Basketball, a team sport, is a game where two teams of five try to score by shooting a ball through the top of a hoop. It is one of the most popular sports in the world. The hoop is 18 inches in diameter and 10 feet high mounted to a backboard. Field goals score two points or three points if they score outside of the three-point line. The winner is the team with the most points at the end of the game; if there is a tie then the game goes into overtime.

If any rules are broken they are generally called “fouls”. Free Throws are awarded when a foul is committed to a player that is shooting. For more serious offenses a technical foul is issued, the other team would also get a free throw.

Throughout basketball history many common techniques of shooting, passing, and dribbling, along with offensive and defensive structures have been developed. Competitive basketball is carefully regulated and indoor courts are carefully marked and maintained while outdoor courts often lack any markings.

Dr. James Naismith is the inventor of basketball after creating the game while looking for a game to keep his gym class active on a rainy day. After nailing a peach basket to a 10-foot elevated track he had invented a game to keep his class busy. In 1906 the basket was replaced with metal hoops and backboards. Naismith called the game “Basket Ball”.

In 1892, the first official game was played in a YMCA with nine players. The game was won with a score of 1-0 by a shot made from 25 feet on a court half the size of current National Basketball Courts. Senda Berenson modified the rules of Naismith’s game for women. She ended up organizing the first women’s collegiate basketball game on March 21, 1893. In 1901 she became the editor of A.G. Spalding’s first Women’s Basketball Guide.

After the game was dispatched to YMCA’s through the United States it quickly spread through the USA and Canada. The YMCA was responsible for the initial spread of the game but later discouraged the game since it felt it was rough and encouraged rowdy crowds. However, by this point amateur sports clubs, colleges, and professional clubs had filled in the void. The National Basketball League, formed in 1898, protected players form exploitation and to promoted less rough game. The league, however, only lasted five years.

Basketball had become a major college sport in the 1950s which helped garner interest for it as a professional sport. In 1959, the basketball hall of fame was found in Springfield, Massachusetts. The hall of fame includes players, coaches, and referees who have accomplish great achievements throughout their careers in basketball.
The first balls made specifically for basketball were brown until Tony Hinkle developed the orange one in the 1950s. Dribbling wasn’t part of the original game until the 1950’s when the ball shape was improved. Naismith coached at the University of Kansas for six years.

Adolph Rupp, Naismith’s student at Kansas, later became the coach at the University of Kentucky. Many colleges started sponsoring teams around 1901. In 1905 the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States was found which, in 1910, changed into the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The early years of Women’s basketball were much more structured than men’s games. In 1929 the first woman’s AAU All-American team was chosen.

By the 1920’s there were men’s professional basketball teams all over the United States. Players played on different teams all the time and the leagues didn’t last long. Some teams, such as the Harlem Globetrotters, played up to two hundred games a year. The first NAIA tournament was in 1937. In 1946 the Basketball Association of America was formed. In 1949 the BAA merged with the NBL to create the National Basketball Association. This league is now the most popular basketball league in the world. Many famous players have come out of the NBA including Shaquille O’ Neal, Oscar Roberston, Jerry West, Karl Malone, Julius Erving and the three players who are credited with bringing the NBA to its height Michael Jordan, Earvin Johnson, and Larry Bird.

The first NIT game was organized in 1938 and the NCAA tournament started a year later. From 1948 to 1951 college basketball was plagued with gambling scandals when players from top teams were implicated in match fixing and point shaving. The NIT lost a lot of support to the NCAA due to cheating.

High School basketball was popular due to the low equipment and personnel requirements. Now almost every high school in the US has a basketball team. Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky are well known for their residents’ devotion to high school basketball. Unlike the collegiate level there is no high school tournament to determine national champions.

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) started in 1997. In the beginning the WNBA didn’t have a large following until a few elite players brought attention to the league. The WNBA signed a contract extension with ESPN in 2007. This deal was the first that allowed rights fees to be paid to women’s professional sports league. The WNBA draws more viewers than either the NHL or Major League Soccer.

In 1932, the International Basketball Federation was formed with eight founding nations. In 1936 basketball took the world stage when it was included in the Summer Olympics. The United States won the first final, had has continued to dominate the tournaments having only lost three of the titles.

In the NBA the game has 4 quarters of 12 minutes while in College they play two 20 minute halves and in High School only uses 8 minute quarters. Five players play on each team at a time and substitutions are unlimited. Usually teams have a coach, assistants, managers, statisticians, doctors, and trainers. Each team has a limited number of time-outs. The officials are in charge of enforcing rules and usually consist of the referee and one to two umpires and table judges who keep track of the score, time, fouls, and substitutions. The court is a standard 91.9 ft long and 49.2 ft wide. The NBA court is 94 feet by 50 feet. Generally the courts are made of wood with a team logo on it.