Portal:Basketball

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Basketball is a limited-contact sport played on a rectangular court. While most often played as a team sport with five players on each side, three-on-three, two-on-two, and one-on-one competitions are also common, the objective is to shoot a basketball (approximately 9.4 inches (24 cm) in diameter) through a hoop 18 inches (46 cm) in diameter and 10 feet (3.048 m) high that is mounted to a backboard at each end of the court. The game was invented in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith.

A team can score a field goal by shooting the ball through the basket being defended by the opposition team during regular play. A field goal scores three points for the shooting team if the player shoots from behind the three-point line, and two points if shot from in front of the line. A team can also score via free throws, which are worth one point, after the other team is assessed with certain fouls, the team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but additional time (overtime) is mandated when the score is tied at the end of regulation. The ball can be advanced on the court by passing it to a teammate, or by bouncing it while walking or running (dribbling), it is a violation to lift, or drag, one's pivot foot without dribbling the ball, to carry it, or to hold the ball with both hands then resume dribbling.

The game has many individual techniques for displaying skill—ball-handling, shooting, passing, dribbling, dunking, shot-blocking, and rebounding. Basketball teams generally have player positions: the tallest and strongest members of a team are called a center or power forward, while slightly shorter and more agile players are called small forward, and the shortest players or those who possess the best ball handling skills are called a point guard or shooting guard. The point guard directs the on court action of the team, implementing the coach's game plan, and managing the execution of offensive and defensive plays (player positioning).

Basketball is one of the world's most popular and widely viewed sports, the National Basketball Association (NBA) is the most significant professional basketball league in the world in terms of popularity, salaries, talent, and level of competition. Outside North America, the top clubs from national leagues qualify to continental championships such as the Euroleague and FIBA Americas League, the FIBA Basketball World Cup and Men's Olympic Basketball Tournament are the major international events of the sport and attract top national teams from around the world. Each continent hosts regional competitions for national teams, like EuroBasket and FIBA AmeriCup.

The FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup and Women's Olympic Basketball Tournament feature top national teams from continental championships. The main North American league is the WNBA (NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship is also popular), whereas strongest European clubs participate in the EuroLeague Women.

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Basketball keys.svg

The key, officially referred to as the free throw lane by the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the restricted area by the international governing body FIBA, and colloquially as the lane or the paint, is an area in a basketball court underneath the basket bounded by the endlines, the foul lanes and other lines which are known as freebody lines, Usually painted (although unpainted on some courts with painted perimeters), it is a critical area on the court, where much of the action takes place in a game. The key, in all games, starting with FIBA's amendments to its rules in 2010 (to be first implemented after the 2010 FIBA World Championship), is rectangular. Prior to 2006, the key in FIBA-sanctioned tournaments (mostly basketball played outside the United States, and almost all international tournaments including the World Championships and the Olympics) was trapezoidal in shape. Both NBA and FIBA keys are 16 feet (4.9 m) wide, while NCAA keys are narrower at 12 feet (3.7 m). The most-commonly enforced rule on the key is the "three seconds rule" in which a player from the offensive team is prohibited from staying on the key for more than three seconds, or else the player's team will lose possession of the ball. Another rule enforced is the lane violation in which players from both teams are prohibited to enter the lane until after the free throw shooter releases the ball from his hands (the shooter is prohibited to enter the key until after the ball hits the rim). An innovation is the introduction of the restricted area arc directly underneath the basket where the defending player cannot force an offensive foul on the opposing player.

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Michael Jordan in 1987
Credit: Steve Lipofsky

Michael Jordan going in for a slam dunk with his signature exposed tongue.

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Yao Ming

Yao Ming (born 1980) is a Chinese professional basketball player who plays for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is currently the tallest player in the NBA, at 7 feet 6 inches (2.29 m). Yao, who was born in Shanghai, China, started playing for the Shanghai Sharks as a teenager, and played on their senior team for five years in the Chinese Basketball Association, winning a championship in his final year. He entered the 2002 NBA Draft, and after negotiating with the CBA and the Sharks to secure his release, he was selected by the Houston Rockets as the first overall pick of the draft, he has since been selected to start for the Western Conference in the NBA All-Star Game in all six of his seasons, and has been named to the All-NBA Team four times. However, the Rockets have not advanced past the first round of the playoffs since he joined the team, and he has missed significant time due to injury in each of the past three seasons. Yao is married to Ye Li, a former player for the China women's national basketball team. He is one of China's most well-known athletes, with sponsorships with several major companies, and he has been the richest celebrity in China for five straight years, he has also co-written an autobiography of his life with Ric Bucher, and his rookie year in the NBA was the subject of a documentary film.

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