Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five active players each try to score points against one another by propelling a ball through a 10 foot high hoop. Points are scored by shooting the ball through the basket above; 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.
Playing basketball is a great way to get aerobic activity. It is also a good way to spend time with friends, and have a little healthy competition. Drop by your local high school or outdoor court to see if they have recreational games that you can join.
Games are played in four quarters of 10 or 12 minutes. College games use two 20 minute halves while most high school games use eight minute quarters. Fifteen minutes are allowed for a half-time break, and two minutes are allowed at the other breaks, and overtime periods are five minutes long. Teams exchange baskets for the second half.
Five players from each team (out of a twelve player roster) may be on the court at a time. Substitutions are unlimited but can only be done when play is stopped. Teams also have a coach, who oversees the development and strategies of the team, and other team personnel such as assistant coaches, managers, statisticians, doctors and trainers.
For both men’s and women’s teams, a standard uniform consists of a pair of shorts and a jersey with a clearly visible number, unique within the team, printed on both the front and back. Players wear high-top sneakers that provide extra ankle support.
A limited number of time-outs, clock stoppages requested by a coach for a short meeting with the players, are allowed. They generally last no longer than one minute.
The game is controlled by the officials consisting of the referee, one or two umpires and the table officials. For college, the NBA, and many high schools, there are a total of three referees on the court. The table officials are responsible for keeping track of each team’s scoring, time keeping, individual and team fouls, player substitutions, team possession arrow, and the shot clock.