Tuesday, May 16, 2006
What is basketball
Basketball is a sport in which two teams of five players each try to score points on one other by shooting a ball through a hoop (the basket) under organized rules.Since its invention in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891, it has developed to become a truly international sport. Organized league play originated in the YMCA and early leagues were formed in colleges. Basketball eventually became a professional sport. Even though it was originally an American sport, it quickly spread internationally and outstanding players and teams are found today all over the world.Basketball is primarily an indoor sports, played on a basketball court. Points are scored for passing the ball through the basket from above; the team with more points at the end of the game wins. The ball can be advanced on the court by bouncing it (dribbling) or passing it between teammates. Disruptive physical contact (fouls) is not permitted and there are restrictions on how the ball can be handled (violations).Through time, basketball has developed to involve common techniques of shooting, passing and dribbling, as well as players' positions, and offensive and defensive structures. While competitive basketball is carefully regulated, numerous variations of basketball have developed for casual play. Basketball is also a popular spectator sports.
Basketball is unique in that it was invented by one person, rather than evolving from a different sport. In early December 1891, Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian-born physician and minister on the faculty of a college for YMCA professionals (today, Springfield College) in Springfield, Massachusetts, sought a vigorous indoor game to keep young men occupied during 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 the basic rules, and nailed a peach basket onto the 10 foot (3.05 m) elevated track. Women's basketball began in 1892, at Smith College, when Senda Berenson, a physical education teacher, modified Naismith's rules for women. The first official basketball game was played in the YMCA gymnasium on January 20, 1892 with nine players, on a court just half the size of a present-day NBA court. "Basket ball", the name suggested by one of Naismith's students, was popular from the beginning.Basketball's early adherents were dispatched to YMCAs throughout the United States, and it quickly spread through the country. By 1896, it was well established at several women's colleges. While the YMCA was responsible for initially developing and spreading the game, within a decade, it discouraged the new sport, as rough play and rowdy crowds began to detract from the YMCA's primary mission. However, other amateur sports clubs, colleges, and professional clubs quickly filled the void. In the years before World War 1, the Amateur Athletic Union and the Intercollegiate Athletic Association (forerunner of the NCAA) vied for control over the rules for the game.Basketball was originally played with a soccer ball. The first balls made specifically for basketball were brown, and it was only in the late 1950s that Tony Hinkle, searching for a ball that would be more visible to players and spectators alike, introduced the orange ball that is now in common use.Interestingly basketball and netball are the only ball games which have been identified as being invented by North Americans. Other ball games, such as baseball and football, have British Commonwealth or European connection.
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