Basketball is a athletic sport, usually played on an indoor court in which two competing teams of five layers each attempt to score by throwing an inflated ball so that it descends through one of two baskets suspended, at each end of the court, above their heads. The team scoring the most such throws, through field goals or foul shots, wins the game. Because of its continuous action and frequent scoring, basketball is one of the most popular spectator as well as participant sports in the world. Basketball, extremely popular around the world, is a court game played by two teams of five players each. The object is to put a ball through a hoop, or basket, and thus score more points than the opposing team.
Although basketball can be played outdoors, it was invented to serve as an exciting indoor exercise for the winter months in a northern climate. It quickly became a spectator sport, however, and now attracts large audiences to gymnasiums and arenas, especially in the United States, South America, and Europe.The sport is played on the amateur level by high schools, colleges, other groups, and, since 1936, by national teams in the Olympic Games. It also is played by professional athletes, notably in the United States and Europe. The foremost championships contended for are those of the National Basketball Association (U.S. professionals), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (U.S. colleges), and the Olympic Games.
Professional, college, and high school games are similar except in length and in range of basic skills. Professional games are 48 minutes long, divided into quarters; college games, 40 minutes, played in halves; and high school games, 32 minutes, broken into quarters. If a game is tied at the end of regulation time, and overtime (3 to 5 minutes, depending on the level of competition) is played.Although no set of dimensions for a basketball court is universally accepted, the recommended size is 94 ft (28.65 m) long and 50 ft (15.24 m) wide. Two...