Basketball is a sport enjoyed by millions of people around the world. Children and adults of many nations are fascinated by the high speed action and hype that surrounds the sport. It started in America, but has spread to other countries around the world who have shown us that everyone can compete. There are big players and small players, skinny and heavy players, and people of many nations playing.

If they can do it, so can you. Some players have even come to America to compete in the NBA (National Basketball Association). Some of these players are Dirk Nowitzki (Germany), Steve Nash (Canada), Yao Ming (China, figure 0.1), and Manu Ginobili (Argentina). So become part of the hype and learn the history, rules, and sport of basketball!!

American college basketball rules can be found at 2008 NCAA MEN’S AND WOMEN’S BASKETBALL RULES AND INTERPRETATIONS

Basic Play edit

1.1 A basketball.
1.2 A basketball hoop.
1.3 Basketball Court

Basketball's basic concept is easily understood. The objective is for your team of five put a basketball (figure 1.1) through a hoop (figure 1.2) on the opposite side of the court. While trying to score on this hoop you are also trying to defend your hoop on your side of the court (figure 1.3). You must dribble or pass (not walk with) the ball to your team mates to get down the court (see Skills chapter) and must try to put the ball in the basket before twenty-four seconds has passed.

If you don't the other team will receive the ball. You can refresh the twenty-four seconds if you miss the shot and your team gets the rebound. The missed shot must hit the rim to reset the twenty-four second shot clock. There are three types of shots you can make for points.

The first type is a two-point shot. If you shoot the ball inside the three point line, it is worth two points. The second type is a three-point shot, if you shoot beyond the three point line your team gets three points. The third type is a foul shot, if you are fouled when going up for a shot you shoot the number of free throws (from the free throw line) for the number of points you could have received if you made the shot.

For example, if you are shooting a three point shot and get fouled you get three shots from the foul line. If you were shooting a two point shot, you get two shots. If you go up for a shot, get fouled, and make the basket, you get the points regularly received for making the shot, plus one free throw. Free throws are worth one point each. If someone is fouled, the person who fouled them gets one more personal foul, and the team gets one more team foul. You are eliminated from the game when you have 6 fouls.

If you foul somebody when they are not shooting, it counts as one more personal and team foul. If your team commits more than three fouls, the person fouled gets to shoot two from the line. The game is played out in quarters (12 minutes each), and every quarter your number of team fouls goes back to zero. You also cannot go outside the court boundaries (yellow in the diagram), or the ball is given to the other team. Another general rule is once you go over center court, you cannot go back over (this is called over-and-back or a backcourt violation).

Do not stay in the box below the basket for more than three seconds, this is called three in the key and will result in your team giving the ball up. You must be past center court after eight seconds, or you will turn the ball over (these eight seconds are also counted on shot clock). Stepping out-of-bounds, backcourt violations, three in the key, and the ball being stolen (taken away from you by the other team) are all forms of turnovers (giving the other team the ball). When on defense, you cannot touch or hit another player (this will result in foul shots).

Be careful not to stay in the square below the basket for more than three seconds (not illustrated). This is called Defensive Three Seconds and will result in the other team shooting a free throw and receiving the ball. This is the basic way of playing basketball so make sure you know these rules. Some of the topics (such as free throws) will be covered more in depth later.

History edit

Now that you know a little bit about the game itself, you should hear the history of how the game came to be. What would you do if you had to invent an indoor game for the harsh New England winter? Dr. James Naismith (figure 2.1) was faced with this predicament when the Head of Physical Education told him to make a game for a class of eighteen men. The original game was a nine-on-nine version of basketball using peach baskets on sticks as hoops, and soccer balls as basketballs. Naismith's liked his game because it focused less on brute force and more on skill, so that anyone could have a chance and become good at it. He devised the following set of thirteen rules:

  1. The ball can be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.
  2. The ball can be batted in any direction with one or both hands, but never with the fist.
  3. A player cannot run with the ball. The player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it.
  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, striking or tripping an opponent.
  6. A foul is striking at the ball with the fist.
  7. If a side makes three consecutive fouls it counts a goal for the opponents.
  8. A goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from the ground into the basket and stays there.
  9. When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall be thrown into the field and played by the first person touching it.
  10. The umpire shall be 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 decide when it is in play in bounds, to which side it belongs, and shall keep the time.
  12. The time shall be four 12-minute quarters with a five minute rest between.
  13. The side scoring the most goals in that time shall be declared the winner.

The first game was believed to have been played on December 21, 1891 in the Springfield, Massachusetts YMCA and the first official game was in the same place January 20, 1892. From humble beginnings in a YMCA gymnasium, the game has come to reach a huge audience of hundreds of millions of people.

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