Basketball is a sport in which two teams of five players each try to score points on one another by throwing a ball through a hoop (the basket) under organized rules.
Through time, basketball has developed to involve common techniques of shooting, passing and dribbling, as well as players' positions, and offensive and defensive structures. While competitive basketball is carefully regulated, numerous variations of basketball have developed for casual play. Basketball is also a popular spectator sport.
While competitive basketball is primarily an indoor sport, played on a basketball court, less regulated variations have become exceedingly popular as an outdoor sport among inner city groups.
History of basketball
Basketball is unusual in that it was invented by one person, rather than evolving from a different sport. In early December 1891, Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian physician of McGill University and minister on the faculty of a college for YMCA professionals (today, Springfield College) in Springfield, Massachusetts, sought a vigorous indoor game to keep his students occupied and at proper levels of fitness during the long New England winters. Legend has it that, after rejecting other ideas as either too rough or poorly suited to walled-in gymnasiums, he modified a Mayan game and wrote the basic rules and nailed a peach basket onto the 10-foot (3.05 m) elevated track. In contrast with modern basketball nets, this peach basket retained its bottom. Therefore balls scored into the basket had to be poked out with a long dowel each time. Women's basketball began in 1892 at Smith College when Senda Berenson, a physical education teacher, modified Naismith's rules for women. The first official basketball game was played in the YMCA gymnasium on January 20, 1892 with nine players, on a court just half the size of a present-day NBA (NBA) court. "Basket ball", the name suggested by one of Naismith's students, was popular from the beginning.
Basketball's early adherents were dispatched to YMCAs throughout the United States, and it quickly spread through the USA and Canada. By 1896, it was well established at several women's colleges. While the YMCA was responsible for initially developing and spreading the game, within a decade it discouraged the new sporan to detract from the YMCA's primary mission. However, other amateur sports clubs, colleges, and professional clubs quickly filled the void. In the years before World War I, the Amateur Athletic Union and the Intercollegiate Athletic Association (forerunner of the NCAA) vied for control over the rules for the game.
Basketball was originally played with a soccer ball. The first balls made specifically for basketball were brown, and it was only in the late 1950s that Tony Hinkle, searching for a ball that would be more visible to players and spectators alike, introduced the orange ball that is now in common use.
Dribbling, the bouncing of the ball up and down while moving, was not part of the original game except for the "bounce pass" to teammates. Passing the ball was the primary means of ball movement. Dribbling was eventually introduced but limited by the asymmetric shape of early balls. Dribbling only became a major part of the game around the 1950s as manufacturing improved the ball shape.
Basketball, netball, volleyball, and lacrosse are the only ball games which have been identified as being invented by North Americans. Other ball games, such as baseball and Canadian football, have British Commonwealth, European, Asian or African connections.
College basketball and early leagues
Naismith and Berenson were instrumental in establishing college basketball. Naismith coached at University of Kansas for six years before handing the reins to renowned coach Phog Allen. Naismith's disciple Amos Alonzo Stagg brought basketball to the University of Chicago, while Adolph Rupp, a student of Naismith's at Kansas, enjoyed great success as coach at the University of Kentucky. In 1892, University of California and Miss Head's School, played the first women's inter-institutional game. Berenson's freshmen played the sophomore class in the first women's collegiate basketball game at Smith College, March 21, 1893. The same year, Mount Holyoke and Sophie Newcomb College (coached by Clara Gregory Baer) women began playing basketball. By 1895, the game had spread to colleges across the country, including Wellesley, Vassar and Bryn Mawr. The first intercollegiate women's game was on April 4, 1896. Stanford women played Berkeley, 9-on-9, ending in a 2-1 Stanford victory. In 1901, colleges, including the University of Chicago, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, University of Minnesota, the U.S. Naval Academy, the University of Utah and Yale University began sponsoring men's games. By 1910, frequent injuries on the men's courts prompted President Theodore Roosevelt to suggest that college basketball form a governing body. And the Intercollegiate Athletic Association (IAA) was created.
Teams abounded from through the 1920s. There were hundreds of men's professional basketball teams in towns and cities all over the United States and little organization of the professional game. Players jumped from team to team and teams played in armories and smoky dance halls. Leagues came and went. And barnstorming squads such as the Original Celtics and two all African American teams, the New York sports, the popularity of high school basketball was unrivaled in many parts of America.
Today virtually every high school in the United States fields a basketball team in varsity competition. Baseketball's popularity remains high, both in rural areas where they carry the identification of the entire community, as well as at some larger schools known for their basketball teams where many players go on to participate at higher levels of competition after graduation. In the 2003–04 season, 1,002,797 boys and girls represented their schools in interscholastic basketball competition, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. The states of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky are particularly well known for their residents' devotion to high school basketball; the critically acclaimed film Hoosiers shows high school basketball's depth of meaning to these rural communities. In fact, the term "March Madness" was first used to describe the Illinois high school basketball tournament.
National Basketball Association
In 1946, the National Basketball Association was formed, organizing the top professional teams and leading to greater popularity of the professional game. The first game was played in Toronto, Canada between the Toronto Huskies and New York Knickerbockers on November 1st, 1946. An upstart organization, the American Basketball Association, emerged in 1967 and briefly threatened the NBA's dominance until the rival leagues merged in 1976. Today the NBA is the top professional basketball league in the world in terms of popularity, salaries, talent, and level of competition.
The NBA has featured many famous players, including George Mikan, the first dominating "big man"; ball-handling wizard Bob Cousy and defensive genius Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics; Wilt Chamberlain, who originally played for the barnstorming Harlem Globetrotters; all-around stars Oscar Robertson and Jerry West; more recent big men Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone; playmaker John Stockton; Julius Erving, pioneer of the slam dunk; and the three players who many credit with ushering the professional game to its highest level of popularity: Larry Bird, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, and Michael Jordan.
The NBA-backed Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) began in 1997. Though it had an insecure opening season, several marquee players (Sheryl Swoopes, Lisa Leslie and Sue Bird among others) helped the league's popularity and level of competition. Other professional women's basketball leagues in the United States, such as the American Basketball League (1996-1998), have folded in part because of the popularity of the WNBA.
In 2001, the NBA formed a developmental league, the NBA D-League. The league currently has 17 teams.
The International Basketball Federation was formed in 1932 by eight founding nations: Argentina, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Romania and Switzerland. At this time, the organization only oversaw amateur players. Its acronym, in French, was thus FIBA; the "A" standing for amateur.
Basketball was first included in the Olympic Games in 1936, although a demonstration tournament was held in 1904. This competition has usually been dominated by the United States, whose team has won all but three titles, the first loss in a controversial finred its first Olympic loss while using professional players, falling to Puerto Rico and Lithuania in group games. It eventually won the bronze medal defeating Lithuania, finishing behind Argentina and Italy. (It should be noted, however, that of the twelve players originally selected by the NBA, only Tim Duncan and Allen Iverson chose to play; the rest of the team was put together from second and third choices.)
Worldwide, basketball tournaments are held for boys and girls of all age levels, from five- and six-year-olds (called biddy-biddy), to high school, college, and the professional leagues.
The global popularity of the sport is reflected in the nationalities represented in the NBA. Players from all over the globe can be found in NBA teams. Steve Nash, who won the 2005 and 2006 NBA MVP award, is Canadian; Kobe Bryant is an American, however he grew up in Italy; Dallas Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki is German; All-Star Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers & Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies are Spanish; and the San Antonio Spurs feature Tim Duncan of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Manu Ginóbili of Argentina (like former Chicago Bulls player Andrés Nocioni) and Tony Parker of France. (Duncan competes for the United States internationally.)
The all-tournament teams at the two most recent FIBA World Championships, held in 2002 in Indianapolis, Indiana and 2006 in Japan, demonstrate the Measurements and time limits discussed in this section often vary among tournaments and organizations; international and NBA rules are used in this section.
The object of the game is to outscore one's opponents by throwing the ball through the opponents' basket from above while preventing the opponents from doing so on their own. An attempt to score in this way is called a shot. A successful shot is worth two points, or three points if it is taken from beyond the three-point arc which is 6.25 meters (20 ft 6 in) from the basket in international games and 23 ft 9 in (7.24 m) in NBA games.
Games are played in four quarters of 10 (international) or 12 minutes (NBA). Fifteen minutes are allowed for a half-time break, and two minutes are allowed at the other breaks. Overtime periods are five minutes long. Teams exchange baskets for the second half. The time allowed is actual playing time; the clock is stopped while the play is not active. Therefore, games generally take much longer to complete than the allotted game time, typically about two hours.
Five players from each team may be on the court at one time. Teams can have up to seven substitutes. Substitutions are unlimited but can only be done when play is stopped. Teams also have a coach, who oversees the development and strategies of the team, and other team personnel such as assistant coaches, managers, statisticians, doctors and trainers.
For both men's and women's teams, a standard uniform consists of a pair of shorts and a jersey with a clearly visible number, unique within the team, printed on both the front and back. Players wear high-top sneakers that provide extra ankle support. Typically, team names, players' names and sometimes sponsors are printed on the uniforms.A limited number of time-outs, clock stoppages requested by a coach for asurface with baskets at opposite ends. Competitive levels require the use of more equipment such as clocks, scoresheets, scoreboards, alternating possession arrows, and whistle-operated stop-clock systems.
The men's ball's circumference is about 30 inches (76 cm) and weighs about 1 lb 5 oz (600 g). The women's ball's circumference is about 29 inches (73 cm) and weighs about 1 lb 3 oz (540 g). A regulation basketball court in international games is 28 by 15 meters (approx. 92 by 49 ft) and in the NBA is 94 by 50 feet (29 by 15 m). Most courts are made of wood.
A cast-iron basket with net and backboard hang over each end of the court. At almost all levels of competition, the top of the rim is exactly 10 feet (3.05 m) above the court and 4 feet (1.2 m) inside the endline. While variation is possible in the dimensions of the court and backboard, it is considered important for the basket to be the correct height; a rim that is off by but a few inches can have an adverse effect on shooting.
The ball may be advanced toward the basket by being shot, passed between players, thrown, tapped, rolled or dribbled (bouncing the ball while running).
The ball must stay within the court; the last team to touch the ball before it travels out of bounds forfeits possession. The ball-handler may not move both feet without dribbling, known as traveling, nor may he dribble with both hands or catch the ball in between dribbles, a violation called double dribbling. A player's hand cannot be under the ball while dribbling, failure to do so is known as carrying the ball. A team, once having established ball control in the front half of the court, may not return the ball to the backcourt. The ball may not be kicked nor struck with the fist. A violation of these rules results in loss of possession, or, if committed by the defense, a reset of the shot clock.
There are limits imposed on the time taken before progressing the ball past halfway (8 seconds in international and NBA), before attempting a shot (24 seconds), holding the ball while closely guarded (5 seconds), and remaining in the restricted area (the lane, or "key") (3 seconds). These rules are designed to promote more offense.
No player may interfere with the basket or ball on its downward flight to the basket, or while it is on the rim (or, in the NBA, while it is directly above the basket), a violation known as goaltending. If a defensive player goaltends, the attempted shot is considered to have been successful. If a teammate of the shooter goaltends, the basket is cancelled and play continues.
- Main articles: Personal foul, Technical foul the rest of the game, and is described as having "fouled out".
Common techniques and practices
Positions and structures
Although the rules do not specify any positions whatsoever, they have evolved as part of basketball. During the first five decades of basketball's evolution, two guards, two forwards, and one center were used. Since the 1980s, more specific positions have evolved, namely:
- Point Guard: organizes the team's offense by controlling the ball and making sure that it gets to the right player at the right time
- Shooting Guard: creates a high volume of shots on offense; guards the opponent's best perimeter player on defense
- Small Forward: often primarily responsible for scoring points via cuts to the basket and dribble penetration; on defense seeks rebounds and steals, but sometimes plays more actively
- Power Forward: plays offensively often with his back to the basket; on defense, plays under the basket (in a zone defense) or against the opposing power forward (in man-to-man defense)
- Center: uses size, either to score (on offense) or to protect the basket closely (on defense)
The above descriptions are flexible. On some occasions, teams will choose to use a three guard offense, replacing one of the forwards or the center with a third guard. The most commonly interchanged positions are point guard and shooting guard, especially if both players have good leadership and ball handling skills.ty and leaves the defense little time to react.
Another type of pass is the bounce pass. Here, the passer bounces the ball crisply about two-thirds of the way from his own chest to the receiver. The ball strikes the court and bounces up toward the receiver. The bounce pass takes longer to complete than the chest pass, but it is also harder for the opposing team to intercept (kicking the ball deliberately is a violation). Thus, players often use the bounce pass in crowded moments, or to pass around a defender.
The overhead pass is used to pass the ball over a defender. The ball is released while over the passer's head.
The outlet pass occurs after a team gets a defensive rebound. The next pass after the rebound is the outlet pass.The crucial aspect of any good pass is being impossible to intercept. Good passers can pass the ball wit
- National Basketball Association (2001). "Official Rules of the National Basketball Association". http://www.nba.com/analysis/rules_index.html. Retrieved July 16 2004.
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- Bonsor, Kevin. "How Basketball Works: Who's Who". HowStuffWorks. http://health.howstuffworks.com/basketball2.htm. Retrieved January 11 2006.
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