Basketball was invented in 1891 by James Naismith, a physical education teacher in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA. Naismith was looking for a game that students could play indoors during the winter, and after nailing a peach basket up at each end of the gym, basketball was born. Since then, basketball has become a firm favourite in the United States, and popularity has been growing rapidly worldwide.
Organised games of basketball include five players on the court for each team, and at least one referee, who has the task of calling fouls. Teams score points by shooting the ball in the basket, which is usually worth two points. Players who are fouled are given free throws, worth one point each. Free throws are taken from a specific distance, and the opposing players are not allowed to defend the shot. Many leagues also award three points when a shot is taken from a long distance away from the basket. In addition to shooting, other skills displayed include passing, rebounding missed shots, and blocking attempted shots.
Organised basketball can be found at every level of ability in the States, from elementary students playing in park district leagues, to high school and college students playingContinued page 2/8