What is Basketball?


Basketball is a sport where two teams compete with an objective of shooting a ball into a hoop. The court is rectangular and on each side there is a hoop. Players move the ball up the court by bouncing it while walking or running. They score two points for shooting the ball into the hoop, or three if they shoot it from behind the three point line. There are 5 players at a time on a basketball court, with around 7 to 10 on the bench.


basketball history

Basketball was created by James Naismith in Springfield Massachusetts during the year 1891. Naismith was attempting to create an indoor game that offered fewer injuries than football. He invented a 9-on-9 game that involved shooting a ball into a peach basket. The game grew extremely rapidly and in 1896, the first ever collegiate 5-on-5 game was played between Iowa and the University of Chicago. By 1898, professional leagues began forming, and basketball became one of the premier American sports.

Playing Surface

basketball court

The basketball playing surface is made of hardwood. Hard maple flooring is used in most NBA stadiums and premier NCAA arenas. It is a dense wood with fine fibers, which makes it resistant to splintering. This wood has tightly packed grains and yields a smooth surface allowing no room for dirt and grime to hide. Because of this, hard maple courts are extremely durable and do not require much maintenance.


basketball equipment

The basketball uniform consists of a team's jersey, shorts, and appropriate shoes. The two teams wear different colors so the referee is able to differentiate the players and teams. Other important equipment includes sweat bands, arm sleeves, mouth guards, and compression tights.


Basketball Gameplay

The objective of the game of basketball is to get the ball through the hoop more times than the opposing team. Five athletes from each team play on the court at once. The three essential components of the game are dribbling, passing, and shooting. A typical basket will be worth two points, unless the player is behind the three point line, which would be worth three points. Typically, there are four quarters in a game (NCAA plays by halves), each lasting around 12 minutes. The team with more points after four quarters will be the winners.

Positions and Roles

Basketball positions

There are five positions in basketball, and each one is fit for a different type of player.

The point guard plays an important role in the team's tempo and execution, and requires someone with a very high basketball IQ. This player is often very quick and has great ball handling and communication skills.

The shooting guard is often reserved for the team's best outside shooters.

The small forward is typically the most versatile athlete on the court. This player needs to be strong and scrappy enough to haul in rebounds, however they must have the agility to avoid defenders and get to the rim.

The power forward plays a role in fighting for rebounds and it requires a blend of strength and size.

The center is usually the tallest player on the team, and can always be found down low getting rebounds and blocking shots. These five positions work together to make a successful team.

Rules and Regulations

Basketball Rules and Regulations

There are some rules that need to be followed in any basketball game. There are rules for both defenders and players who are on offense. On the offensive side, the player must dribble the ball while moving with both feet. Once the player has stopped dribbling, he or she may not start another dribble. The ball must always stay in bounds, and once the offensive team crosses half court, the ball may not go back into the backcourt.

On the defensive side, the main rule is that the defensive player must not foul. A foul can be described as gaining unfair advantages through physical contact. These rules vary slightly depending on level of play, but are pretty similar for the most part.

A basketball game will be interrupted when a player commits a violation. Common violations include double dribbling, traveling, or a 3-second paint violation.

There are three types of fouls in basketball. A personal foul is most common, as it is any type of physical contact that is not acceptable in the game. It can be divided into two categories, defensive and offensive. A flagrant foul is when the illegal physical contact becomes more violent, obvious, unnecessary, or excessive. Hitting, punching, or shoving a player can result in a flagrant foul. Technical foul is a foul that is an example of unsportsmanlike conduct from a player or coach. Releasing anger in a reckless matter, like throwing a ball or using improper language can result in a technical foul.

Referees and Officials

Basketball Referees and Officials

At the high school level and higher, there are three refs required in a game. One of these three is assigned as a crew chief of the game, meaning they have the final say in all calls. Refs wear a uniform consisting of black and white striped shirts, and their job is to maintain order and enforce all rules on the court. A ref will call violations such as traveling, double dribble, or committing of a foul along with any other rule violation. They are also responsible for allowing timeouts and substitutions. Overall, it is almost impossible to have a well organized game without referees.

Lingo and Terminology

Basketball Lingo and Terminology

Before you take the court for the first time, there are some terms that you should be aware of so you do not get confused on the court. They may sound a bit confusing at first, but as you continue to play in both practice and live games, you will learn more and more and be talking like a pro in no time!

  • Bank Shot: Shot that goes off the backboard then into the hoop.
  • Flopping: When a player over-exaggerates a foul to try and get the call in his or her favor.
  • Dagger: A shot that puts winning the game out of reach, often in the final moments of the game.
  • Charity Stripe: Another name for the foul line.
  • Air Ball: When a shot completely misses the rim and does not come in contact with anything.


Basketball Coaching

Coaching basketball is an extremely important role. Even though they are not playing, they are the ones calling the shots and making sure that the team performs to their highest potential. Especially at the youth level, it can be one of the most important and exciting jobs in the world, as you are teaching habits that will stick with kids for the rest of their lives.

Skills and Techniques

Basketball Skills and Techniques

In order to be a good basketball player, there are skills and techniques that you will need to develop. To put it simply, there are five basic skills that a player should possess. Those skills are dribbling, shooting, running, passing, and jumping/rebounding.

  • Dribbling requires proper ball-handling technique to be able to avoid defenders.
  • A proper shot in basketball will require precise aiming, arm extension, and lift from the legs.
  • The ability to pass a ball to a teammate who is open can sometimes be the difference of scoring and not scoring.
  • Jumping is necessary in order to properly time rebounds or block shots.

If someone can perform all 5 of the skills at an acceptable or skilled level, he or she will be considered a great basketball player.


Basketball Strategy

Good strategy is a key to success when playing a basketball game. While basketball may appear chaotic when watching on TV, it is actually very strategic. There are both defensive and offensive strategies that teams will use to find success. Zone defense is a strategy where each player will have a specific area of the court that they are responsible for defending. Man-to-man defense is when each player is assigned to cover a specific offensive player.

On the offensive side, strategies include designed plays for the team. The key to any good strategy on offense is passing, causing the team to move around and make more adjustments. Plays such as the pick-and-roll are vital for an offense to score points and hopefully win the game.


basketball drills

A basketball player will not find much success unless he or she is practicing the necessary skills to develop his or her game. Drills will help you take the element of surprise out and put the element of reaction in during an in-game situation. Whether you want to benefit your passing, shooting, dribbling, or rebounding, there is a drill for just about everything. Even the most talented players will not excel if they don't perform drills, so it is important for every athlete to take part no matter what the skill level.

Basketball is a sport in which you need to be very strong and athletic. Therefore, it is important to exercise and follow a strict workout routine. Basketball requires quickness, lateral movement, and explosive power. Even the most talented players will struggle if they do not have those traits. Exercises that promote lateral movement include lateral lunges and lateral bounds, both of which will drastically strengthen your legs as well. Squatting will also help with your explosive power, and there are many types of squats you can perform. Other workouts such as pull ups, dumbbell press, and sprints will do a great job translating onto the court.

Olympic Basketball

Olympic Basketball

Basketball became an Olympic sport in 1936 Women's basketball made their debut at the 1976 games in Montreal. The USA has dominated international basketball, as they won every title up to 1972, finally losing to the Soviet Union in 1972. In 1992, NBA players were allowed to represent their countries for the first time. This led to the USA organizing the "Dream Team" which is considered to this day to be the greatest basketball team ever formed.

Youth Sports Basketball

Youth Sports Basketball

Youth sport basketball is a great way to get involved in the sport. There are programs all over the country that offer low-level and high-level basketball training, teams, and competitions. The AAU level is an extremely popular club for players to stay in shape during the summer. It will help you in recruiting, and it is a great way to meet new people as you develop your game. Joining a basketball club or camp is a great way to spend your free time.

College Basketball

college basketball

College basketball is an extremely exciting event. The NCAA watches over 350 Division 1 College Basketball teams as they play a season in the winter time. A lot of these players are on scholarships, and are playing under world class coaches. For some, it is a stepping stone for them to develop their skills as they prepare for the NBA. For others, it is just a source of education at a lower cost since they are on scholarships. Every March is the NCAA Basketball Tournament where the whole country watches an exciting roller coaster tournament featuring the 68 best teams in the country.

Basketball Coaches

basketball coaches

The basketball coach comes up with drills, plays, and he gives his team support whenever they might need it. They play an extremely large role and are vital to a team's success. Below are three coaches who found great success in the NBA.

  • Phil Jackson: Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers
  • Greg Poppovich: San Antonio Spurs
  • Doc Rivers: Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers

Basketball Players

Basketball Players

Basketball players are some of the most athletically gifted humans on the planet. A successful basketball player is tall, strong, and agile. The average player height in the 2017-2018 season was 6 foot 7 inches. For comparison, the average American male is 5 foot 9 ½ inches. These players also weigh in at around 215 pounds, and have very little body fat percentages. Point guards are typically the smallest and most athletic players, as they are known for the ball handling and passing ability. The center is normally the tallest and strongest player, known for scoring in the paint and out-muscling opponents for rebounds. Below are some players who are well known for their skill and playing ability.

  • Lebron James: Los Angeles Lakers
  • Michael Jordan: Chicago Bulls
  • Kobe Bryant: Los Angeles Lakers
  • Larry Bird: Boston Celtics
  • Magic Johnson: Los Angeles Lakers
  • Shaquille O'neal: Los Angeles Lakers
  • Tim Duncan: San Antonio Spurs
  • Steph Curry: Golden State Warriors

Basketball Leagues

Basketball Leagues

A basketball league is an organized group of teams who play each other throughout a specific time frame. There are amatuer, collegiate, and professional leagues. The highest league is the NBA, where the best players in the world face off against each other. The NCAA is for college players, and is nationally televised quite often as it showcases some of the greatest young players in the country. Below is a list of some professional basketball leagues that are extremely popular.

National Basketball AssociationUSA/CanadaPro
Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA)United StatesPro
Euro LeagueEuropePro

Basketball Teams

basketball nba team

A full NBA basketball team will have 17 players. Along with the players, there is also an owner, general manager, coaches, trainers, and physicians. The NBA consists of 30 teams all over North America. Below is a chart showing the teams in their respective conferences.

Boston CelticsChicago BullsAtlanta HawksDenver NuggetsGolden State WarriorsDallas Mavericks
New York KnicksCleveland CavaliersCharlotte HornetsMinnesota TimberwolvesLos Angeles ClippersHouston Rockets
Brooklyn NetsDetroit PistonsMiami HeatOklahoma City ThunderLos Angeles LakersMemphis Grizzlies
Philadelphia 76ersIndiana PacersOrlando MagicPortland Trail BlazersPhoenix SunsNew Orleans Pelicans
Toronto RaptorsMilwaukee BucksWashington WizardsUtah JazzSacramento KingsSan Antonio Spurs

Basketball Events

Basketball Events

A basketball game is an event where fans will gather in an arena or gym to watch the two teams face off against each other. There will be snacks, drinks, and sometimes merchandise (depending on the level of play). A high school basketball game will often have a few hundred fans watching the games. A college game for a strong Division 1 program will have around 8,000 fans play, and can sometimes be upwards of 20,000 depending on the venue. NBA games are the largest scale events for basketball. They are held in beautiful arenas, and hold up to 20,000 fans.

Basketball Tournaments

Basketball Tournaments

A basketball tournament is a great organized series of games where at the end one team emerges victorious. There are a couple of different formats in basketball tournaments that are used. Perhaps the most popular is single elimination. The simplicity is what makes the single elimination appealing, as losers are eliminated and winners advance to the next round. Double elimination is a format in which a team is not eliminated until they lose twice. Another popular format is round robin, in which every team plays each other an equal amount of times. This is a great format when there are not a lot of teams.

The most famous tournament in basketball is the NCAA Tournament every March. Millions of people watch it and it often results in some of the most exciting sport moments of the year.

Basketball Brands

Basketball Brands

Brands such as Nike, Spalding, Jordan, and Adidas are all among the most popular sports brands in the world. These brands are also well known for their great basketball products. Nike, Jordan, and Adidas all make great shoes. Each company sponsors players and makes signature shoes for them. Spalding is responsible for creating real official NBA game balls, as they are the official supplier.

Basketball Books

Basketball Books

If you're a basketball fan, you should spend some time reading books that are related to the sport. There are numerous books that talk about some of the specific moments in basketball history. One thing that fans love is reading books that were co-written by a player or coach. Below are some popular basketball related backs.

  • Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success by Phil Jackson
  • Tales From The Kentucky Wildcats Locker Room by Denny Trease
  • Bleeding Orange by Jim Boeheim, Jack McCallum
  • Wooden: A Coach's Life by Seth Davis
  • Fab Five by Mitch Albon
  • The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons

Basketball Websites

basketball websites

There are a ton of different websites all over the internet where you can find great basketball content. If you want to look at stats, then basketballreference.com is a great tool to explore the stats of just about any player. ESPN.com and NBA.com are also great websites that will have scores and articles to keep you updated in what is going on in the basketball world.


What Is Basketball?

Basketball is a high energy team sport that relies on speed, agility and hand-eye coordination. In basic terms, the game is a competition between two teams to score the most baskets. It can be very challenging to score points when the other team is standing between you and the basket. Although the game may seem simple as a viewer, there are actually many factors that play into a successful game of basketball, including proper uniform, fouls, positions and gameplay, to name a few. Basketball is especially popular in the U.S.A., along with football, hockey, and baseball.

What are the main rules of basketball?

The player must bounce or dribble the ball while moving. The player must only take one turn in dribbling. The ball must always stay in bounds

Who Invented Basketball?

James Naismith invented basketball in the year of 1891. The first game was held in December of that year, and it was a 9 on 9 game, and the players used a soccer ball, not a basketball. Over the years, the game of basketball progressed to what we see today.

How do I sign up to play basketball?

If you are interested in playing basketball, you can search online and see what kind of leagues are being organized in your town or area. Usually there is a fee to join the league but it is not very pricey. You can either join a team randomly or organize a team yourself.