In 1891, Dr. James Naismith, a physical education director in Springfield, Massachusetts, invented basketball. He asked a janitor to fasten two peach baskets to the balcony in the gym, one on each side. With an old soccer ball, a set of rules and his students divided into two teams, the game of basketball was born.

The game

In professional basketball, a game has four 12-minute quarters. It is played by two teams, each consisting of five players. The offensive team is the one with the ball. It dribbles the ball down the court in an attempt to shoot it into the opponents’ basket. The defensive team tries to stop its competitors from successfully doing so.

Aim of the game

The main goal in a game of basketball is to score more points than the opponents. By dribbling and passing the ball, a team advances toward the basket and by shooting it scores points. Points can be scored by a field goal, which is worth two or three points, depending on the shot distance, and by a free throw worth one point.

Shoes and clothing

A basketball player’s most important piece of equipment is a comfortable, lightweight, well-supporting pair of shoes with rubber bottoms to prevent slipping on the floor.

Jerseys are usually sleeveless to keep players cool and to facilitate shooting and passing the ball. They have a number on the back.
Shorts are loose-fitting for comfort and ease of movement. And because basketball is not a contact sport, no padding is worn.

The court

Basketball is played on a rectangular surface called a court. It measures 94 feet (29 meters) long and 50 feet (15 meters) wide. A 10-foot-high (3-meter-high) basket is located at each end.

Painted on the court are various lines and circles. Those on each side of the court are the sidelines and those at each end are the end lines. If a player with the ball touches or steps past these lines, play is temporarily stopped and the ball goes to the opposing team.

Basket and ball

The metal hoop to which the basket is attached is almost twice as wide as the ball. The netting is made of nylon rope. The basket is attached to a backboard which is generally made of wood, and small square is often painted on them to help players as they aim their shots. NBA (National Basketball Association) backboards, however, are transparent.

Backboards help to keep the ball from going out of bounds whenever it is shot.
A basketball is round and is made of rubber or leather. Inside is a rubber bag filled with air, to which more air can be added as necessary to keep the ball firm and give it bounce.

The ball measures 30 inches (70 centimeters) around and weighs about 20 ounces (.6 kilogram).
In part two of this three-part review, you will read about various words and terms used in this popular game and what they mean. You will also read about some of the game’s outstanding players.