An Overview Of Basketball As A Sport

Charlotte Miller

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One of the most played team sports in the world, it’s enjoyed both by players and spectators alike. It’s a team sport, and in the professional arena, two teams of five players compete against each other. One team opposes the other on a special basketball court, with two hoops attached to a high backboard on each end of the court. The goal is to score more points than the enemy team, by shooting the enemy’s hoop with a ball.

While many are briefly acquainted with the sport, perhaps playing it in school or any other recreational setting, basketball is one of the biggest games out there, with thousands of athletes competing in different leagues for the Champion title. The best basketball players are some of the most famous people in a country, especially in the United States, where the sport is bigger than anywhere else around the globe.

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So How Is It Played?

We described the general image with which it’s not very hard to imagine what it’s like, but there are many nuances to this sport. For example, depending on where you score a goal from (measured by areas in the court), you may get three or two points for a successful one. Because the goal is to outscore the opponent, it’s critically important that in a game you not only score as much as possible but also prevent your enemy from doing so.

That’s why basketball games are split into offensive action and defensive action. When your team is attacking, its goal is to let one of your players get to a good shooting position, or as close as possible to the hoop to secure their chances of success. When defending from an enemy attack, the opposite applies. The team must manage to prevent the enemy from getting close to your backboard and to block their shots if they do throw the ball.

On a technical note, there are certain rules that apply in the game. For example, a player can’t just hold the ball and run. He has to continually bounce it off the floor, otherwise, he will violate the rule. The five-second rule in the NBA (more on it later) states that after receiving the ball, the receiver can only hold it for five seconds. After that, he must either pass it or start dribbling and moving it. You also can’t move more than three steps without dribbling.

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Who Are The Players

By its nature, the game favors tall athletes. As there are five different players, each of them occupies a certain position. The tallest one in the center, owing to its name being the center of the formation, also known as the Five (usually the biggest guy on the team). He uses his main strength to his advantage. It’s his height that allows him to score on the offense, and protect the basket itself. The main advantage is usually the weakness, as the tallest athletes are usually not the strongest or quickest.

The second tallest player usually occupies the fourth role. He is just slightly less tall than the center, and thus a bit more agile. They are overall similar to the centers; they share similar responsibilities and are the main drivers of a potential rebound.

The most versatile position is the small forward (the Three). They are not as tall as the Five and Four and are usually smaller in frame and size, thus small forward. They are the ones that participate in all activities on the court, as they are perhaps the Jack of All Trades of basketball.

The shooting guard, simply known as the Two, is one of the most important positions. His role is to steal the ball when defending and to shoot when on the offense. They are by far the most athletic players on the field, outplaying anyone with their swiftness and endurance. 

And lastly, the First Position is the Point Guard. They are essentially the captain of the team, tasked with controlling the court and implementing the team’s plan into action. He is the coach on the court, and he is the one who usually passes the ball to the player who is set to score it.

History and Modern Times Basketball

My pen pal from Egypt recently wrote an excellent piece on the history of the sport. It’s brief and quite informative, so I suggest giving it a look. With a few clicks in your browser, you can translate the whole piece and enjoy it. Check out the post on

If you are more interested in the latest basketball news, there are dozens of sports magazines and websites dedicated almost exclusively to this wonderful competitive game. You can check my friend’s blog, or head to any of the major newspapers to get your fix. We recommend starting with ESPN.