A brief outline of basketball is it is a game played with a pumped round ball between two teams of five players each on a rectangular court. In professional or minor competition basketball is usually played indoors, but it does not need to be. Each team tries to score by shooting the ball through the other team's goal at each end of the court, above their heads. The goal is a round hoop and net called a basket. The team scoring the most such throws, through field goals or foul shots, wins the game.
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You do not need a lot of equipment to play basketball all you need is a basketball, a court, and one or two basketball rings. The basketball court is in the shape of a rectangle ranging in size from about 29 m by 15 m to about 22 m by 13 m.
At each end of the court is a backboard placed behind the ring, measuring usually about 2 m by 1 m, this is also in a rectangular shape although in some collages in America it is more in a shape of this.
Each normal rectangular backboard is about 2.7 m (about 9 ft) above the court. The baskets are attached firmly to the backboards about 3 m (about 10 ft) above the playing surface. Each basket is about 46 cm (about 18 in) in diameter and consists of a round hoop, or metal ring, from which a wide-meshed white net is hung. The regulation basketball is an inflated, leather- or nylon-covered sphere that weighs from 567 to 624 g (20 to 22 oz.) and has a circumference of about 76-cm (about 30 in).
What is involved
A conventional basketball team, which is directed by a coach, is made up of two forwards, two guards, and a center. The two forwards are usually the better of the shooters and are really quick. In the jump, they both stand between the circle and the opponent's basket. The two guards stand in the backcourt. The center, usually the tallest player on the team who stands inside a circle that has a radius of about 61 cm (about 24 in) and is located midway along a line painted across the center of the court.
The game commences with the tip-off when the referee tosses the ball into the air over the center circle, in which the opposing centers stand face to face. The centers then leap into the air and attempt, with their hands, to tap the ball to their teammates. The team that gets the ball attempts to advance it toward the basket defended by the opposing side, in order to try for a field goal, or basket, scoring two or three points, depending on the player's distance from the basket. A player may advance the ball by passing it to a teammate or by bouncing (dribbling) it continually along the floor while running toward the basket. After a basket is scored, the opposing team puts the ball into play from behind its end line and in turn, tries to move the ball upcourt to score.
How is the game structured in the Olympics
In the Olympics basketball, the Officials consist of a referee, one or two umpires, one or two scorekeepers, and one or two timekeepers. The referee is in charge of the game. The referee and umpires operate on the court to ensure that the game is played by the rules. They both can call any foul or violation they see anywhere on the court.
Usually, one official operates near the offensive team's basket and the other near the division line. The officials reverse positions when the teams move to the other end of the court. If a second umpire is used, he or she stands near a sideline. To call a violation or foul, the official blows a whistle to stop play and the clock. The official explains the violation or foul, usually with a hand or arm signal, and enforces the penalty. The game then resumes.
Because around the world basketball has little changes from one country to the other when the Olympics are played someone has to make the decisions on how it is going to be played. No matter how the rules are decided it would not be much of a change from where ever the basketball players have come from to make it difficult to play.
In the Olympics, the games are set out as one big knock out game to decide who plays in the finals to become number one in the world. All the teams have to try not to get kicked out by losing games while trying to knock the other teams out of the competition. Which leaves the basketball players with an enormous amount of pressure on them.
The basic rules to basketball are fouls, traveling, double dribbling, the three-second violation, foot violation and finally out of bounds. To get a foul in basketball you are usually hit or pushed in some way by the opposing side. To travel in basketball you will either take to many steps before bouncing the ball or after bouncing and stopping you start to bounce the ball again. To double dribble, you must jump in the air with the ball in your hands and land again without passing or shooting the ball. Someone playing offense and staying in the key for longer than three seconds or more causes the three-second violation. Foot violation in exactly what it sounds like, it is a violation made by someone kicking the ball. Last but not least is going over the boundary line with the ball. All of these things are not allowed in basketball and I should know as I play in real competition. For almost all of the rules the referees have made some kind of body signal to tell everyone what just happened without yelling it so everyone can hear. Below you can see some of the following signs the referees make.
When it began in the Olympics
The success of international basketball was greatly advanced by Forrest C. Allen, a Naismith disciple and a former coach at the University of Kansas, who led the movement for inclusion of basketball in the Olympic Games in 1936 and from then onwards.
Details of any Australians who have competed at the Olympics in this event
One Australian basketball player who has not only participated in one Olympics is Andrew Gaze. Andrew Gaze has played with the Melbourne Tigers for his whole carrier in the National Basketball League the NBL. At one stage of his long and successful carrier, he decided to upgrade himself by competing in the National Basketball Association the NBA. This did not really work out for him so he came back to Australia and continued playing with the Melbourne Tigers. To say the most I think a lot of his fans and also his team preferred it this way. Andrew Gaze is more of an offensive player as he is known for his pure shooting skills as he was voted best pure shooter in 1994 yet did not get a single vote for his defense.
Changes that have occurred over time
Changes in the Game. Soon after Naismith invented basketball, changes were adopted to improve the sport. In 1893, metal hoops with net bags attached replaced the wooden baskets. Officials pulled a cord attached to the net to let the ball drop out. Baskets with bottomless nets came into general use about 1913. The backboard was introduced in 1894. That year, larger balls replaced soccer balls.
In 1932, the 10-second rule was adopted. This rule stated that the offensive team must advance the ball across the division line within 10 seconds or lose possession. Once the ball crossed the line, the offensive team lost possession if a player took the ball back over the line. This rule eliminated wasting time with the ball in the backcourt. Until 1937, a center jump was held after every field goal. Beginning in 1937, the defensive team received the ball out-of-bounds after a field goal.
In 1935, a rule was adopted that stopped any offensive player from standing in the free throw lane for more than three seconds. In 1955, the foul lane was widened to 12 feet (3.7 meters) from the previous 6 feet (1.83 meters). These changes resulted in more offensive movement and less rough physical contact near the basket.
Early basketball had little scoring. Players basically used two shots; the lay-up and a two-handed set shot. Hank Luisetti revolutionized the game by popularizing a one-handed shot. Luisetti was a star for Stanford University from 1935 to 1938. His one-handed shot could be released quicker than the two-handed shot and was more difficult to defend.
The one-handed shot was the most popular shot in basketball until Joe Fulks popularized the jump shot. The jump shot became the most popular shot in basketball and greatly increased scoring.
Any other interesting facts
James Naismith, a Canadian, invented basketball in 1891. Naismith was a physical-education instructor at the School for Christian Workers (now Springfield College) in Springfield, Massachusetts. Luther H. Gulick, head of the school's physical education department, asked Naismith to create a team sport that could be played indoors during the winter.
For his new game, Naismith decided to use a soccer ball because it was large enough to catch easily. He then asked the building superintendent for two boxes to use as goals. The superintendent had no boxes but provided two peach baskets. The baskets were attached to a gymnasium balcony railing 10 feet (3 meters) above the floor. The first game took place between members of Naismith's physical-education class in December 1891.
Details of successful international competitors
The most successful international competitors these days and for the last so many years is the American basketball team and for the last three Olympics known as the Dream Team. The American team is not only the best in the world it also the most popular as it is known right around the world. The reason for winning basketball in the Olympic game is because of the great players like Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, John Stockton, Scottie Pippen, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, David Robinson and so many more what do you expect.
Another country that always does well in the Olympics is Yugoslavia. Just the last Olympics they came second in the world losing against America. Yugoslavia might have a little bit more experience then some other countries lets say us because players like Toni Kukoc have played for the NBA with the Chicago Bulls for some of his carrier and been able to go no and have great success. If it weren't for the Americas team, Yugoslavia would be the best team in the world now until proven different.
Details of any Olympic record holders or current Gold medallists
Unlike swimming or running basketball is not a sport that tries to break records, as its only objective is to win the finals. The only true record-holders could be America as they have won in the Olympics in a row for the longest time ever. Longer then any other country has yet proven. To tell you the truth I don't think anyone will ever either.