Basketball is a team sports game with a ball that has an objective of shooting a basketball through the defender’s hoop a greater amount of times than the opposing team. Each team has five players on the court.

History of Basketball

Basketball was invented in 1891 in the United States of America by a young teacher, native of Canada, Dr. James Naismith. In an attempt to keep his gym class active he nailed two fruit baskets onto elevated balcony railings and asked his students to throw a soccer ball into them. The newly created game only distantly resembled modern basketball. There was no such thing as dribbling, the players passed the ball to each other and tried to score by throwing it into the basket. Whichever team threw more balls won the game.

In a year Dr. Naismith developed the first rules of basketball. The first games according to these rules led to their first modifications.  

Basketball gradually spread throughout Eastern countries: Japan, China, the Philippines, and then to Europe and Latin America. In 10 years at the Olympics in St. Louis the Americans held a demonstration tournament between teams of several cities. In 1946, the Basketball Association of America (BAA) was formed. The first game under its patronage took place on November 1 of the same year in Toronto between Toronto Huskies and New York Knickerbockers. In 1949, the BAA merged with the National Basketball League (NBL) to form the National Basketball Association (NBA). In 1967, the American Basketball Association was formed to threaten the dominance of the NBA, but after 9 years NBA and ABA merged. Today NBA is one of the most powerful and famous professional basketball leagues in the world. 

Federation Internationale de Basketball Amateur was founded in 1932. It included 8 countries: Argentina, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Sweden and Czechoslovakia. The Federation was meant to oversee only amateur players. Eventually, in 1989, professional basketball players were allowed to participate in international tournaments, and the word ‘amateur’ was withdrawn from the name.

The first international basketball game was held in 1904, and in 1936 basketball was included in the program of the summer Olympics.

Basketball rules

Basketball rules changed frequently throughout an extended period of time. The final version of the rules was developed only in 2004 and it is used today.

  1. Basketball is a game in which two teams play against each other. Each basketball team consists of 12 players, 5 of which are field, and the rest is considered to be substitutions.
  2. The player owning the ball must move across the court bouncing it on the floor.  If they stop and hold the ball in any way, the referee signals “carrying” which is considered to be a violation. An occasional touch of the ball by other parts of the body is not considered to be a violation as opposed to deliberate play with a leg or fist.
  3. Basketball match consists of 4 quarters, but the length of each period varies depending on basketball association. For instance, the NBA match is played in 4 quarters 12 minutes each, while according to FIBA rules each quarter lasts for 10 minutes.
  4. Short breaks are provided between quarters, as well as a longer half-time break.
  5. A different number of points can be earned by shooting a ball through the hoop. A one-point shot can be earned when shooting from the foul line after a foul is made. A successful shot is worth two points if it is shot from a short distance (from within the three-point arc). The team earns three points if a shot is taken from beyond the three-point arc.
  6. If the score is tied at the end of regulation play, the teams play multiple five-minute overtime periods until a winner is decided.

Basketball court

A basketball court is a flat rectangular surface with a hard coating. The court flooring should not have any bends, cracks or any other kinds of deformations. A regulation basketball court dimensions should be 28 meters long and 15 meters wide. The ceiling height should be no less than 7 meters, professional basketball court ceiling being 12 meters high or more. Court light should not prevent players from moving and should evenly cover the whole court. 

Basketball matches are only held indoors, but it was not always the case. Until the end of the 60s, it was allowed to organize tournaments outdoors.

Court lines and markings

  1. The borders of the court. Along the perimeter of the court (2 short baselines and 2 long sidelines).
  2. Midcourt line. Separates both halves of the court, parallel to baselines.
  3. The central zone is a circle (radius 1.8 m) exactly in the center of the midcourt.
  4. The three-point arcs are semicircles with the radius 6.75 m painted until they cross baselines.
  5. Free throw lines. Free throw line is 3.6 m long painted parallel to each baseline so that its endpoint is 5.8 m from the baseline inner edge, and its middle is at the imaginary line connecting the middles of both baselines.


Basketball is shaped in the form of a sphere, painted approved shade of orange and has a print of eight panels and black seams. Basketballs have an inflatable inner rubber bladder, generally wrapped in layers of fiber and then covered with a surface made either from leather (traditional), rubber, or a synthetic composite.

Basketball rim and backboard

A basketball hoop is placed 3.05 m high above the court. The diameter of the basketball rim varies between 45 cm and 45.7 cm. The rim itself has to be painted bright orange color. A special net 40-45 cm long is attached to the rim. Rim has padding 15 cm from the backboard.

The backboard to which the rim is affixed has a number of important measures. It has to be 1.8 m wide and 1.05 m high. Modern basketball boards are made of tempered glass.


The makeup of the officiating corps is the following:

  • Referee and umpire;
  • timer;
  • scorer(s);
  • shot-clock operator.

Referee's uniform:

  • grey jersey;
  • black pants;
  • black basketball shoes.

Basketball federations