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Basketball – facts for kids, the history of basketball

Basketball is the most popular spectator sport in the United States. Attendance at high school, college, professional, and various amateur and semi-professional games exceeds 150,000,000 every year. College and professional games are also watched by many millions on television. The game is played on a rectangular court no more than 94 feet long and 50 feet wide. Although many outdoor playgrounds have basketball courts, most regulation games are played indoors. At each end of the court a bottomless ropelike basket is suspended from a metal ring 10 feet above the floor, attached to a board set parallel to the back line.

History of Basketball – facts for kids about match

Basketball – facts for kids, the history of basketball

A player about to score a jump shot in a college basketball match at Madison Square Garden, New York City, in 1970 (click to increase)

The match is played by two teams of five men each who maneuver a round inflated ball, about 30 inches in circumference, so as to toss it through the opponents' basket. The ball may be passed from one man to another, or it may be dribbled, or bounced, along the floor by any single player. Running or walking with the ball is illegal. A player dribbling the ball may not charge into an opposing player, and his opponents may not impede his progress by any form of personal contact. When there is personal contact, the referee calls a foul on the offending player. A player who commits five personal fouls (six in professional play) must leave the game permanently.

In most cases a player who is fouled is given one or two free shots at the opponents' basket from a line 15 feet in front of the backboard. His team is awarded one point for each foul shot through the basket. Field goals - legal shots through the basket during the course of play - earn two points. Professional basketball games consist of four 12-minute quarters. College games have 20-minute halves.

Basketball has a big history. The game was invented by James A. Naismith, a Y.M.C.A. official, and first played at Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1891. It was almost exclusively an American game until 1936, when it was introduced to the Berlin Olympics.

Since then it - has gained enormously in popularity and is now widely played in more than 100 countries. Spectator interest in the United States centers on college and professional play. Almost every four-year college has a basketball team. The regular college season lasts through the fall and closes with two major post-season tournaments: the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament and the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The team that wins the NCAA tournament is usually considered the national champion. There have been professional basketball teams since the late 1890's. The most famous of these early teams was the 'Original Celtics', who dominated the game during the 192()'s. Professional basketball was badly disorganized, however, until 1949, when the National Basketball Association (NBA) was formed. Professional basketball has become increasingly popular since the introduction of the 24-second rule, which requires a team to attempt a shot at the basket within 24 seconds after they receive possession of the ball. Because of the height of the basket, tall players have tended to dominate the game. There has always been a place, however, for smaller men who can move the ball swiftly and set up plays. There are also many women's basketball teams.

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