Basketball is a sport played by two teams of five players on a rectangular court. The objective is to shoot a ball through a hoop 18 inches (46 cm) in diameter and 10 feet (3.0 m) high mounted to a backboard at each end. Basketball is one of the world's most popular and widely viewed sports.

A team can score a field goal by shooting the ball through the basket during regular play. A field goal scores two points for the shooting team if a player is touching or closer to the basket than the three-point line, and three points (known commonly as a 3 pointer or three) if the player is behind the three-point line. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but additional time (overtime) may be issued when the game ends with a draw. The ball can be advanced on the court by bouncing it while walking or running or throwing it to a team mate. It is a violation to move without dribbling the ball, to carry it, or to hold the ball with both hands then resume dribbling.

Violations are called "fouls". A personal foul is penalized, and a free throw is usually awarded to an offensive player if he is fouled while shooting the ball. A technical foul may also be issued when certain infractions occur, most commonly for unsportsmanlike conduct on the part of a player or coach. A technical foul gives the opposing team a free throw, and the opposing team also retains possession of the ball.

As well as many techniques for shooting, passing, dribbling and rebounding, basketball has specialized player positions and offensive and defensive structures (player positioning). Typically, the tallest members of a team will play "center", "power forward" or "small forward" positions, while shorter players or those who possess the best ball handling skills and speed play "point guard" or "shooting guard".

History of basketball

In early December 1891, Canadian American Dr. James Naismith, a physical education professor and instructor at the International Young Men's Christian Association Training School (YMCA) (today, Springfield College) in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA), was trying to keep his gym class active on a rainy day. He sought a vigorous indoor game to keep his students occupied and at proper levels of fitness during the long New England winters. 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 a 10-foot (3.05 m) elevated track. In contrast with modern basketball nets, this peach basket retained its bottom, and balls had to be retrieved manually after each "basket" or point scored; this proved inefficient, however, so the bottom of the basket was removed, allowing the balls to be poked out with a long dowel each time.

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. Dribbling 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.

The peach baskets were used until 1906 when they were finally replaced by metal hoops with backboards. A further change was soon made, so the ball merely passed through. Whenever a person got the ball in the basket, his team would gain a point. Whichever team got the most points won the game. The baskets were originally nailed to the mezzanine balcony of the playing court, but this proved impractical when spectators on the balcony began to interfere with shots. The backboard was introduced to prevent this interference; it had the additional effect of allowing rebound shots. Naismith's handwritten diaries, discovered by his granddaughter in early 2006, indicate that he was nervous about the new game he had invented, which incorporated rules from a children's game called "Duck on a Rock", as many had failed before it. Naismith called the new game "Basket Ball". The first official game was played in the YMCA gymnasium in Albany, New York on January 20, 1892 with nine players. The game ended at 1–0; the shot was made from 25 feet (7.6 m), on a court just half the size of a present-day Streetball or National Basketball Association (NBA) court. By 1897–1898 teams of five became standard.

Professional basketball

Teams abounded throughout the 1920s. There were hundreds of men's professional basketball teams in towns and cities all over the United States, and little organization of the professional game. Players jumped from team to team and teams played in armories and smoky dance halls. Leagues came and went. Barnstorming squads such as the Original Celtics and two all-African American teams, the New York Renaissance Five ("Rens") and the (still existing) Harlem Globetrotters played up to two hundred games a year on their national tours.

In 1946, the Basketball Association of America (BAA) was formed. The first game was played in Toronto, Ontario, Canada between the Toronto Huskies and New York Knickerbockers on November 1, 1946. Three seasons later, in 1949, the BAA merged with the National Basketball League to form the National Basketball Association (NBA). By the 1950s, basketball had become a major college sport, thus paving the way for a growth of interest in professional basketball. In 1959, a basketball hall of fame was founded in Springfield, Massachusetts, site of the first game. Its rosters include the names of great players, coaches, referees and people who have contributed significantly to the development of the game. The hall of fame has people who have accomplished many goals in their career in basketball. An upstart organization, the American Basketball Association, emerged in 1967 and briefly threatened the NBA's dominance until the ABA-NBA merger in 1976. Today the NBA is the top professional basketball league in the world in terms of popularity, salaries, talent, and level of competition.

The NBA has featured many famous players, including George Mikan, the first dominating "big man"; ball-handling wizard Bob Cousy and defensive genius Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics; Wilt Chamberlain, who originally played for the barnstorming Harlem Globetrotters; all-around stars Oscar Robertson and Jerry West; more recent big men Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O'Neal and Karl Malone; playmaker John Stockton; crowd-pleasing forward Julius Erving; European stars Dirk Nowitzki and Dražen Petrović and the three players who many credit with ushering the professional game to its highest level of popularity: Larry Bird, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, and Michael Jordan. In 2001, the NBA formed a developmental league, the NBDL. As of 2012, the league has 16 teams.


The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in North America, and is widely considered to be the premier men's professional basketball league in the world. It has thirty franchised member clubs (29 in the United States and 1 in Canada), and is an active member of USA Basketball (USAB), which is recognized by FIBA (also known as the International Basketball Federation) as the national governing body for basketball in the United States. The NBA is one of the four major North American professional sports leagues. NBA players are the world's best paid sportsmen, by average annual salary per player.

The league was founded in New York City on June 6, 1946, as the Basketball Association of America (BAA). The league adopted the name National Basketball Association on August 3, 1949, after absorbing the rival National Basketball League (NBL). The league's several international as well as individual team offices are directed out of its head offices located in the Olympic Tower at 645 Fifth Avenue in New York City. NBA Entertainment and NBA TV studios are directed out of offices located in Secaucus, New Jersey.

Basketball Association of America

The Basketball Association of America was founded in 1946 by owners of the major ice hockey arenas in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States and Canada. On November 1, 1946, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the Toronto Huskies hosted the New York Knickerbockers at Maple Leaf Gardens, in a game the NBA now regards as the first played in its history. The first basket was made by Ossie Schectman of the Knickerbockers. Although there had been earlier attempts at professional basketball leagues, including the American Basketball League and the NBL, the BAA was the first league to attempt to play primarily in large arenas in major cities. During its early years, the quality of play in the BAA was not significantly better than in competing leagues or among leading independent clubs such as the Harlem Globetrotters. For instance, the 1948 ABL finalist Baltimore Bullets moved to the BAA and won that league's 1948 title, and the 1948 NBL champion Minneapolis Lakers won the 1949 BAA title.
The headquarters of the National Basketball Association in the Olympic Tower at 645 Fifth Avenue, Midtown Manhattan, New York City, USA.

On August 3, 1949, the BAA agreed to absorb the NBL, creating the new National Basketball Association. The new league had seventeen franchises located in a mix of large and small cities, as well as large arenas and smaller gymnasiums and armories. In 1950, the NBA consolidated to eleven franchises, a process that continued until 1953–54, when the league reached its smallest size of eight franchises, all of which are still in the league (the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Royals/Kings, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, and Nationals/76ers). The process of contraction saw the league's smaller-city franchises move to larger cities. The Hawks shifted from "Tri-Cities" (the area now known as the Quad Cities) to Milwaukee (in 1951) and then to St. Louis, Missouri (in 1955); the Royals from Rochester, New York to Cincinnati (in 1957); and the Pistons from Fort Wayne, Indiana to Detroit (in 1957).

Although Japanese-American Wataru Misaka technically broke the NBA color barrier in the 1947–48 season when he played for the New York Knicks, 1950 is recognized as the year the NBA integrated. On April 26, 1950, Harold Hunter signed with the Washington Capitols, becoming the first African American to sign a contract with any NBA team in history. Hunter was cut from the team during training camp, but several African American players did play in the league later that year, including Chuck Cooper with the Celtics, Nathaniel "Sweetwater" Clifton with the Knicks, and Earl Lloyd with the Washington Capitols. During this period, the Minneapolis Lakers, led by center George Mikan, won five NBA Championships and established themselves as the league's first dynasty. To encourage shooting and discourage stalling, the league introduced the 24-second shot clock in 1954. If a team does not attempt to score a field goal (or the ball fails to make contact with the rim) within 24 seconds of obtaining the ball, play is stopped and the ball given to its opponent.

List of current NBA team rosters:

Eastern Conference

·         Atlantic Division
o   Boston Celtics
o   Brooklyn Nets
o   New York Knicks
o   Philadelphia 76ers
o   Toronto Raptors

·         Central Division
o   Chicago Bulls
o   Cleveland Cavaliers
o   Detroit Pistons
o   Indiana Pacers
o   Milwaukee Bucks

·         Southeast Division
o   Atlanta Hawks
o   Charlotte Bobcats
o   Miami Heat
o   Orlando Magic
o   Washington Wizards

Western Conference

·         Southwest Division
o   Dallas Mavericks
o   Houston Rockets
o   Memphis Grizzlies
o   New Orleans Pelicans
o   San Antonio Spurs

·         Northwest Division
o   Denver Nuggets
o   Minnesota Timberwolves
o   Portland Trail Blazers
o   Oklahoma City Thunder
o   Utah Jazz

·         Pacific Division
o   Golden State Warriors
o   Los Angeles Clippers
o   Los Angeles Lakers
o   Phoenix Suns
o   Sacramento Kings

The 50 Greatest Players in National Basketball Association History

The 50 Greatest Players in National Basketball Association History (also referred to as NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team or NBA's Top 50) were chosen in 1996 to honor the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the National Basketball Association (NBA). These fifty players were selected through a vote by a panel of media members, former players and coaches, and current and former general managers. In addition, the top ten head coaches and top ten single-season teams in NBA history were selected by media members as part of the celebration. The fifty players had to have played at least a portion of their careers in the NBA and were selected irrespective of position played.

The list was announced by NBA commissioner David Stern on October 29, 1996, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City, the former site of the Commodore Hotel, where the original NBA charter was signed on June 6, 1946. The announcement marked the beginning of a season-long celebration of the league's anniversary. Forty-seven of the fifty players were later assembled in Cleveland, Ohio, during the halftime ceremony of the 1997 All-Star Game. Three players were absent: Pete Maravich, who had died in 1988, at forty; Shaquille O'Neal, who was recovering from a knee injury; and Jerry West, who was scheduled to have surgery for an ear infection and could not fly. At the time of the announcement, eleven players were active. O'Neal was the last to be active in the NBA, retiring at the end of the 2010–11 season.