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Articles: Basketball


Basketball is played with two teams of five players each. The goal is to score the most points by the end of the time limit by shooting the ball through a hoop. The hoop is hung at a height of 10 feet from the ground. Players are not allowed to run with the ball in their hands. They must constantly bounce the ball off the floor or pass it to a team-mate. The role of the opposition is to break the play by taking the ball away from the attackers, while ensuring that they prevent body contact. Excessive physical contact is penalized by fouls.

The origins of basketball can be traced all the way back to the year 1891. In the month of December, Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian professor tried to keep his gym class at the International YMCA Training School (now known as Springfield College, Massachusetts) active on a rainy day with the help of an exciting indoor game. After contemplating on a number of theories, he wrote down the basic rules for basketball and placed a peach basket on a 10-foot track. This simple idea gave birth to one of the most popular games in the history of sports. Naismith was also responsible for giving the game its name. The first official basketball game in the world was played at the YMCA Gymnasium, New York on 20th January 1982.

The sport has close to 450 million registered players in more than 200 national federations that are governed by the Fédération Internationale de Basketball (FIBA). The sport is known to enjoy great monetary value, particularly in North America. In fact, players in the US alone receive salaries that cumulatively cross the $ 1billion mark. Although the sport is very popular in most parts of the world, its biggest fan following is in the United States of America, closely followed by the Philippines, Canada and Australia.

The game’s popularity has been spreading slowly and steadily due to numerous reasons such as international broadcasting of major games, the advent of the internet and social media, the celebrity status enjoyed by the game and its players, fast paced action and exciting game play. Basketball has really invested a lot of effort in building a name for itself all over the world and this has attracted a lot of interest in places like China, Saudi Arabia, Africa and Europe.

A basketball match

Basketball is played with two teams of 5 players each, where each player is assigned a particular role (defense, holding play or attack). The unique nature of the game requires players to score by throwing the ball into a hoop that is hung 10 feet above the ground. This means that the players usually tend to be very tall, particularly at the pro level.

Basketball is played in a rectangular court where the surface is wooden in most cases. The dimensions of the court and the backboard vary from one competition to the other, but the height of the basket is exactly 10 feet. The size of the basketball is also known to be regulated. The official ball size for men is 22oz. in weight and 29.5 inches in circumference while the official ball size for women is 20 oz. in weight and 28.5 inches in circumference.

Starting a basketball match

Although specific positions haven’t been laid down in the rules of basketball, starting positions and positional play has evolved as a part of the modern day game. There was a time when two defenders, two forwards and one central player were used to play basketball. However, as time elapsed, specific roles and positions came about.

The Point Guard, or “1”, is the fastest player in the team. This player is responsible for the team’s offence and for passing the ball to the right player at the right point of time. The Shooting Guard, or “2”, is responsible for most long range offensive shots. This player also guards the opposite team’s best perimeter defence player. The Small Forward, or “3”, needs to score points via dribble penetration and cuts. The player also needs to look for steals and rebounds. The Point Forward, or “4”, tries to stop the opposite team’s power forward from scoring. Finally, the Centre, or “5”, uses his/her height to protect the basket while defending or score a basket while attacking.

The game begins with the referee throwing the basketball in the air as one player from each team tries to tip the ball to a team-mate from the center court. This starting action is called the jump ball. The team that manages to win the ball starts the attack while the other team is in charge of defending its basket.

The rules of basketball

Each game of basketball is divided into at least 2 halves, with the halves sometimes divided into quarters. At the college level, each half is close to 20 minutes long. At the school level, each half is divided into 6 minute quarters. The quarters are 12 minutes long at the pro level. If the scores are tied at the end of two halves, the game goes into overtime to decide a winner.

The team with the ball is known as the offence and the team without the ball is known as the defence. The offensive team has 10 seconds to put the ball into the half occupied by the defending team if it takes the ball back into its own half. Once the offensive team takes the ball into the defending team’s half, it cannot take it back behind the mid-court line. Players need to move the ball towards the hoop in order to score a basket by dribbling the ball or passing the ball to other team-mates. Players are not allowed to walk or run with the ball in their hands. The defending team needs to prevent the basket by stealing the ball, taking possession of the rebounds and deflecting passes.

Once the offence scores a basket, the ball goes to the other team. The defending team then becomes the offensive team and the players go through a reversed role. All baskets are made through “field goals” or “free throws”. Free throws are awarded to the opposing team when wrongful body contact is made by a player. Fouling the shooter always gives the offensive team 2 – 3 free throws, depending on the position in which the shooter was fouled. All other fouls get accumulated till a certain number of fouls are accumulated in a given half. Once this number is reached, the fouled player is offered a 1-and-1 opportunity to score.

The number of officials used in basketball varies from one competition to the other. At the pro level, a minimum of 5 officials are required. Many competitions also make use of 8 officials. The officials include a referee who is supported by 4 – 7 assistants.

Although basketball games are uniform throughout the globe, some variations do exist. Most governing bodies in North America have their own rules. The Technical Commission of FIBA decides international game rules. And most leagues outside North America use the entire FIBA rule set as their guidelines.

Strategy and tactics used in basketball

Things like strategic positioning, quick passing and fast movements are essential for outmanoeuvring the defending team in order to create an opportunity to put the ball into the hoop. Players from the offensive team need to create tactics that allow them to score a basket. Different game situations call for different tactics and strategies. The biggest secret to success in basketball is movement off the ball. The attacking team players need to channelize their movements to beat their opponents and score a basket. On the other hand, the defending team needs to concentrate on its blocking manoeuvres and positioning while ensuring that it doesn’t make serious body contact with the offensive team (to prevent fouls).

The team structure in basketball games usually depends on the level and the league in which the game is being played. Each team must have 5 players, but the support staff and coaching structure depends on the league. Pro level teams usually appoint assistant coaches, trainers, statisticians and doctors as a part of their support staff. Each team is allowed unlimited player substitutions, but play needs to be stopped for a substitution to be made.

The coach is as much a part of the live action as a player. Coaches are in charge of developing the strategies of the team and channelling the game play. The coach also takes active part in the match by offering instructions during play and overseeing player substitutions to influence the outcome of the match.

Competing in Basketball

A basketball player can refer to any individual who makes a living playing basketball, including the ones who play at a national level or a local level. There are all sorts of basketball tournaments held at various levels. These tournaments start at the local or youth level in schools, colleges and communities and progress to professional leagues as well as international tournaments. In order to qualify for major tournaments, the basketball player needs to get signed by a team competing in that particular tournament, and the only way to do this is to showcase his or her talent in the lower division to attract attention from bigger teams.

Eight founding nations got together to create the International Basketball Federation in the year 1932. The first FIBA Men’s Basketball was included as a part of the 1936 Summer Olympics, where the US won after defeating Canada. Soon the FIBA World Championship for Women also came about, with women’s basketball being added to the 1976 Olympics. Although FIBA initially included only amateur players, it dropped out this distinction in the year 1989. As a result, professional players got a chance to become a part of their first Olympic Games in the year 1992. Today, basketball tournaments are held for boys and girls of age levels throughout the world.

The most popular basketball competition for men and women are the NBA and the WNBA respectively. These two national competitions are the most famous basketball competitions in the world.

Site reference: Basketball governing bodies

Site reference: Basketball competitions and organisers

Betting on Basketball

The NBA is an exciting competition to bet on. The season usually ends in April and the play-offs are held in the month of May. The Finals are held around the 2nd week of June. Although there are regular matches during the regular season, the NBA is a single competition. As a result, there are a limited number of matches for bettors to choose from. Other interesting competitions worth betting on include U.S. College Basketball, the Euro League and the Euro Basket.

The Point Spread is the most popular type of basketball betting. This bet involves giving the teams a point handicap. Other popular bets include Money Lines (classic bets involving different odds) and Over/ Under Totals (predicting whether the total will be over/ under the pre-defined total).