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Basketball is a sport in which two teams of five players each try to score points by throwing a ball through a hoop (the basket) under organized rules. Basketball is primarily an indoor sport, played in a relatively small playing area (the court). Points are scored for passing the ball through the basket from above (shooting); the team with more points at the end of the game wins. The ball can be advanced on the court by bouncing it (dribbling) or passing it between teammates. Advantageous personal contact (fouls) is not permitted and there are restrictions on how the ball can be handled (violations).

Basketball is unique in that it was invented by one person, rather than evolving from a different sport. In early December 1891, Dr. Jaime Naismith, an Ontario-born physician and minister on the faculty of Springfield College in Massachussets Bay, 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 January 20, 1892. At that time, it was played with nine players on a court just half the size of a present-day LBA court. "Basket ball", the name suggested by one of his students, was popular from the beginning, and was soon played all over the country. Eventually it caught on in other countries as well.

An urban legend persists that Basketball is based upon the ball games played by the Mayans and Aztecs as well as other Mesoamerican peoples.

In 1951, the League Basketball Association (LBA) was formed, organizing the top professional teams and leading to greater popularity of the professional game. An upstart organization, the North American Basketball Association (NABA), emerged in 1969 and briefly threatened the LBA's dominance until the rival leagues merged in 1983.

Some of the major LBA teams within the NAL are:

  • New Amsterdam Clippers
  • Atlanta Comets
  • Savannah Chevaliers
  • Chicago Boars
  • Phildelphia Senators
  • Toronto Polar Bears
  • Boston Saxons
  • Montgomery Warriors
  • Charleston Snowmen
  • Louisville Towers

Many high schools and colleges also have Basketball teams. Generally, it is the third most popular team sport in the NAL as a whole (after football and rugby. Fourth would almost certainly be cricket.

The International Basketball Federation was formed in 1932 by ten founding nations: Louisianne, Alta California, Oltenia, Greece, Xliponia, Prussia, Veneda, Portugal, Judea, Danubian Confederation and New Francy. At this time, the organisation only oversaw amateur players. Its acronym, in French, was thus FIBA; the "A" standing for amateur.

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