The Basics of Basketball

Basketball is a team sport that has become one of the world’s most popular and widely watched sports. The game is played on a rectangular court with a hoop at each end, and players move the ball down the court toward the basket by passing or dribbling. The team with the ball is called the offense, while the other team is known as the defense. The defense tries to steal passes, contest shots, and garner rebounds to help their team gain possession of the ball. The goal is to score more points than the opposition. Baskets made inside the three-point line are worth two points, while free throws are worth one point.

The game of basketball has a variety of rules that must be followed in order to avoid penalties. There are several common violations, including double dribbling and traveling. When a player is found to have committed one of these, they are stopped and the other team given the ball. Teams can make unlimited substitutions throughout a game.

There are a number of different ways to play basketball, and the game can be enjoyed by people from all walks of life. Some play for fun and socialize with friends, while others compete at a professional level or participate in national leagues or competitions. Many schools and community centers offer basketball programs, and it is possible to join a local team or even start your own.

Most basketballs are made of a durable synthetic composite material. They are inflated with either air or carbon dioxide and feature a surface that can be smooth (traditionally leather) or textured. Most have an orangish surface with black ribs and may include a logo. There are many variations in the shape and color of basketballs, but all share similar features.

While a game of basketball can be played by as few as two people, official games are typically played with 10 players. Most games are divided into four quarters or two halves, with the winner determined by which team has the most points at the end of the contest.

Invented by Canadian-American gym teacher James Naismith in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts, the game of basketball has grown to become one of the world’s most popular sports. The most famous competitions are the National Basketball Association (NBA) in North America and the FIBA World Cup and Men’s Olympic Basketball Tournament in Europe.

Basketball can be a great way to get exercise and learn the value of working together as a team. It also teaches players to take control of their lives and become responsible for their own actions, which can be valuable lessons in any walk of life. Like any other sport, however, it can put stress on the body and injuries are not uncommon. It is important to warm up and stretch before playing, and to hydrate regularly. If you are new to the sport, it is recommended that you check with your doctor before starting.