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This nOde last updated October 10th, 2004 and is permanently morphing...
(13 Cimi / 9 Yax (Green) - 26/260 - 18.104.22.168.6)
basketball (bàs´kît-bôl´) noun
1. A game played between two teams of five players each, the object being to throw the ball through an elevated basket on the opponent's side of the rectangular court.
2. The ball that is used in this game.
Basketball, fast-paced game played on a rectangular court by two teams of five players. The primary objective of the game is to score more points than the opposition by putting a round ball through a circular band, called a rim. The two rims are at each end of the court, placed 10 ft (3.1 m) above the ground and connected to a backboard, a rectangular board generally 4 by 6 ft (1.2 by 1.8 m).
Court and Teams
Most basketball courts measure 84 ft (25.6 m) long and 50 ft (15.2 m) wide. Professional courts are slightly larger. Other court dimensions vary, such as the distance of the 3-point line (from beyond which a score counts for 3 points) from the basket. The 3-point line in high school and college games is 19 ft 9 in (6 m) from the basket, while in international play it is 21 ft 6 in (6.6 m) and in professional play it is 22 ft (6.7 m). The rims, or baskets, are 18 in (45.7 cm) in diameter. A white, nylon-mesh net hangs from each basket. The standard basketball is generally orange or brown, with an outer cover of leather or nylon. In men's play, a basketball is 29.5 to 30 in (74.9 to 76.2 cm) in diameter. In women's play the basketball is slightly smaller, 28.5 to 29 in (72.4 to 73.7 cm) in diameter.
A basketball team consists of five players- two guards, two forwards, and one center. The point guard must have exceptional ball-handling and passing skills. The shooting guard is generally a good ball handler with excellent shooting talents. The small forward is usually a strong scorer from both near the basket and at a distance. The power forward primarily concentrates on defense and rebounding. The center is usually the tallest player on the team, serving as the cornerstone of most play.
Recreational and high school basketball games have four 8-minute quarters; college and international games have two 20-minute halves; and professional games have four 12-minute quarters. Every game begins with a jump ball at the center of the court, in which a referee tosses the ball into the air, and one player from each team attempts to direct the ball to a teammate. The team that gains possession plays offense, and the opposition plays defense. The offensive team has a set time, usually 35 seconds or less (depending on the level of competition), to score a basket, also called a field goal. An offensive player cannot run or walk with the ball without dribbling (bouncing the ball against the ground). A team can score points in two ways: (1) by making a basket, which is worth 2 or 3 points, depending on the distance of the shot; or (2) by scoring a foul shot, also called a free throw, which is taken unopposed from the free-throw line, 15 ft (4.6 m) from the basket, and is worth one point. The defensive team attempts to stop the offensive team from scoring so that it can gain possession of the ball. When an offensive team misses a shot, the team that retrieves the ball has recovered a rebound.
Offense and Defense
Basic offensive skills are passing, ball handling, rebounding, and shooting. Passing the basketball is the fastest and often most efficient way of advancing the ball. Ball handlers keep the ball low, protecting it from defenders, and can use either hand to dribble and change directions quickly. Good rebounding is determined by strength, natural instinct, good positioning, and timing. Shooting is the most important part of basketball. Basic shots include the layup, the jump shot, the foul shot, and the hook shot. The layup is the easiest shot in basketball, taken directly under the basket. The dunk shot is a different style of layup in which the ball is slammed forcibly through the basket. The jump shot is taken when the shooter leaps in the air and releases the ball toward the basket. A hook shot is taken when the shooter turns sideways to the basket and releases the ball in a high arc toward the basket.
The goal of defense is simple: to stop the opposition from scoring. Defenders want to force opponents away from the basket and to prevent opponents from taking easy shots. There are two types of basic defensive team play: man-to-man defense, in which each player guards a specific opponent, and zone defense, in which each player guards a specific area.
Amateur and Professional Competition
Basketball flourishes worldwide at amateur and professional levels for both men and women. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) governs major college competitions, while the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) oversees competition for smaller four-year schools. These organizations hold postseason tournaments in which teams compete for national championships. High school basketball is governed by the National Federation of State High Schools (NFSHS).
The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the major professional basketball league in the world, with teams from the United States and Canada. The NBA includes 29 teams competing in two conferences, the Eastern and Western, in four separate divisions. At the end of the season the Eastern and Western conference champions compete to determine the NBA champion.
In 1892 Lithuanian-born physical education teacher Senda Berenson Abbott introduced basketball to women at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. By 1925, 37 states offered high school varsity basketball for women, and in 1926 the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States (AAU) formed a national tournament for women's teams. In 1971 the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) was founded, offering a national basketball tournament for women. In 1982 the NCAA held its first national championship for women. In 1996 the American Basketball League (ABL), a women's professional league, began play. The NBA also announced plans to form a separate women's league, scheduled to begin play in 1997.
In 1891 Canadian-American physical education teacher James Naismith set out to invent a new game to entertain athletes at the School for Christian Workers (now Springfield College) during the winter season. With a soccer ball, he outlined 13 original rules and sent the school janitor to find two boxes to serve as goals. However, the janitor found two half-bushel peach baskets, and the game was played with these. The first basketballs were made from panels of leather stitched together with a rubber bladder inside. The molded basketball, introduced around 1942, was a significant advancement. It offered better reaction and durability, making play more consistent.
The development of collegiate leagues and conferences brought organization and scheduling to competition, and formal league play created rivalries. Professional basketball began in 1896 in Trenton, New Jersey, when a dispute between members of a Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) team and a YMCA official led the players to form a professional team and play for money. The first successful national professional league was the American Basketball League (ABL, not related to the later women's league), which existed from 1925 to 1931. In the mid-1930s another professional league called the National Basketball League (NBL) was founded.
In 1946 a group of executives in New York City formed the Basketball Association of America (BAA). Just before the 1948-1949 season, the four strongest teams in the NBL joined the BAA. The following season, the NBL's remaining teams also joined the BAA, forming a three-division league that was renamed the National Basketball Association (NBA). After the 1949-1950 season the NBA reduced its size and established two divisions. In 1967 the American Basketball Association (ABA) was formed. The league became known for the distinctive red, white, and blue basketballs it used. The ABA disbanded in 1976, although several of its teams joined the NBA.
Trying to describe them isn't easy. On one level I call them self-transforming machine elves; half machine, half elf. They are also like self-dribbling jeweled basketballs, about half that volume, and they move very quickly and change. And they are, somehow, awaiting. When you burst into this space, there's a cheer! Pink Floyd has a song, _The Gnomes Have Learned a New Way to Say Hooray_. Then they come forward and tell you, "Do not give way to amazement. Do not abandon yourself." You're amazingly astonished. The most conservative explanation for these elves, since these things are speaking English and are intelligent, is that they're some kind of human beings. They're obviously not like you and me, so they're either the prenatal or postmortal phase of human existence, or maybe both, if you follow Indian thinking. You're saying, "Heart beat? Normal. Pulse? Normal." But your mind is saying, "No, no. I must be dead. It's too radical, too fucking radical. It's not the drug; drugs don't do stuff like this." Meanwhile, what you're seeing is not going away.
- Terence McKenna Interview by OMNI Magazine, May 1993 describing the DMT experience
piece _One Ball_ by Jeff Koons - witnessed at LACMA 11/01
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