Basketball is a relatively young game. Whereas football and baseball developed gradually from games brought from other countries, basketball was invented in the United States late in the nineteenth century by a Dr. Naismith as a game to be played indoors during the winter. The “basket” in basketball refers to the fruit baskets used for goals in the early days of the game. Other societies, such as the Aztecs, have used balls and rings on walls, but the rules were different.
Each team in basketball has five players, a center, two guards, and two forwards. The game is played on a rectangular court with two baskets attached to backboards at each end. The object is to score by throwing a rather large ball into a goal or basket, which is mounted ten feet above the floor. Players may “dribble” or bounce the ball with their hand or pass (throw) it to a teammate, but they may not run or walk with the ball unless they are dribbling. Players may not hit, shove or hold other players to prevent them scoring, but they block passes, throws (“shots”) to the basket, and take the ball away while a player is dribbling.
Play is started by possession of a jump ball in center court. When a player walks with the ball or if the ball goes outside the lines of the court (“out of bounds”), the opposing team puts the ball in play by throwing the ball to a teammate on the court.