Portal:Basketball

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Basketball is a team sport in which ten players, five on a side, opposing one another on a rectangular court, have in play the primary objective to shoot a basketball (approximately 9.4 inches (24 cm) in diameter) through the defender's hoop (a basket 18 inches (46 cm) in diameter mounted 10 feet (3.048 m) high to a backboard at each end of the court) while preventing the opposing team from shooting through their own hoop. A field goal is worth two points, unless made from behind the three-point line, when it is worth three. After a foul, timed play stops and the player fouled or designated to shoot a technical foul is given one or more one-point free throws. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but if regulation play expires with the score tied, an additional period of play (overtime) is mandated.

Players advance the ball by bouncing it while walking or running (dribbling) or by passing it to a teammate, both of which require considerable skill. On offense, players may use a variety of shots—the lay-up, the jump shot, or a dunk; on defense, they may steal the ball from a dribbler, intercept passes, or block shots; either offense or defense may collect a rebound, that is, a missed shot that bounces from rim or backboard. It is a violation to lift or drag one's pivot foot without dribbling the ball, to carry it, or to hold the ball with both hands then resume dribbling.

The five players on a each side at a time fall into five positions player positions: the tallest player is usually the center, the tallest and strongest is the power forward, a slightly shorter but more agile big man is the small forward, and the shortest players or the best ball handlers are the shooting guard and the point guard, who implements the coach's game plan by managing the execution of offensive and defensive plays (player positioning). Informally, players may play three-on-three, two-on-two, and one-on-one.

Invented in 1891 by Canadian—American gym teacher James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts, basketball has evolved to become one of the world's most popular and widely viewed sports. The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the most significant professional basketball league in the world in terms of popularity, salaries, talent, and level of competition. Outside North America, the top clubs from national leagues qualify to continental championships such as the Euroleague and FIBA Americas League. The FIBA Basketball World Cup and Men's Olympic Basketball Tournament are the major international events of the sport and attract top national teams from around the world. Each continent hosts regional competitions for national teams, like EuroBasket and FIBA AmeriCup.

The FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup and Women's Olympic Basketball Tournament feature top national teams from continental championships. The main North American league is the WNBA (NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship is also popular), whereas strongest European clubs participate in the EuroLeague Women.

Selected article

The Duke–Michigan basketball rivalry is a college basketball rivalry between the Duke Blue Devils men's basketball team of Duke University and Michigan Wolverines men's basketball team of the University of Michigan.

The two teams played annual, regularly scheduled contests between 1963 and 1970 and between 1989 and 2002. They also scheduled meetings in 2007 and 2008 and have a 2013 ACC–Big Ten Challenge contest as the next meeting. In addition, the teams have had five unscheduled meetings in tournaments, three of which were in the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament including the 1992 National Championship Game. Two of the five tournament meetings occurred in 2011.

From its early beginnings, the rivalry has been characterized by blue collar Michigan teams versus prim and proper Duke teams. In March 2011, the rivalry was refueled by media commentary related to the ESPN Films documentary entitled The Fab Five. The latest meeting between the teams occurred in the 2013 ACC–Big Ten Challenge, a game on December 3, which Duke won, 79–69.

Selected picture

Michael Jordan in 1987
Credit: Steve Lipofsky

Michael Jordan going in for a slam dunk with his signature exposed tongue.

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Selected biography

Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan (born 1976) is a Virgin Islander American professional basketball player for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The 6'11" (2.11 m), 260-pound (118 kg) power forward/center is a four-time NBA champion, a three-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, and the current captain of the Spurs. He has also won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award twice, and has been voted into 11 NBA All-Star Games, 11 All-NBA Teams, and 11 All-Defensive Teams. Duncan graduated from college before entering the 1997 NBA Draft as the number one pick, and his list of accomplishments and leadership in the Spurs' NBA title runs in 1999, 2003, 2005, and 2007 have led basketball experts to consider him to be one of the greatest power forwards in NBA history. Off the court, Duncan is known for his quiet and unassuming ways, as well as his active philanthropy. He holds an honors degree in psychology and created the Tim Duncan Foundation to raise general health awareness and fund education and youth sports in various parts of the United States.

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