Basketball is a very popular sport worldwide, played with a round, orange ball that bounces. The ball is also called a basketball. The sport was invented in Springfield, Massachusetts, by a professor named Dr. James Naismith in the year 1891.
Basketball is now the second most popular sport in the world. It has been played in the summer Olympic Games since 1936. Women's basketball is also a popular sport, though it does not receive nearly as much attention.
In early December 1891, James Naismith, a Canadian physical education teacher at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts invented an indoor game to keep his students from becoming bored. After rejecting other ideas, he invented basketball. Naismith wrote the basic rules and then nailed a peach basket onto a 10-foot tall pole. Unlike modern basketball hoops, the bottom of the peach-basket was still there, so after a point was scored, somebody had to get the ball out of the basket with a long stick. Over time, people made a hole at the bottom of the basket so the ball could go through more easily.
The score of the first game of basketball ever played was 1 – 0. There is a sculpture in Springfield on the spot where the first game was played. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is also in Springfield.
Rules and the game
The aim of basketball is to score more points than your opponents. Each goal is worth two points. You get points by shooting the ball into the opponents' basket. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
The court, where the game is played, is a rectangle shape, and at both endlines there is a goal called a "hoop" in the shape of a circular basket with the bottom cut out.
In each game of basketball these things are required:
- Basketball court
- Basketball hoop and backboard
Basketball is played with two teams, with 5 players from each team on the court at one time. The players that are not on the court can sit on the bench; the maximum number of players on the bench differs by league. In international play, a maximum of 7 players are allowed on the bench, resulting in a roster of 12 players. The NBA has 13-player rosters; college and high school teams usually have 15-player rosters. When a player wants to substitute for another player on the court they tell the score bench who will signal the substitute to the referee at the next available opportunity. The referees will then signal the player on to the court and the substitute will become a player and the player will become a substitute.
Each team is allowed to have a coach and, if they want one, an assistant coach. On the bench with the substitutes a team is allowed to have up to five team followers like: a manager, a doctor and an interpreter.
A game of basketball is made up of four quarters, each ten (or in the NBA, 12,) minutes long. At the start of every game there is a jump ball. At the start of each quarter the team who has the possession arrow pointing towards their hoop gets the ball. Then the arrow is switched, and the next team gets the ball next quarter.
After four quarters, the team who scores the most points wins. If the two teams score the same number of points, there is a five-minute "overtime" to see who can score more points. "Overtime" can be played again and again until one team finally scores more points.
While playing the game, players on one team try to stop players on the other team from "scoring." Each normal score is worth two points.
If you do something illegal in the game, it is called a "foul." If you "foul" someone on the other team while he is shooting the basketball, the player who was fouled gets to shoot "free throws" from the "foul line." A "free throw" is a shot that no one is allowed to try to block. Each successful free throw is worth one point.
If you foul a player who is not shooting, the other team gets the ball, and can throw it "in bounds" from the "sideline." Players can do three things with the ball: "dribble" (bounce) the ball, "pass" the ball to a teammate, or "shoot" the ball at the hoop. The player with the ball tries to keep the ball and not let the other team get it.
A shot made from 3-point line gives the team three points.
In a game of basketball there are a number of people who are not from either team, that are there to help. They are called officials. Officials are very important because without them the game would not run as smoothly if the game did not have these people. Here is a list of some of these people:
- Umpire There are either one or two umpires in a game of basketball. It is the umpires' job to make the game more fair by enforcing the rules of the game. The umpires take into consideration the spirit and intent of the player before making any call. In the NBA and WNBA, the term "umpire" is not used; the person who has this role is called the crew chief.
Referee The use of this term varies between rule sets.
- Under the rules of FIBA (the worldwide governing body for the sport), the NCAA (U.S. college basketball), and NFHS (U.S. high schools), there is one referee in a game of basketball. He is the "head" umpire. The referee has all the jobs of the umpires along with a couple more responsibilities. He is also the one that makes the final decision for most problems and is the one who throws the ball up for the tip off the start of the match.
- The NBA and WNBA use the term "referee" for the umpires.
- Time Keeper There is one timekeeper whose job is to keep track of the time and to tell the umpires when time for each quarter has run out. He is also in control of adding the scores onto the scoreboard.
- Scorekeeper There is one scorekeeper whose job is to keep track of and record all points scored, shots attempted, fouls made and timeouts called.
- Assistant Scorekeeper There is one assistant scorekeeper in a game of basketball. his job is to assist the scorekeeper, by telling him the players who score points, and to hold up a number for each foul called, showing everyone the number of fouls the specified player has for the game.
- Shot Clock Operator There is one shot clock operator and his job in to keep resetting and holding the device when needed or told to by an umpire. This person needs to have good reflexes and quickness, as he has to quickly reset the timer when the game resumes.
It should also be noted that fans and media in North America will often use "referee" to describe all on-court officials, whether their formal titles are "referee", "umpire", or "crew chief".
There are some basketball terms which players have to understand when playing the game. Here are some terms:
Free throw is a basketball throw from the free-throw line from either personal, technical, unsportsmanlike or disqualifying fouls. Each free-throw made is worth one point. The amount of free-throws attempted are determined by the following:
- missed field goal and a drawn foul will result in 2 free throws
- made field goal and a drawn foul will result in 1 free throw
- missed 3-point attempt and a drawn foul will result in 3 free throws
- made 3-point attempt and a drawn foul will result in 1 free throw
- unsportsmanlike foul will result in 2 free throws and the same team's possession. (In the NBA and WNBA, this foul is called a "flagrant foul", with the same penalty.)
- technical foul will result in 2 free throws and the same team's possession. (In the NBA and WNBA, technical fouls result in 1 free throw instead of 2.)
- Field goal is any made shot in normal play. Field goals are worth 2 points, unless the shooter was outside the three-point line, in which case it is worth 3 points.
- Personal foul is any contact, committed by a player of the other team, thought, by the umpires, to have caused a disadvantage.
Technical foul is a violation of certain basketball rules. They include:
- fighting or threatening to fight with another person
- entering the basketball court when it is not a substitution time
- a player being out of bounds (away from the court) to gain an advantage
- having too many players play on the court
- refusing to sit on the bench
- returning to play when a player is disqualified (loses his privileges to play)
- yelling and/or swearing at another player or an official
- Rebound is the act of catching the basketball after a shot has been attempted, but missed.
- Assist is to pass a teammate the ball, which then the teammate immediately shoots into the basketball ring successfully. 2-3 dribbles are allowed after catching the ball for assist to be counted.
- Steal is to take the ball away from a person who is dribbling, shooting or passing without physically touching the person (committing a foul).
- Turnover is when the team that controls the ball loses control and the other team gains control.
- Walkover is the automatic victory of a team if the opposing team withdraws, is disqualified or there is not any competition at all.
- Substitution is the act of replacing a player from the court to an another player sitting on the bench.
- Double dribble is when a player dribbles the ball and picks it up and then dribbles it again without having shot or passed it. Dribbling the ball with two hands is also a double dribble. If a player double dribbles, the ball is automatically given to the other team.
- Carry is when a player physically turns the ball over with their hands whilst dribbling it.
- Travel is when a player in possession of the ball moves both feet without dribbling the ball. If a player travels, the ball is automatically given to the opposing team.
- Shot clock is a clock designed to limit the time a team has to shoot a basketball. The shot clock is different in different leagues, but it is usually between 24 seconds and 35 seconds. After time runs out, the ball is automatically given to the opposing team unless they shot, before the clock runs out, and hit the rim or the ball enters the basket.
- Substitute (subs) is when a player on the bench swaps for a player on the court. The player on the bench is allowed to play and the player sits on the bench.
- Jump ball happens at the start of every game. This is where the ball gets thrown up from the centre circle and one person from each team jumps for it, aiming to hit it to one of his team mates.
- Alternating possession At the start of the game there is a jump ball. Whichever team "wins" the jump ball gets the arrow pointed towards their goal. Each time the rules mention it the ball gets given to the team who is trying to score in the direction of the arrow and the arrow gets turned.
- Clutch is a shot made at a difficult moment in the game, usually when the shot clock is about to run out or the team, losing by 1 or 2 points, suddenly wins the game, because of the clutch shot.
- Backcourt violation is when a player crosses the half-court line and walks backwards over the line while in possession of the ball, or passes to another player who is behind the half-court line.
- 3 second violation is when a player stands in the lane (an area marked by the big square in front of the basket) for more than 3 seconds. The offensive team that commits a 3 second violation will lose the possession of the ball. The defensive team that commits a 3 second violation will receive a technical foul.
- 8 or 10 second violation is when the team with the ball fails to advance the ball past the center line within the allowed time. The offensive team will lose possession. The allowed time is 8 seconds in international play, the NBA, and WNBA, and 10 seconds in men's college basketball and high school play for both boys and girls. This violation does not exist in women's college basketball.
Positions in basketball
In professional basketball teams, each player has a position. A position is a job or role that a player has to take part in to play the game. If everyone is doing their job correctly, the team is usually successful.
- Point guard (PG) (1) – point guards are responsible for leading the team on offense. They have to take the ball out (to dribble the ball halfway across their team's court side into the opposing team's court side) and plan an "attack" or "play" – to pass the ball to a player and he passes on to another player and so on till a player shoots the basketball. Point guards can be small, but they have to be very fast and possess good ball-handling. But the most important thing for the PG is a wide view. PG should control the game when on offense. That's why PG is called 'the coach on the court'.
- Shooting guard (SG) (2) – shooting guards generally are a little bit taller and slower than point guards. They have to make good shots from far distances (like three-point lines).
- Small forward (SF) (3) – small forwards are generally taller than both point guards and shooting guards. They are the team's most versatile player, doing everything from rebounding and assisting to scoring.
- Power forward (PF) (4) – power forwards are usually one of the strongest players who play inside the 3 point line. Their job is to receive rebounds from under the basket and score in the opposing team's basket, although it is unusual for a power forward to score most points for the team.
- Center (C) (5) – Centers will usually be the tallest player on the team. They score close to the basket, rebound and block shots on the defensive end. They also start the game in the tip off.
Other positions, more usual in professional basketball teams, are used in basketball.
- Swingman – a basketball player who can play both small forward and shooting guard positions.
- Cornerman – a basketball player who can play both power forward and small forward positions.
- Point forward – a basketball player who can play both point guard and forward (either small forward or power forward) positions.
- Forward-center – a basketball player who can play both forward (usually power forward) and center positions.
The Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts
If a basketball player becomes extremely good at the sport and well known for playing, coaching, or helping the game of basketball somehow, he or she is "elected" to be in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. This is the goal for the greatest basketball players in the world, like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon, LeBron James, Yao Ming, Magic Johnson, and Manu Ginóbili, and coaches like Phil Jackson, Mike Krzyzewski, Bob Knight, and Pat Summitt. If you are "enshrined" in Springfield, it is the greatest honor a basketball player, coach, official (referee), or contributor can have. It means you are the best of the best at basketball.
There are many types of basketball. Some are for people with disabilities, others are played more by a specific group. The most common type is able body basketball and is the one that has been described in this article.
In this variation the players are all seated in a wheelchair. This is often played by people who cannot walk or are unable to play able body basketball properly. The rules are altered slightly but the game follows the same general concepts.