Basketball is a ball sport in which two teams of five players each try to score points by throwing the ball through a basket.
Basketball is highly suited to viewing by spectators, as it is primarily an indoor sport, played in a relatively small playing area, or “court,” with only ten players, and using a large ball which is easy to follow. Additionally, the lack of protective gear makes it easy to see the reactions of the players. It is onne of the most popular sports in the United States, and is also popular in other parts of the world, including South America, southern Europe, and the former Soviet Union, especially Lithuania.
Basketball is unusual in that it is a sport that was invented essentially by one man. In 1891, Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian minister on the faculty of a college for YMCA professionals in Springfield, Massachusetts, sought an indoor game of vigor and grace to keep young men occupied duuring 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 wrote up some basic rules, nailed up a peach basket on the gym wall, and go
Interestingly, while the YMCAs were responsible for developing and initially spreading the game, within a decade they were discouraging the new sport, as rough play and rowdy crowds seemed to detract from what they saw as their primary mission. Other amateur sports clubs, colleges, and eventually professional clubs quickly filled the void. In the years before World War One, the Amateur Athletic Union and the Intercollegiate Atthletic Association (forerunner of the NCAA) vied for control over the rules of the game.
Naismith himself was instrumental in establishing the college game, coaching at University of Kansas for six years before handing the reins there to renowned coach Phog Allen . Naismith disciple Amos Alonzo Stagg brought basketball to the University of Chicago, while Adolph Rupp , a student of Naismith at Kansas, enjoyed great success as coach at the University of Kentucky. College leagues date back to the 1920s, an
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 from team to team, and teams played in armories and smoky dance halls. Leagues came and went, and barnstorming squads such as the New York Rens and the Original Celtics played up to two hundred games a year on their national tours. In 1946, the National Basketball Association (NBA) was formed, organising the top professional teams and leading to greater popularity of the professional game. An upstart organization, the American Basketball Association, emerged in 1967 and briefly threatened the N.B.A.’s dominance until the rival leagues merged in
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 Bill Walton, playmaker John Stockton; and the three players who many credit with ushering the professional game to its highest level of popularity, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan.
Basketball was first included in the Olympic Games in 1936, although a demonstration tournament was held back in 1904. This competition has been mostly dominated by the United States, whose team has won all but three titles. The Americans’ first Olympic loss was in a controversial final game in Munich in 1972 against the Soviet Union. When the United States began to allow its professional players to compete, starting with the “Dream Team” of 1992, their dominance briefly resurfaced. However with the developing programs elswhere, other national teams are now very competitive with the United States. A team made up of NBA players was badly beaten in the 2002 World Championships in Indianapolis, finishing sixth, behind Yugoslavia, Argentina, Germany, New Zealand, and Sp
Women’s basketball was added to the Olympics in 1976, with teams such as Brazil and Australia rivaling the American squads. Women’s professional basketball has also emerged, with the N.B.A.-backed Women’s National Basketball Association beginning play in 1997.
World-wide, basketball tournaments are held at many age levels, such as five to six year olds (usually called biddy-biddy), seven to eight year olds, nine to ten year olds, eleven to thirteen year olds (biddy), teenagers, jr. high-schoolers, high school, college, the professional leagues and master leagues. Tournaments are held at each level for both males and females.
Internationally, the sport is governed by FIBA, the International Basketball Federation. The global popularity of the sport is reflected in the nationalities represented in the NBA. Here are just a few of the outstanding international players who have played or still play in the NBA: Argentina’s Emanuel Ginobili; Serbia and Montenegro’s Vlade Divac, and Peja Stojaković; Croatia’s Toni Kukoč and Dražen Petrović; Lithuania’s Arvydas Sabonis and Sarunas Marciulionis, Germany’s Dirk Nowitzki; Puerto Rico’s Carlos Arroyo; China’s Yao Ming; Canada’s Steve Nash; Australia’s Luc Longley and Spain’s Pau Gasol. Many outstanding international players, including Serbia and Montenegro’s Dejan Bodiroga, past Olympian Oscar Schmidt of Brazil, and recent Lithuanian Olympian Sarunas Jasikevicius, have chosen to decline N.B.A. opportunities.
The object of the game is to outscore their opponents by throwing the ball through their opponents’ basket from above while preventing their opponents from doing so on their own. An attempt to score in this way is called a shot. Two points are scored for a successful shot, three points for a successful long-range shot (6.25 metres from the basket), and one point for each successful free throw.
At the professional level, games are played in four quarters of 10 (international) or 12 minutes (NBA) each. Games take longer than this allotted game time, since the game clock only runs when the ball is in play. This is called using a stop clock, as the clock stops when the ball is not in play, e.g. it goes out of bounds or a foul is committed. Fifteen minutes are allowed at half-time, and two minutes are allowed at other intervals.
Time-outs and substitutions are permitted during a game. A substitution is that of one player on the court for another on the team bench. A time-out is a clock stoppage requested by the coach of either team, in which he can discuss tactics etc. A time-out lasts one minute in international basketball and either 100 seconds, 60 seconds or 20 seconds in NBA basketball. A limited amound of time-outs is allowed. (In international basketball, 2 time-outs are allowed in the first two periods, 3 in the last two periods, and 1 in each extra period. In NBA basketball, six 100/60-second time-outs are allowed in the entire game of which a maximum of three can be in the last quarter, and 3 100/60-second time-outs in each extra period, as well as one 20-second time-out per half.)
Playing the ball
The ball may be advanced toward the basket by being shot, passed, thrown, tapped, rolled or dribbled. Passing is throwing the ball from player to player. Dribbling is when a single player runs while continuously bouncing the ball. The ball cannot be kicked deliberately or struck with the fist, and must stay within the playing court.
Running with the ball without bouncing it, or traveling is illegal, as is double dribbling, the act of dribbling with two hands or starting a second dribble after having caught the ball after a first one. In higher levels of basketball time limits are imposed on taking the ball over halfway, and taking a shot. Rules with playing the ball are stricter in the NBA. Contrary to popular belief, there is no limit to the amount of steps a player can take between bounces while dribbling.
To interfere with the ball while on its downward flight for a basket, or while it is bouncing on the basket, is called goal tending and is a violation.
An attempt to unfairly disadvantage an opponent with personal contact is illegal and is called a foul. These are most commonly commited by defensive players, however they can be committed by offensive players as well. Normal fouls are called personal fouls. Players who are fouled either receive the ball to pass inbounds again, or receive a free throw if they are fouled in the act of shooting. One point is awarded for making a free throw, which is attempted from line 4.5 metres (15 feet) from the basket.
If a team surpasses a preset limit of team fouls in a given period (4 in international and NBA games), the opposing team is awarded free throws on all subsequent fouls for that period.
A player or coach who shows poor sportsmanship such as arguing with a referee or fighting with another player can be charged with a technical foul. A player or coach with two technical fouls is disqualified from the game and is required to leave the stadium. Blatant fouls with excessive contact or that are not an attempt to play the ball are called unsportsmanlike fouls (or flagrant fouls in the NBA) and incur a harsher penalty; in some rare cases a disqualifying foul will require the player to leave the stadium.
If a player commits five fouls (including technical fouls) in one game (six in some professional leagues, including the NBA) he is not allowed to participate for the rest of the game, and is described as having “fouled out”. If no substitutes are available, the team must forfeit the game. Some leagues, including the NBA, allow disqualified players to re-enter the game at the cost of a technical foul on the team.
Players and positions
During the first five decades of basketball’s evolution, a player occupied one of three positions, as follows: two guards, two forwards, and one center. Since the 1980s, more specific positions have evolved, as follows:
On some occasions teams will choose to use a three guard offense, replacing one of the forwards or the center with a third guard.
Any numbers of player substitutions are allowed during the game, although substitutions can only enter a game during a stoppage of play.
Male players generally wear shorts and a sleeveless top, and high-top sneakers that provide extra ankle support. Female players have worn shirts and skirts in the past, but most female players now wear uniforms identical to those worn by men.
Being tall is a clear advantage in basketball. Very few male professional players stand less than six feet (1.83 m); few women in professional leagues are shorter than 5’6″ (1.68 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). The tallest players ever in the NBA, Manute Bol and Gheorghe Muresan, are 7’7″ (2.31 m). Currently, the tallest NBA players are Shawn Bradley and Yao Ming, both listed at 7’6″ (2.29 m).
A referee and one or two umpires control the game, these are the officials. On the scorebench, there are table officials, responsible for the adminstration of the game. The table officials include the scorer, who keeps track of the score and fouls by each player, the assistant scorer who controls the scoreboard, the timekeeper and the 24-second operator, who controls the 24-second clock.
Referees and umpires generally wear a grey shirt and black trousers. These officials call fouls, award successful baskets, and so on.
Variations and similar games
There are some variations of basketball, played often when there is not the equipment to play a full game. In informal street (also known as pickup) games, an arbitrary number of points by one team is set as the game’s end point. Free throws are not used, and fouls are called, by the fouled player, only when a violation is flagrant or prevents a score. In halfcourt games, only one basket is used, with the requirement that the ball be “cleared”, or passed back behind the halfcourt line (or sometimes the three-point line), whenever possession of the ball changes. A “make-it-take-it” convention is followed in some regions, whereby the scoring team retains possession of the ball. Because free throws are not generally used, baskets made in pick-up games generally count as one point. However, some courts have begun to add the three-point goal to their pick-up scenario, with two points for other field goals, resulting in a higher designated end point for the game.
Spin-offs from basketball may include baseketball, which has some elements of baseball, korfball, which was born in Holland and is played by mixed-sex teams, netball, which was informally called “women’s basketball” but now includes men’s teams, slamball, ringball , and streetball, which used to be called street basketball and now is a portmanteau of street and basketball.
Michael Jordan, the best known athlete in the world, is a leading scorer in the National Basketball Association (NBA), who led the Chicago Bulls to many recent NBA championships. He is, by far, and will be for a time to come, the best basketball player in the history of the game. Jordan was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Wilmington, North Carolina. He accepted a basketball scholarship from the University of North Carolina and as a freshman scored the winning basket in the 1982 NCAA championship game against the Hoyas of Georgetown. Jordan was selected college player of the year for the 1983-1984 season, and in 1984 he led the United States basketball team to a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
Jordan left college in 1984 to play with the Bulls. He finished his first season (1984-1985) as one of the top scorers in the league, with an average of 28.2 points per game. He was also named rookie of the year and made the first of his nine All-Star game appearances. Jordan finished the 1986-1987 season as the second player, after Wilt Chamberlain, to score more than 3000 points in a single season. He led the NBA in scoring for seven consecutive seasons (1987-1993), tying Chamberlain’s record, and averaged more than 30 points per game in each season. He also became the Bulls’ all-time leading scorer and set numerous scoring records, including most points in a playoff game (63 points against the Boston Celtics in 1986); and highest scoring average for an NBA championship series (41 points per game in the 1993 NBA finals). He led the Chicago Bulls to their first NBA championship title in 1991; with Jordan, the Bulls won again in 1992 and 1993. In addition to his three league Most Valuable Player awards (1988, 1991, 1992), Jordan won the All-Star game MVP award twice (1988, 1996) and a record three-consecutive NBA championship series MVP awards (1991-1993). Jordan was also a member of the United States Olympic basketball team, known as the Dream Team, that captured the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.
Stating that he had lost his desire to play professional basketball, Jordan announced his retirement prior to the 1993-1994 season. Initially noted for his scoring, his tenacious defensive play had made him one of the greatest all-around basketball players in NBA history. He had also become a worldwide celebrity due to his success in the NBA and the Olympics, and his numerous commercial endorsements.
Early in 1994 Jordan returned to professional sports, this time as a baseball player. He signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox of the American League (AL), reported to spring training, and was assigned to the team’s minor league system. That summer he batted .202 with the Birmingham Barons, a class AA affiliate of the White Sox. Later in the year he batted .252 with the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League. Jordan ended his retirement from professional basketball by rejoining the Bulls near the end of the 1994-1995 NBA regular season. In the 1995-1996 season he enjoyed another great year, leading the NBA in scoring with 30.4 points per game and being named league MVP. The Bulls also became the first NBA team to win 70 games in a season, finishing with 72 victories, and they went on to win the NBA championship title. Jordan was named MVP of the NBA finals, becoming the first player to earn the honor four times.
Arvydas Sabonis (born December 19, 1964) is a successful basketball player from Lithuania. The 7’3″ (2.20 m) Sabonis has been one of the top centers in the world from the 1980s through the early 21st century.
Sabonis’ earliest international success was a bronze for the Soviet Union at the European Championship of 1983, followed by a gold in 1985 at both the European Championship and the World University Games. In 1984 Sabonis joined Žalgiris, Kaunas and led them to three consecutive Soviet league titles.
In 1985 he was a fourth round draft of the Atlanta Hawks but this was later nullified because of his age (he was under 21). In 1986 he was the first pick of the Portland Trail Blazers but again he couldn’t play for them due to the political circumstances at the time.
He won the gold medal for the Soviet Union in the 1988 Summer Olympics, and played for Lithuania when they won bronze at the 1992 Summer Olympics, and were runners-up in the 1995 European Championships.
In 1989 he was allowed to leave the Soviet Union but he didn’t go to the NBA and instead chose Forum Valladolid , and Real Madrid in 1992, whom he led to league championships in 1993 and 1994 and to the European Club Championship in 1995. He was named European Player of the Year four times.
In 1995 he finally joined the NBA with the Trail Blazers, and won the Rookie of the Month and Player of the Week awards in 1996. He was later a runner-up for the Rookie of the Year and Sixth Man awards. He remained with Portland for seven years, playing in 470 regular season and 51 playoff matches with them and often leading the team in rebounds. He was a very effective player in the NBA, but his career there had considerable “what-might-have-been” overtones. During his years in Europe, he suffered a series of knee and Achilles tendon injuries that robbed him of most of his mobility.
In 2003, Sabonis returned to Lithuania and bought a major stake in his old club Žalgiris. He also played for Žalgiris in the 2003-04 season, winning the MVP award in both the regular-season and Top 16 phases of the Euroleague (the basketball equivalent of the Champions League) and being named to the All-Euroleague team.
His wife Ingrida Mikelionytė Saboniene was the winner of the first time in Lithuania beauty contest “The Beauty of Vilnius 88”. They have 4 children.
Few athletes have ever reached the level of domination that Wilt Chamberlain achieved throughout his basketball career. An offensive force second to none, “Wilt the Stilt” is one of only two players who have scored more than 30,000 points in an NBA career. A high school legend at famed Overbrook High School in the heart of Philadelphia, Chamberlain was the most coveted schoolboy recruit in the country. He opted for the storied basketball program at the University of Kansas, where he led the Jayhawks into the 1957 NCAA finals, losing in triple overtime to top-ranked North Carolina. Because Chamberlain’s skills were so far advanced than his competitors, several rule changes were enacted to harness his awesome ability. These rules changed included widening the lane, instituting offensive goaltending and revising rules governing inbounding the ball and shooting free throws.
At Kansas, Chamberlain found himself guarded by as many as three players at one time. And, when opponents weren’t “gang-guarding” him, they held the ball for long stretches. Frustrated by these tactics, the Big Dipper left school and briefly toured with the Harlem Globetrotters. The seven-foot-one tower of power joined the NBA’s Philadelphia Warriors in the 1959-60 season and was an immediate attention grabber and dominating force. Chamberlain became the first player in NBA history named MVP and Rookie of the Year in the same season, and along the way set eight NBA season records. He averaged 37.6 ppg and 27 rpg his first season, and was named to the All-Star team. Through 14 spectacular NBA seasons with the Philadelphia Warriors (1959-62), Golden State Warriors (1962-65), Philadelphia 76ers (1965-68) and the Los Angeles Lakers (1968-73), Chamberlain was named league MVP four times (1960,1966-68) and was an All-NBA First Team selection seven times. Named to 13 NBA All-Star Games, Chamberlain set All-Star Game career records for most rebounds (197), most points in a single game (42), and in 1960 earned MVP honors. The multi-talented Chamberlain led the NBA in scoring seven consecutive years (1959-65), rebounding 11 times and in 1968 led the league in assists. In 1961-62, Wilt enjoyed a Hall of Fame season. He established remarkable records for points (4,029, 50.4 ppg), and against the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962, he scored 100 points, a mark that has withstood the test of time.
When Chamberlain left the NBA in 1973, he had captured two championships — in 1967 with the Philadelphia 76ers and in 1972 with Los Angeles. Upon retirement, Wilt held numerous records: he scored 50 or more points 118 times, 60 or more points 32 times, and is the NBA’s all-time rebounding leader with 23,924. Although his feats were often credited to his tremendous size, Chamberlain was a true natural who possessed exceptional speed, agility, stamina and strength. His legendary battles with Bill Russell will forever remain etched into the NBA’s glorious history.
Dominique Wilkins (b. January 12, 1960 in Paris, France) was a basketball forward in the NBA.
Wilkins left the University of Georgia after his junior year, where he was drafted by the Utah Jazz in the 1982 NBA Draft. Reluctant to play with the Jazz, he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks several months after the draft. From 1983-84 to 1993-94, Wilkins never averaged less than 20 points per game and captured a scoring title in 1985-86 with an average of 30.3 points per game.
Wilkins, in addition to his eleven seasons with the Hawks, had short stints with the Los Angeles Clippers, the Boston Celtics, Fortitudo Bologna (a professional team in Italy), Panathinaikos Athens (a professional team in Greece), the San Antonio Spurs and the Orlando Magic before he retired in 1999. Wilkins, a nine-time NBA All-Star and the winner of two Slam Dunk contests, had 26,668 points and 7,169 rebounds in his NBA career.
He was also known under his nickname “The Human Highlight Film” for his highlight reel dunks which helped him to win 2 slam dunk titles. His duels with the young Michael Jordan are considered the best slam dunk contests in NBA history.
His younger brother Gerald Wilkins had a decent NBA career as well.
Julius Erving Date of birth: February 22, 1950
Julius Erving was born in Hempstead, Long Island. His father left the family when Julius was only three. His mother worked as a domestic to support her three children. The family lived in a public housing project, and life was difficult, but Mrs. Erving worked to instill a sense of self-worth in her children, and young Julius realized his gift for basketball could be a ticket to a better life. By age ten, Julius was averaging eleven points a game with his Salvation Army team.
When Julius Erving was 13, his mother remarried, and the family moved to the nearby town of Roosevelt. There, Julius maintained a high academic average and played on the high school team, all-county and all-Long Island teams competing in state-wide tournaments. Erving acquired the nickname “the Doctor” while still at Roosevelt High. His teammates would later alter this to “Dr. J.”
The basketball coach at Roosevelt High, Ray Wilson, introduced young Julius to Coach Jack Leaman of the University of Massachusetts. After high school, Erving entered the university, where Ray Wilson was hired as assistant coach the following year.
At Massachusetts, Erving broke freshman records for scoring and rebounding, leading his team through an undefeated season. The next year, he had the second best rebound tally in the country. Over the summer, he joined an NCAA all-star team touring Western Europe and the Soviet Union. He was voted most valuable player on this tour.
Julius Erving left the University to go professional after his junior year. He is one of only seven players in the history of NCAA basketball to average over 20 points and 20 rebounds per game.
In 1971, Julius Erving began his professional career with the Virginia Squires of the American Basketball Association. The ABA was fighting an uphill battle to gain the same recognition enjoyed by the more established National Basketball Association (NBA). Julius Erving, or Dr. J, as fans now called him, did more than anyone else to win that recognition for the new association.
In his first pro season, Dr. J, ranked sixth in the ABA in scoring, third in rebounding. He was voted ABA Rookie of the Year at the close of the season. The following year, he led the ABA in scoring, averaging 31.9 points per game.
In 1973, Dr. J attempted to sign with the Atlantic Hawks of the NBA, and found himself on the middle of a complicated legal wrangle. The Squires claimed he was still under contract to them, the Milwaukee Bucks claimed draft rights to Erving under NBA rules, and his old management sued him for damaging their reputation by trying to break the Squires contract. The affair was finally settled out of court. Erving remained with the ABA to play for the New York Nets. Once again, Erving led the league in scoring and led the Nets to an ABA championship, winning four-out of-four games against the Utah Stars. In the first of these games, Erving scored 47 points, sparking comparisons with the greatest players of all time.
In the 1974 season, Erving suffered from knee pains and was forced to wear special braces on the court, but it didn’t stop him from another spectacular season. On his 25th birthday, he scored 57 points against San Diego.
After being voted Most Valuable Player in the ABA form 1974 to 1976, Dr. J. moved to the Philadelphia 76ers of the national Basketball Association. He remained in Philadelphia for the last eleven years of his pro basketball career, leading the 76ers to an NBA championship in 1983. When Dr. J. finally retired in 1987, he had scored over 30,000 points in his professional career; he is one of only three players in the history of the game to achieve this feat.
After retiring from professional basketball, Julius Erving became a commentator for NBC and appeared in the feature film The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh.
Julius Erving now serves on the Board of Directors of Meridian Bancorp and of the Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Company. He is also President of the management and marketing firm JDREGI. He is, of course, enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and in the memories of everyone who ever saw him play.
Sarunas Marciulionis (born June 13, 1964 in Kaunas, Lithuania) is a basketball player, one of the first Europeans to become a regular in the NBA.
Marciulionis started his basketball career with Statyba Vilnius in the USSR league. In the 1988 Summer Olympics, together with Arvydas Sabonis, he led the Soviet Union basketball to a gold medal in basketball.
Sarunas was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in the 6th round of the 1987 NBA draft. He moved to the NBA in 1989 and played four years for the Warriors, finishing as the runner-up for the Sixth Man award in 1991 and 1992. Marciulionis became one of the first Europeans to get significant playing time in the NBA, helping to lead the way for the internationalization of the league in the late 1990s. He was traded to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1994, the Sacramento Kings in 1995, and finished his NBA career with the Denver Nuggets after the 1996-1997 season.
Following the restoration of Lithuanian independence in 1990, Marciulionis almost single-handedly resurrected the Lithuanian national team. He contacted prospective players, encouraged several to join, selected the uniforms, negotiated a shoe deal, and arranged for sponsorships. One notable sponsor was The Grateful Dead; the band had one of its licensees design the distinctive warmup outfits the team wore that Olympics. The outfits were a tie-dyed design in Lithuania’s national colors of green, yellow, and red, with a version of the band’s logo and “LIETUVA” (the country’s name in its own language) on the front. The team went on to win a bronze medal in the 1992 Summer Olympics.
Marciulionis was again a bronze medalist with Lithuania in the 1996 Summer Olympics. In 1995, he was named the Most Valuable Player in the European Championship, leading Lithuania to a silver medal. In 1987, 1989, 1990, and 1991 he was voted as the best sportsman in Lithuania.
In 1992, Marciulionis opened the Sarunas Hotel in Vilnius. In 1993, he founded the Lithuanian Basketball League (LKL) and became its president. In 1999, Sarunas founded North European Basketball League (NEBL) and became its commissioner. He is currently one of the most successful businessmen in Lithuania.