History Of Nba Essay

The history of basketball began with its invention in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts by Canadian physical education instructor James Naismith as a less injury-prone sport than football. The game became established fairly quickly and grew very popular as the 20th century progressed, first in America and then throughout the world. After basketball became established in American colleges, the professional game followed. The American National Basketball Association (NBA), established in 1946, grew to a multibillion-dollar enterprise by the end of the century, and basketball became an integral part of American culture.

Early history

Invention of the game

The game of basketball as it is known today was created by Dr. James Naismith in December 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts, to condition young athletes during cold months. It consisted of peach baskets and a soccer style ball. He published 13 rules for the new game. He divided his class of eighteen into two teams of nine players each and set about to teach them the basics of his new game. The objective of the game was to throw the basketball into the fruit baskets nailed to the lower railing of the gym balcony. Every time a point was scored, the game was halted so the janitor could bring out a ladder and retrieve the ball. After a while, the bottoms of the fruit baskets were removed. The first public basketball game was played in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 11, 1892.[1]

Original rules

There were only thirteen rules of "basket ball":

  1. The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.
  2. The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands.
  3. A player cannot run with the ball, the player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it, allowance to be made for a man who catches the ball when running at good speed.
  4. The ball must be held in or between the hands, the arms or body must not be used for holding it.
  5. No shouldering, holding, pushing, tripping or striking in any way the person of an opponent shall be allowed. The first infringement of this rule by any person shall count as a foul, the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is made, or if there was evident intent to injure the person, for the whole of the game, no substitute.
  6. A foul is striking the ball with the fist, violation of rules 3 and 4, and such as described in rule 5.
  7. If either side makes three consecutive fouls it shall count a goal for opponents.
  8. A goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from grounds into the basket and stays there. If the ball rests on the edge and the opponent moves the basket it shall count as a goal.
  9. When the ball goes out of bounds it shall be thrown into the field and played by the person first touching it. In case of a dispute, the umpire shall throw it straight into the field. The "thrower-in" is allowed five seconds. If he holds it longer it shall go to the opponent. If any side persists in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on them.
  10. The umpire shall be the judge of the men and shall note the fouls, and notify the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made.
  11. The referee shall be the judge of the ball and shall decide when the ball is in play, in-bounds, and to which side it belongs, and shall keep the time. He shall decide when a goal has been made and keep account of the goals with any other duties that are usually performed by a referee.
  12. The time shall be fifteen-minute halves, with five-minute rests between.
  13. The side making the most goals in that time shall be declared the winner. In the case of a draw, the game may, by agreement of the captains, be continued until another goal is made.[2]

The first basketball game

On December 21, 1891, James Naismith published rules for a new game using five basic ideas and thirteen rules.[3] That day, he asked his class to play a match in the Armory Street court: 9 versus 9, using a soccer ball and two peach baskets. Frank Mahan, one of his students, wasn’t so happy. He just said: "Harrumph. Another new game".[4] However, Naismith was the inventor of the new game. Someone proposed to call it "Naismith Game", but he suggested "We have a ball and a basket: why don’t we call it basketball?"[5] The eighteen players were John G. Thompson, Eugene S. Libby, Edwin P. Ruggles, William R. Chase, T. Duncan Patton, Frank Mahan, Finlay G. MacDonald, William H. Davis and Lyman Archibald, who defeated George Weller, Wilbert Carey, Ernest Hildner, Raymond Kaighn, Genzabaro Ishikawa, Benjamin S. French, Franklin Barnes, George Day and Henry Gelan 1–0.[6] The goal was scored by Chase.[7] There were other differences between Naismith’s first idea and the game played today. The peach baskets were closed, and balls had to be retrieved manually, until a small hole was put in the bottom of the peach basket to poke the ball out using a stick. Only in 1906 were metal hoops, nets and backboards introduced. Moreover, earlier the soccer ball was replaced by a Spalding ball, similar to the one used today.[8][9]

YMCA, U.S. Army spread development

The YMCA had a major role in spreading basketball throughout the United States, Canada, and the world. In 1893, Mel Rideout arranged the first European match in Paris, in Montmartre. At the same time, Bob Gailey went to Tientsin, China,[10] Duncan Patton to India, Genzabaro Ishikawa to Japan, and C. Hareek to Persia.[11]

The First World War broke out in 1914, and the U.S. Army started fighting in Europe in 1917. During World War I, the American Expeditionary Force took basketball wherever it went. Together with the troops, there were hundreds of physical education teachers who knew basketball. Naismith also spent two years with the YMCA in France in that period.[12]

Professional leagues, teams, and organizations

The first professional league was founded in 1898. Six teams took part in the National Basketball League, and the first champions were the Trenton Nationals, followed by the New York Wanderers, the Bristol Pile Drivers and the Camden Electrics. The league was abandoned in 1904.[13] Then, many small championships were organized, but most of them were not as important as some teams who played for money against challengers.

The Original Celtics, for instance, are considered the "fathers of basketball"[14] and were presented as "World’s Basketball Champions";[14] the players had to sign a contract to play with them, and Jim Furey organized matches as a circus, moving daily from town to town. The Celtics became the strongest team, and their successes lasted from 1922 until 1928, when the team disbanded due to ownership problems. The Original Celtics are sometimes incorrectly thought of as forebears of the current Boston Celtics of the NBA; in reality, they share only a name, as today's Celtics were not founded until 1946, nearly two decades after the demise of the Original Celtics. In 1922, the first all-African American professional team was founded: the Rens (also known as New York Renaissance or Harlem Renaissance).[15] The Rens were the Original Celtics’ usual opponent, and for their matches a ticket cost $1.[16] They took part in some official championships and won the first World Professional Basketball Tournament in 1939. The team disbanded in 1949.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Eastern Basket Ball League (founded in 1909),[17] Metropolitan Basketball League (founded in 1921)[18] and American Basketball League (founded in 1925)[19] were the most important leagues.

American colleges lead the way

See also: College basketball

The greatest level of early basketball activity outside of YMCAs was seen in American colleges. The first known U.S. college to field a basketball team against an outside opponent was Vanderbilt University, which played against the local YMCA in Nashville, Tennessee, on February 7, 1893.[20] The second recorded instance of an organized college basketball game was Geneva College's game against the New Brighton YMCA on April 8, 1893, in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, which Geneva won 3–0.[20]

The first recorded game between two college teams occurred on February 9, 1895, when Hamline University faced Minnesota A&M (which later became a part of the University of Minnesota).[20][21] Minnesota A&M won the game, which was played under rules allowing nine players per side, 9–3.[21] The first intercollegiate match using the modern rule of five players per side is often credited as a game between the University of Chicago and the University of Iowa, in Iowa City, Iowa, on January 18, 1896.[20][22] The Chicago team, which was organized by Amos Alonzo Stagg, who had learned the game from James Naismith at the Springfield YMCA, won the game 15–12.[21][22] (Some sources state the first "true" five-on-five intercollegiate match was a game in 1897 between Yale and Penn, because the Iowa team, that played Chicago in 1896, was composed of University of Iowa students, but did not officially represent the University of Iowa – rather being organized through a YMCA.)[21] By 1900 the game of basketball had spread to colleges across the country .

By 1897 the U.S. Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) had taken over oversight of basketball activity from the YMCA.[21] In April 1905, representatives of fifteen colleges separately took over control of the college game, creating the collegiate "Basket Ball Rule Committee."[21] The Committee was in turn absorbed into the predecessor of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in 1909.[21] The extremely popular NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament was started in 1939.

First international games

After its arrival in Europe, basketball developed very quickly. In 1909 the first international match was held in Saint Petersburg: Mayak Saint Petersburg beat a YMCA American team.[23] The first great European event was held in 1919 in Joinville-le-Pont, near Paris, during the Inter-Allied Games. United States, led by future Hall of Fame player Max Friedman, won against Italy and France, and then Italy beat France. Basketball soon became popular among French and Italians. The Italian team had a white shirt with the House of Savoy shield and the players were: Arrigo and Marco Muggiani, Baccarini, Giuseppe Sessa, Palestra, Pecollo and Bagnoli.[24]

Formation of FIBA

World basketball was growing, but it was on June 18, 1932 that a real international organization was formed, to coordinate tournaments and teams: that day, Argentina, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Romania and Switzerland founded the International Basketball Federation (Fédération internationale de basketball amateur, FIBA) in Geneva.[25] Its work was fundamental for the first inclusion of basketball in the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936. The first Olympic title was won by the U.S. national team: Sam Balter, Ralph Bishop, Joe Fortenberry, Tex Gibbons, Francis Johnson, Carl Knowles, Frank Lubin, Art Mollner, Donald Piper, Jack Ragland, Willard Schmidt, Carl Shy, Duane Swanson, Bill Wheatley and the trainer James Needles. Canada was runner-up; the games were played on an outdoor clay court. The first World Championship was held in Argentina in 1950.[26]


The Basketball league was founded in New York City on June 6, 1946 as the Basketball Association of America (BAA).[27] The league adopted the name National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1949 after merging with the rival National Basketball League (NBL). As of the early 21st century, the NBA is the most significant professional basketball league in the world in terms of popularity, salaries, talent, and level of competition.[28]

American Basketball Association

The American Basketball Association (ABA) was founded as an alternative to the NBA in 1967 [29] at a time when the NBA was experiencing a lot of popularity. The ABA offered an alternative ethos and game style as well as some changes in the rules. Julius Erving was the leading player in the league, and helped launch a modern style of play that emphasizes leaping and play above the rim. His playing strength helped legitimize the American Basketball Association. The league emphasized excitement and liveliness, be it in the color of the ball (red, white and blue), the manner of play, wild promotions, or the three-point shot. National recognition and earnings were low, leading the league to look for a way out of its problems. Merger with the more established and very successful NBA was seen as a solution. The ABA was folded into the NBA in the summer of 1976, its four most successful franchises (the New York Nets, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, and San Antonio Spurs) being incorporated into the older league.[29] The aggressive, loose style of play and the three-point shot [29] were taken up by the NBA.

African Americans in basketball

The Smart Set Athletic Club of Brooklyn and the St. Christopher Club of New York City were established as the first fully organized independent all-black basketball teams in 1906. These teams were amateur.[30]

In 1907 the amateur, all-black Olympian Athletic League was formed in New York City consisting of the Smart Set Athletic Club, St. Christopher Club, Marathon Athletic Club, Alpha Physical Culture Club, and the Jersey City Colored YMCA. The first inter-city basketball game between two black teams was played in 1907 when the Smart Set Athletic Club of Brooklyn travelled to Washington, DC to play the Crescent Athletic Club.[30]

In 1908 Smart Set Athletic Club of Brooklyn, a member of the Olympian Athletic League, was named the first Colored Basketball World's Champion.[31]

In 1910 Howard University’s first varsity basketball team began.

In 1922 the Commonwealth Five, the first all-black professional team was founded. The New York Renaissance was founded in 1923.

In 1939 the all-black New York Renaissance beat the all-white Oshkosh All-Stars in the World Pro Basketball Tournament.

From the late 1920s the African American Harlem Globetrotters were a successful touring team, winning the WPBT in 1940.

The all-white National Basketball League began to racially integrate in 1942 with 10 black players joining two teams, the Toledo Jim White Chevrolets, and the Chicago Studebakers. The NBA integrated in 1950–51 seasons, just two years after its founding, with three black players each achieving a separate milestone in that process. In the draft held immediately prior to that season, Chuck Cooper became the first black player drafted by an NBA team. Shortly after the draft, Nat Clifton became the first black player to sign an NBA contract. Finally, Earl Lloyd became the first black player to appear in an NBA game as his team started its season before either Cooper's or Clifton's.

After the integration of the NBA, the Harlem Globetrotters started to focus on international touring and exhibition performances, including comic routines. These tours helped to popularize basketball internationally, and gave the Globetrotters the reputation as Basketball's goodwill ambassadors.[32]

Modern-day NBA

The NBA has helped popularize basketball all over the world. A large part of this is due to the transcendent stars that have played the game through the years. It was because of the play of Michael Jordan that basketball started to reach international audiences, especially on the 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team, known as the Dream Team.

After his final championship and second retirement in 1998, there was a void as in who would be the face of basketball. Soon after with the help of Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant would go on to win three straight championships from 2000–2002 with the Los Angeles Lakers, helping make basketball more popular in many places around the world, most noticeably China. Further championships in 2009 and 2010 helped raise his popularity.[33] In 2015, he announced the following season would be his last. He would have played in 20 seasons by then.[34]

Another player who revolutionized the game of basketball was LeBron James. He was taken as the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, and has worked his way to become the face of the NBA and basketball around the world. He left the Cavaliers in 2010 to join the Miami Heat along with fellow stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in what become known as the controversial decision,[35] winning back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013 before returning to the Cavaliers in 2014 where he won a third championship in 2016.[36]

There have been many international players who helped globalize the game. The most noticeable would be Yao Ming. He was the first ever Chinese player to be selected with the number one overall pick in 2002 by the Houston Rockets. His play and presence in the NBA brought attention to basketball in Asian countries.

The style of basketball has evolved over time as well. Basketball, especially in the 90's and 2000's, used to give importance to big men. Games were slow-paced and very defense-oriented. Now because of teams like the San Antonio Spurs and the Golden State Warriors, ball movement and team play is more common. The game has slowly moved away from this type of play. The game now is up-tempo and teams are starting to involve a lot more three point shooting in their offenses. Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors has been a trendsetter with his shooting abilities. In a way he has popularized and re-energized the notion of shooting among the youth.

See also


  1. ^"Basket Football Game". Springfield Republican. Springfield, Massachusetts. March 12, 2002. Retrieved June 9, 2014. 
  2. ^Wolff, Alexander. Sports Illustrated 100 Years of Hoops: A Fond Look Back at the Sport of Basketball. New York: Crescent Books;, 1995.
  3. ^Arceri-Bianchini, p. 18-19.
  4. ^Associated Press, Newly found documents shed light on basketball's birth, ESPN.com, 13 November 2006, Sports.espn.go.com.Archived 2007-12-01 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^Arceri-Bianchini, p. 18.
  6. ^Arceri-Bianchini, p. 21.
  7. ^Arceri-Bianchini, p. 22.
  8. ^Arceri-Bianchini, p. 20.
  9. ^Glenn, Dickey. The history of professional basketball since 1896. New York: Stein and Day, 1982.
  10. ^Arceri-Bianchini, p. 79.
  11. ^Arceri-Bianchini, p. 80.
  12. ^Lesile Colbeck et al., The Basketball World, FIBA, Monaco, 1972, quoted by Arceri-Bianchini, p. 81.
  13. ^Hoosierhistorian, National Basket Ball League, "Hoopedia", 9 May 2008, in Hoopedia.nba.com
  14. ^ abArceri-Bianchini, p. 37.
  15. ^Arceri-Bianchini, p. 38.
  16. ^Arceri-Bianchini, p. 39.
  17. ^Hoosierhistorian, Eastern Basket Ball League, Hoopedia, 9 May 2008, in Hoopedia.nba.com.
  18. ^Hoosierhistorian, Metropolitan Basketball League, Hoopedia, 12 May 2008, in Hoopedia.nba.com.
  19. ^Hoosierhistorian, ABL (1925–1955), Hoopedia, 12 May 2008, in Hoopedia.nba.com.
  20. ^ abcdTraughber, Bill (March 12, 2008). "VU first college to play basketball". vucommodores.com. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  21. ^ abcdefgESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia. ESPN. 2009. pp. 528–529. ISBN 978-0-345-51392-2. 
  22. ^ abPruter, Robert. "Basketball". Encyclopedia of Chicago. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  23. ^Arceri-Bianchini, p. 81.
  24. ^Arceri-Bianchini, p. 133.
  25. ^History of FIBA, in FIBA.com.
  26. ^Arceri-Bianchini, p. 185.
  27. ^The First NBA Game: 1946 New York-Toronto
  28. ^Arceri-Bianchini, p. 49.
  29. ^ abc"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-11-07. Retrieved 2008-11-15. 
  30. ^ ab"Black Fives Timeline". 
  31. ^Colored Basketball World's Champions – Hoopedia
  32. ^Blevins, Dave (2012). The sports hall of fame encyclopedia baseball, basketball, football, hockey, soccer. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press. p. 416. ISBN 9781461673705. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  33. ^http://bleacherreport.com/articles/407905-los-angeles-lakers-win-2010-nba-championship. 
  34. ^http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/14254236/kobe-bryant-los-angeles-lakers-announces-retire-season. 
  35. ^http://www.wrdw.com/sports/headlines/98082929.html. 
  36. ^"I'm coming home". 


  • Arceri, Mario; Bianchini, Valerio (2004). La leggenda del basket. Milano: Baldini Castoldi Dalai. ISBN 9788884906267. 
  • Peterson, Robert W. (2002). Cages to Jump Shots: Pro Basketball's Early Years. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-8772-0. 
  • James Naismith, Basketball: Its Origin and Development, University of Nebraska Press, 1941.

External links


Basketball is a athletic sport, usually played on an indoor court in which two competing teams of five layers each attempt to score by throwing an inflated ball so that it descends through one of two baskets suspended, at each end of the court, above their heads. The team scoring the most such throws, through field goals or foul shots, wins the game. Because of its continuous action and frequent scoring, basketball is one of the most popular spectator as well as participant sports in the world.

Basketball, extremely popular around the world, is a court game played by two teams of five players each. The object is to put a ball through a hoop, or basket, and thus score more points than the opposing team.

Although basketball can by played outdoors, it was invented to serve as an exciting indoor exercise for the winter months in a northern climate. It quickly became a spectator sport, however, and now attracts large audiences to gymnasiums and arenas, especially in the United States, South America, and Europe.

The sport is played on the amateur level by high schools, colleges, other groups, and, since 1936, by national teams in the Olympic Games. It also is played by professional athletes, notably in the United States and Europe. The foremost championships contended for are those of the National Basketball Association (U.S. professionals), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (U.S. colleges), and the Olympic Games.


Basketball was invented in December 1891 by the Canadian clergyman, educator, and physician James Naismith. Naismith introduced the game when we was an instructor at the Young Men's Christian Association Training School (now Springfield College) in Springfield, Massachusetts. At the request of his superior, Dr. Luther H. Gulick, he organized a vigorous recreation suitable for indoor winter play. The game involved elements of American football, soccer, and hockey, and the first ball used was a soccer ball. Teams had nine players, and the goals were wooden peach baskets affixed to the walls. By 1897-1898, teams of five became standard. The game rapidly spread nationwide and to Canada and other parts of the world, played by both women and men; it also became a popular informal outdoor game. U.S. servicemen in World War II (1939-1945) popularized the sport in many other countries.

A number of U.S. colleges adopted the game between about 1893 and 1895. In 1934 the first college games were staged in New York City's Madison Square Garden, and college basketball began to attract heightened interest. By the 1950s basketball had become a major college sport, thus paving the way for a growth of interest in professional basketball.

The first pro league, the National Basketball League, was formed in 1898 to protect players from exploitation and to promote a less rough game. This league only lasted five years before disbanding; its demise spawned a number of loosely organized leagues throughout the northeastern United States. One of the first and greatest pro teams was the Original Celtics, organized about 1915 in New York City. They played as many as 150 games a season and dominated basketball until 1936. The Harlem Globetrotters, founded in 1927, a notable exhibition team, specializes in amusing court antics and expert ball handling.

In 1949 two subsequent professional leagues, the National Basketball League (formed in 1937) and the Basketball Association of America (1946) merged to create the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Boston Celtics, led by their center Bill Russell, dominated the NBA from the late 1950s through the 1960s. By the 1960s, pro teams from coast to coast played before crowds of many millions annually. Wilt Chamberlain, a center for the Los Angeles Lakers, was another leading player during the era, and his battles with Russell were eagerly anticipated. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, also a center, came to prominence during the 1970s. Jabbar perfected his famed "sky hook" shot while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers and dominated the opposition.

The NBA suffered a drop in popularity during the late 1970s, but was resuscitated, principally through the growing popularity of its most prominent players. Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics, and Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers are credited with injecting excitement into the league in the 1980s through their superior skills and decade-long rivalry. During the late 1980s Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls rose to stardom and helped the Bulls dominate the NBA during the early 1990s. A new generation of basketball stars, including Shaquille O'Neal of the Orlando Magic and Larry Johnson of the Charlotte Hornets, have sustained the NBA's growth in popularity.

In 1959 a Basketball Hall of Fame was founded in Springfield, Massachusetts. Its rosters include the names of great players, coaches, referees, and people who have contributed significantly to the development of the game.


Professional, college, and high school games are similar except in length and in range of basic skills. Professional games are 48 minutes long, divided into quarters; college games, 40 minutes, played in halves; and high school games, 32 minutes, broken into quarters. If a game is tied at the end of regulation time, an overtime (3 to 5 minutes, depending on the level of competition) is played.

Although no set of dimensions for a basketball court is universally accepted, the recommended size is 94 ft (28.65 m) long and 50 ft (15.24 m) wide.

Two points are given for a field goal, which is a shot that goes through the hoop--10 ft (3 m) high--while the ball is in play. The NBA instituted, beginning with the 1979-1980 season, the 3-point field goal, awarded to a player who scores from beyond a semicircle at a distance of an even 22 ft (6.7 m) all the way around the basket. The NCAA followed suit, beginning in 1986-87, with a 3-point semicircle that averages 19.75 ft (6 m) from the basket. One point is awarded for a free throw, or foul shot, which is attempted by a player who has been fouled, or impeded physically, by an opponent. Free throws are attempted, undefended, from a line drawn 15 ft (4.57 m) from the basket.

On the offensive, a player may advance the ball by passing or even rolling it to a teammate or by dribbling, which is bouncing it along the floor with one-hand taps. The defensive team can get the ball back by intercepting passes, blocking shots, or even by literally stealing it out of an opponent's hand, provided that no illegal body contact occurs. After a basket is made, the ball is awarded to the other team, which puts it back in play. If a field-goal attempt is missed and the ball remains in bounds, it is kept in play by the team that recovers (rebounds) it.

When personal fouls are committed on a player who is not in the act of shooting the game is restarted with a throw-in by the non-offending team from out of bounds on the sideline nearest to the place of the foul.

If there is a foul on a player in the act of shooting:

· If the goal is made, the points will count and one free throw will be awarded as well.

· If the shot for goal misses, two free throws will be awarded.

· If the missed shot for goal was a three-point shot, three free throws will be awarded.

If you have committed five fouls, you cannot take any further part in the game.

When your team has committed seven player fouls in a half, any fouls they commit will be penalized by the one and one rule. In this case, the player who fouled is given one free throw (unless they were in the act of shooting for goal, in which case the usual free throw rules apply). The one and one rule means that, if you make the first free throw, you are given a second shot. If you miss the first throw, you don't get another one and the game continues in the normal way.


The Ball

The ball is round and the outer casing should be either leather, rubber or other suitable synthetic material. Its circumference should be between 75 and 78cm (29.5 and 30.25 in) and its weight between 600 and 650gm (20 and 22oz). It should be inflated to a pressure so that when it is dropped from a height of 1.8m (6ft) (measured from the floor to the bottom of the ball) on to the playing surface, it will rebound to a height of between 1.2 and 1.4m (4ft and 4ft 7in), (measured to the top of the ball).

In addition to that equipment already mentioned, the home team is normally responsible for providing the following: a clock, time-out watch, device for displaying to players and spectators how much time is left on the 30-seconds rule (see Game Guide), an official score sheet, scoreboard visible to spectators and players, markers displaying the numbers 1 to 5 for use by the scorer to indicate how many fouls a player commits, and two team-foul markers which are red and placed on the scorers table to indicate a seventh-player foul by a team.

The Clothing

Players of each team should wear the same outfits which must not clash with the opposing team. Each player should wear a numbered shirt and no two players in the same team should wear the same number. Players are numbered between 4 and 15. Loose-fitting shorts for mobility, and sleeveless vests are the standard attire. Basketball shoes should be rubber-soled and with protected ankle supports, although these are not necessary. Most important of all, make sure your clothing is comfortable. It is important to wear towelled socks; and it is not a bad idea to buy a pair of shoes a little too big to enable you to wear two pairs of socks which will reduce the risk of blistering.

How To Play Basketball

The game of basketball is played with a round ball by two teams, each with five players usually two guards, two forwards and a center (or in modern basketball lingo - point guard, wings and post players).

The referee starts the game by tossing the ball up (a jump ball) between the two opposing center players, who stand facing each other at the center circle of the playing arc. The player who wins the ball may then pass, throw, tap, roll or dribble the ball in any direction, subject to the official rules. The aim of the game is to throw the ball through the opponent's basket while pre-venting the other team from getting the ball and scoring goals.

Shooting the ball through the basket scores two points for a field goal, three points for a field goal made from outside the three-point line drawn on the court and one point for a free throw. Naturally enough, the team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

The game consists of two halves, each of 20 minutes, with a ten-minute break between halves. If scores are level at the allotted 40 minutes, there is a two-minute break followed by an extra period of five minutes of play.

You cannot run with the ball - this is called travelling. Nor can you take more than one step while holding the ball. If you stop dribbling, the ball can only be moved by a pass or shot at the basket. If you start dribbling again, you will be penalized for double dribbling. Each team is allowed up to five substitutes, who must stay off the court until the coach decides to replace an on-court player (known as making a substitution). Substitutions may be made at time-outs, jump balls or when play is stopped for a foul. If they do decide to make such a substitution, their opponents can also make a substitution.

Generally speaking, basketball is a non-contact game, although contact which gives no one an unfair advantage can occur. You must not hold, push, charge, trip or impede the progress of an opponent by using your arm, shoulder, hip or knee or by bending your body out of a normal position, or use any rough tactics. If you do, you will be charged with a personal foul. When there is contact, the referee makes a decision with the following basic principles in mind:

· You must avoid contact in any possible way.

· You are entitled to a normal empty position on the court as long as you don't cause contact in taking your court position.

· If a contact foul occurs, the foul is caused by the player who is responsible for the contact.

· The player causing the contact must not gain any advantage from it.

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