The Sport of Giants: Basketball

The loud squeak of sneakers on the hardwood floor of a huge gym. Running, jumping bodies glistening with sweat under florescent lights. A stark white hoop makes a swish sound as an orange ball drops through it. Somewhere else, a simpler hoop hangs over a black top, the players beneath running by the light of the sun. In both cases, the players are competing in the sport of basketball, a sport that has been enjoyed since it’s creation in 1891 by Canadian Dr. James Naismith. In this essay, I will describe the equipment, players, rules and techniques of basketball.

The equipment needed to play basketball is minimal, only including clothing and balls. The correct clothing includes loose-fitting shorts, a T-shirt and basketball shoes. Balls, of course, are very important. They come in different sizes, usually size 7, but also size 6, primarily used in women’s basketball, and size 5, which is used in underage competitions. The balls can be made of leather, rubber, or synthetic leather. Without the correct equipment, players wouldn’t be able to do their jobs effectively.
There are only five players on a basketball team, all of which must be able to move quickly in the game. The point guard is probably the most important player, having to be a good shooter and dribbler, set up offensive plays, and be able to share the ball yet score himself. The shooting guard must be fast and a good long-distance shooter. The power forward has to pick up offensive and defensive rebounds, and is usually involved
in the physical parts of the game, like defense. A small forward’s job is to be able to shoot from the outside and to make cuts to the basket. The center must have the ability to score from close range while having close contact with the opposition’s defense. A center is also the last line of defense against opponents going towards the basket, so they must be able to block shots and be a great rebounder. These requirements make the center the most physical of a team’s players. Each of these players must be able to memorize the rules of the game.
Basketball is a sport played by two teams of 10 or 12 players and each game lasts for 40 or 48 minutes, depending on which association it is. The total time of a game is divided between four quarters and a 15-minute halftime break. Five players make up a team, and the others stand as substitutes. Each basket, or goal, scores two points, three if shot from behind a line about 24 ft from the basket. The basket itself is 18 in. in diameter, and hangs 10 ft above the floor. If a ball is not shot within 24 seconds of one team getting it, the other team gets it. A personal foul, such as illegal body contact, can result in the opposing team being given the ball or an opposing player being awarded free throws at the basket. If a player receives five fouls, they are ejected from the game. Coaches can also be punished for unsportsmanlike conduct. The many different defensive and offensive techniques are just as important as the rules.

The numerous defensive and offensive techniques allow for great variety in basketball, creating the thrill of the sport. In offense, there is the basic dribble, overhead pass, right-hand layup, and jump shot, all of which are very commonly used moves. A more complicated move is the shot fake, dribble, and jump shot, a set of moves used to disorient an opponent that is guarding you closely and make a basket. Screening, or blocking an opposing player from getting near one of your teammates, is another common move. In defense, a player’s primary goal is to block the opposition from either shooting or receiving the ball. In several circumstances, this blocking, especially blocking a receiver, the way a player must guard the opposing player often looks like a dance. A fast-paced, thrilling dance that may make or break a team’s chance to win, but a dance nonetheless.

Whether on a black top or in a gym, basketball is a fast-paced sport with agile players. I have covered the rules, equipment, players, and techniques of basketball. It is amazing that a sport with such few players, minimal equipment, and short games is just as thrilling as other sports.





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