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Basketball is a ball sport in which two teams of five players each try to score points by throwing a ball through a hoop. It is primarily an indoor sport, played in a relatively small playing area, called the court. The speed and grace of the game, combined with the close proximity of the spectators to the action, make basketball an exciting spectator sport. It is one of the most popular sports in the United States, and is also popular in other parts of the world, including South America, Europe, and Asia. Professional basketball players are characterized by extreme height, which is a significant advantage. Basketball is unusual in that it was invented by one man, rather than evolving from a different sport. In 1891, Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian minister on the faculty of a college for YMCA professionals in Springfield, Massachusetts, sought a vigorous indoor game to keep young men occupied during the long New England winters. Legend has it that, after rejecting other ideas as either too rough or poorly suited to walled-in gymnasiums, he wrote the basic rules, and nailed a peach basket onto the gym wall. The first official game was played in the YMCA gymnasium on January 20 1892. "Basket ball", the name suggested by one of his students, was popular from the beginning, and with its early adherents being dispatched to YMCAs throughout the United States, the game was soon played all over the country. Interestingly, while the YMCA was responsible for initially developing and spreading the game, within a decade, it discouraged the new sport, as rough play and rowdy crowds began to detract from the YMCA's primary mission. Other amateur sports clubs, colleges, and professional clubs quickly filled the void. In the years before World War I, the Amateur Athletic Union and the Intercollegiate Athletic Association (forerunner of the NCAA) vied for control over the rules of the game. Basketball was originally played with a soccer ball. The first balls made specially for basketball were brown, and it was only in the late 1950s that Tony Hinkle, searching for a ball that would be more visible to players and spectators alike, introduced the orange ball that is now in common use. The object of the game is to outscore one's opponents by throwing the ball through the opponents' basket from above while preventing the opponents from doing so on their own. An attempt to score in this way is called a shot. Two points are scored for a successful shot, three points for a successful long-range, and one point for each successful free throw.

At the professional level, games are played in four quarters of 10 (international) or 12 minutes (NBA) each. Games take longer than this allotted game time. The clock stops when the ball is not in play; for example, when it goes out of bounds or a foul is committed. Fifteen minutes are allotted for a half-time break, and two minutes are allowed at the other breaks. At lower levels, various time regulations exist. Time-outs and substitutions are permitted during a game. A substitution swaps one player on the court for another on the team bench. A time-out is a clock stoppage requested by the coach of either team, in which he can discuss strategy. A time-out lasts one minute in international basketball and either 100 seconds, 60 seconds or 20 seconds in NBA basketball. Time-outs are limited: in international basketball, 2 time-outs are allowed in the first two periods, 3 in the last two periods, and 1 in each extra period, while in NBA basketball, six 100/60-second time-outs are allowed in the entire game, of which a maximum of three can be in the last quarter. Additionally, 3 100 or 60-second time-outs are allowed in each extra period. The only essential equipment in basketball is the court, which consists of two baskets with backboards, and a basketball. At competition level, clocks are necessary to regulate game time. Professional and international games often call for more equipment to assist in administration and officiating. This can include shot clocks, scorer's tables, and whistle-operated stop-clock systems. The ball may be advanced toward the basket by being shot, passed, thrown, tapped, rolled or dribbled. Passing is the act of throwing the ball from player to player. Dribbling is the act of running while continuously bouncing the ball. The ball cannot be kicked or struck with the fist, and must stay within the playing court. Running with the ball without bouncing it, traveling, is illegal. Double dribbling, dribbling with two hands or starting a second dribble after



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