guard.
Each player occupies one of three positions: a team typically has two
guards, two forwards, and one center. Any number of player substitutions are
allowed during the game, though subs can only come onto the floor after a
stoppage of play.
Male players wear shorts and a sleeveless top, and high-top sneakers that
provide extra support to the ankles. Female players have worn shirts and
skirts in the past, but most female players now wear uniforms identical to
those worn by men. Some professional women's teams have switched to lycra
Being tall is a clear advantage in basketball. Very few professional players
stand less than six feet (1.83 m). In men's professional leagues, guards
tend to be the smallest players, though they can occasionally be taller,
such as Magic Johnson (6'9"/2.06 m) and Toni Kukoc (6'11"/2.11 m). Forwards
in the men's professional leagues are almost all 6'6" (1.98 m) or taller;
the smallest centers are about 6'9" (2.06 m). Many centers, and a few
forwards, are over 7 feet (2.13 m).
Spin-offs from basketball seem to be korfball, netball and ringboll.
Street basketball is another very popular game.