A Simple Look At Basketball

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“Dr. James Naismith is known world-wide as the inventor of basketball.  Naismith was instructed to devise a game that could be played inside during the cold winter months that bridged football and baseball.

He wanted to devise a game that emphasized skill rather than one that would depend solely on strength.The concept of basketball was born from Naismith’s school days in the area where he played a simple child’s game known as duck-on-a-rock outside his one-room schoolhouse. 



   The game involved attempting to knock a “duck” off the top of a large rock by tossing another rock at it.

Finally, after much thinking, he came up with a great idea for an indoor game. He got two peach baskets and attached them to a balcony at the opposite ends of the gym. There were eighteen people in his class,  so he divided them up into two groups with nine players on each team.

Of course, they couldn’t play the game without a ball, so he chose a ball that he had on hand: a soccer ball.

When the first game began, the players started passing the ball around and one boy threw the ball in the basket. He scored and his team got the first three points.

On December 21, 1891, in the Armory Street Court located in Springfield Massachusetts, the first basketball game was played. The first game was very different than the type of basketball that most fans are accustomed to watching.

Instead of the normal five on five the teams consisted of nine versus nine. Also, there was no dribbling of the basketball like there is in today’s modern game. The ball could be advanced by passing only and goals were scored by depositing the ball into the basket. Needless to say, the first game was a low scoring affair with a final score of 1-0.

But even though the game was fun to play, there were some problems that they had to solve. For example, whenever the players would throw the ball into the basket, they couldn’t get it down without climbing up a ladder.

So, they decided to cut holes in the bottom of the baskets for the ball to fall through. This helped them play faster. They used these peach baskets until 1906 when they were finally replaced by metal hoops with backboards.
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Naismith devised a set of thirteen rules of basketball:

1. The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.
2. The ball may 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, allowance to be made for a man running at good speed.

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 in any way of an opponent. The first infringement of this rule by any person shall count as a foul; the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is made or, if there was evident intent to injure the person, for the whole of the game. No substitution shall be allowed.
6. A foul is striking at the ball with the fist, violations of Rules 3 and 4 and such as described in Rule 5.
7. If either side make three consecutive fouls it shall count as a goal for the opponents (consecutive means without the opponents in the meantime making a foul).
8. Goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from the ground into the basket and stays there, providing those defending the goal do not touch or disturb the goal. If the ball rests on the edge and the opponents move the basket, it shall count as a goal.

9. When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall be thrown into the field and played by the first person touching it. In case of dispute the umpire shall throw it straight into the field. The thrower-in is allowed five seconds. If he holds it longer, it shall go to the opponent. If any side persists in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on them.
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. He shall have the power to disqualify men according to Rule 5.
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. He shall decide when a goal has been made and keep account of the goals with any other duties that are usually performed by a referee.
12. The time shall be two 15-minute halves with five minutes’ rest between.
13. The side making the most goals in that time shall be declared the winners.

Although he never had the opportunity to see the game become the incredible success it is today, Naismith’s biggest thrill came when he was sponsored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) to witness basketball become an Olympic sport at the 1936 Games held in Berlin.

Dr. Naismith became famous for creating the game of basketball. For his historic and brilliant invention, Dr. James Naismith (whose name adorns the Basketball Hall of Fame) will be forever synonymous with the game of basketball.

Check out these basketball shots!


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.

Professional basketball is a fast-paced game played on a rectangular court, generally indoors, by two five-player teams. The primary objective of the game is to score more points than the opposition by putting a round ball through a circular band, called a rim.


The two rims are at each end of the court, placed 10 ft (3.1 m) above the ground and connected to a backboard, a rectangular board that hangs from the ceiling or is supported in the air on a pole or some other structure. One of the most popular sports in the world, basketball is played by men and women of all ages and ability levels in more than 200 countries.

Dribbling, the bouncing of the ball up and down while moving, was not part of the original game except for the ‘bounce pass’ to teammates. Passing the ball was the primary means of ball movement. Dribbling was eventually introduced but limited by the asymmetric shape of early balls. Dribbling only became a major part of the game around the 1950s as manufacturing improved the ball shape.

Michael Jordan: Born on the 17th of February 1963, he started his career  in athletics by playing basketball, baseball and football. When he was in the tenth grade, he was rejected a position in the varsity basketball team for reasons of his height. He did not lose heart. His efforts led him to be the greatest basketball player of all times. Jordan wore uniform number 23… His endorsement deal with Nike led to the creation of Air Jordans, the popular athletic shoe… 


His extraordinary leaping abilities won him the title ‘Air Jordan’. He is the winner of five MVP awards, six NBA Finals MVP awards and three steals titles. He was conferred the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award in 1988. ESPN named him the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century.


He remains to be one of the most eminent figures in the world of basketball.A monument to this phenomenal athlete stands in front of Chicago’s United Center–a 2,000-pound bronze statue which features Jordan in full flight, ready to slam dunk  the ball, to the chagrin of cowering defenders.

The front panel capsulizes the man: “The best there ever was. The best there ever will be.”

Michael Jordan – I Believe I Can Fly

Wilt Chamberlain: As a child, he was not fond of playing basketball.  He thought of basketball as being a ‘game of sissies’. But when he realized how popular basketball was in Philadelphia, he turned to it. His height of 7 feet and 1 inch gave him an added advantage. He was known for his physical strength and shot blocking abilities.


He was involved in changing many rules of basketball like those of widening the lane, free throws and inbounding the ball. He holds many NBA all-time records.Known as “Wilt the Stilt” and the “Big Dipper,” Wilt Chamberlain was one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He scored more than 30,000 points during his professional career.

 In 1978, he found a place in the Basketball Hall of Fame. He is one of the very dominant players the world had ever had.  He died in 1999.  His death was the loss of a symbol of sport.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: He was the only child of his parents and was brought up as a Roman Catholic. Since his childhood, he had begun showing a flair for basketball.. Standing 7’2″  he benefitted from size advantages over his opponents. During the period of 1969 to 1989, when he was in NBA, he scored 38,387 points. This was the highest score made by any player in the league.


He is the winner of six Most Valuable Player Awards. He was best known for his Skyhook shot. After retiring from basketball, he was a successful coach and author.  In 1978, Abdul-Jabbar translated his popularity into a film career by appearing as a hulking foe to Bruce Lee in Game of Death.

The ensuing battle royale between the diminutive martial arts master and the agile seven-foot hoopster remains a highlight of martial arts cinema. Other film appearances include a memorable turn as a co-pilot who tires of being mistaken for Abdul-Jabbar in 1980’s Airplane.

In most of his subsequent films, Abdul-Jabbar has stuck to making cameo appearances as himself; he did however have a supporting role in the television pilot for the Robert Mitchum  series Jake Spinner….Private Eye in 1989, the year he retired from professional basketball. Since then, his film and television appearances as an actor have been increasingly sporadic. Abdul-Jabbar has, however, continued to use his legendary status as an example.

There may never be another Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. InsideHoops.com names him “The Prototype—a Perfect Basketball Machine.”
Lisa Leslie: Lisa was a notable female figure in the list of famous basketball players. When she began playing basketball in the seventh grade, she was six feet tall.

Lisa is the most agile center in the history of women’s basketball. In most of the game she plays, she is basically unguardable.  A defensive center needs the quickness to follow her out toward the perimeter, but also the strength to counter her inside moves.


It is literally a tall order, and only in recent years has the women’s game produced players who can fill it

She was the first WNBA player to score 3,000 points. She won the regular season, WNBA Championship and All-Star Game MVP awards. She was the first player to win all three of them in the same season. She was the first one to dunk in a WNBA game.

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Larry Bird: During his childhood, he had to struggle with poverty, but poverty was his constant motivator. He is considered as one of the world-class clutch performers of NBA. He had an exceptional ability to anticipate and react to opponents’ strategies. His first coach nicknamed him ‘Kodak’

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He played in the power forward and small forward positions. He rebounded well and was an excellent defender. Due to back problems, he retired as a player from the NBA in 1992. Bird was voted to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1998. He served as head coach of the Indiana Pacers from 1997 to 2000. In 2003, he assumed the role of president of basketball operations for the Pacers, which he currently still holds.

Larry, you only told me one lie. You said there will be another Larry Bird. Larry, there will never, ever be another Larry Bird.— Magic Johnson, as quoted at Bird’s retirement party.

There are players still active today who might soon be considered among the game’s greatest players. They include Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett and Shaquille O’Neal.

Though more recognizable, men aren’t the only famous basketball players. As the WNBA goes up and down in its popularity in the US, several women have stood out as exceptional players. Lisa Leslie, Candace Parker, Sheryl Swoopes and Rebecca Lobo have helped bring attention to women’s basketball and the WNBA. They will undoubtedly go down as some of the most famous basketball players in the history of the sport.

These were just a few of the famous basketball players. There were many other famous players who were instrumental in popularizing basketball. This game has won prestige and popularity in the world due to the epoch-making players of all times.


Basketball Terms and Definitions

AIR BALL: This is an unblocked shot that does not touch the board or the hoop. The shot clock does not get reset once this shot is played, unlike a normal shot.

AIR PASS: A direct pass to a receiver that does not touch the ground.

ASSIST: A pass to a teammate that results in a successful shot immediately after one dribble.

BACKCOURT VIOLATION: The backcourt is the half of the court that belongs to the team that is attacking. If the ball reaches the frontcourt and is then taken to the backcourt it is a violation. Also, if the ball is not taken out of the backcourt within 8 seconds, it is considered a violation in the NBA.

BANK SHOT: A shot that hits the board before going through the basket.

BASE LINE: Also known as the end-line, this is the line that marks the boundary of the court on either end where the basket is present.

BLOCK: To get a hand to a shot which results in the shot not going through the basket.

BOUNCE PASS: A pass that reaches a teammate after bouncing on the ground.

CENTER: This is one of the 3 standard positions that a player can take. It is situated right under the basket so that he can collect rebounds.


DOUBLE DRIBBLE: A violation where the player dribbles the ball using both hands.

DRIBBLE: To bounce the ball while moving.

DUNK: A trademark basketball move where the player jumps high enough to reach above the basket, and then slams the ball into the basket with either one hand, or both hands.

FORWARD: Another of the 3 standard player positions. The forwards primary task is to score as much as possible.

FREE THROW: The chance to score one point, via an unopposed throw from the free throw line. A free throw is the direct result of a foul while the other player is shooting. Depending on the location of the shooter, he will either get 2 free throws, or 3 free throws.

FOUL: The act of gaining an advantage through extremely physical means, or the act of committing one of many violations.

HALFTIME: The period of rest between the two halves of the game.

JUMP SHOT: A shot that is taken while jumping on one spot.

LAYUP: A shot that is taken while the player is running, in order to get as close to the basket as possible.

OFFENSIVE FOUL: A foul committed by a player belonging to the team that is attacking, and is attempting to score.

PASS: To give the ball to a teammate.


PIVOT FOOT: The foot that stays stuck to the ground while the player rotates his body to find a pass.

REBOUND: To collect the ball after a player has taken an unsuccessful shot. The rebound can be collected by the attacking team or the defending team.

SCREEN: To block a defending player from reaching a teammate by standing in front of him. A screen must remain stationary, and if the screen moves it is a violation.

SHOT CLOCK: 24 seconds is the amount of time a team must take to make the ball touch the basket or to score. If the team is unable to do so within 24 seconds, the shot clock is said to run out. .

TECHNICAL FOUL: A serious foul committed by a team, after which the fouled player gets a free throw and the fouled team gets to keep possession whether the player makes the shot or not.

THREE POINTER: A shot that fetches 3 points, because it is taken from outside the three point line.

TRAVEL: To move one’s pivot foot while making a pass.

TURNOVER: A loss of possession by one team.

VIOLATION: Breaking the rules of the game, resulting in a loss of possession.



Interesting Facts about Basketball: The sport has grown a lot over the years and there are many facts about this fast-paced game. Let’s glimpse into some interesting facts about basketball.

First Game of Basketball: The first basketball game was held on 20th January, 1892. The court was half the size of courts used at the NBA League nowadays and only one point was scored in the whole match. In this game, there were nine players in each team.

Basketball Soars to Popularity: To learn this new sport, people from different regions flocked to the YMCA Training school, where the game had originated. Basketball became popular in the USA and Canada in a short span of time.

College Basketball: In the first inter-college match, the School of Agriculture from the University of Minnesota defeated Hamline School of Hamline University.

Women’s Basketball: It started in 1892 at the Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Senda Berenson who learned basketball from Dr. James Naismith made some changes in the rules, so as to make the game suitable for women. The first women’s intercollegiate game was held on 21st March, 1893, between the Berenson’s freshmen and the sophomore class.

Basketball in High Schools: In USA, basketball has always been a popular sport from the beginning itself. Before the television started covering national level matches, school basketball was the most popular sport.


National Basketball Association (NBA): NBA stormed into the world of American and Canadian basketball and everything changed thereafter. This league produced new heroes and grew constantly. Today, NBA is the best league in terms of talent, money and popularity. Started in 1946, it was earlier known as the Basketball Association of America (BAA).

Basketball Goes International: In 1932, the International Basketball Federation was formed by Italy, Greece, Argentina, Portugal, Czechoslovakia, Latvia, Romania and Switzerland. Its acronym is actually FIBA and was taken from French Fédération Internationale de Basketball Amateur. Basketball was introduced at the Berlin Olympics in 1936.

Backboard was Added: The backboard was added to the regular set up of the game because of an interesting reason. The audience who watched the game from the balcony used to interfere in the game by handling the ball. The incorporation of the backboard prevented such activities.

From these humble and simple beginnings, the game of basketball has evolved into an absolutely INCREDIBLE sport. One that’s fun to play, coach and watch! The history of basketball has many notable and memorable events that have occurred over the past 115 years.


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