Basketball Basketball was originated (1891) in Springfield , Mass., by Dr. James Naismith of the YMCA. It quickly grew into a leading U.S. school and college sport and spread throughout the world, becoming (1936) a part of the Olympic Games. Professional basketball gained great popularity in the U.S. after the formation (1949) of the National Basketball Association (NBA); the NBA is now made up of 27 teams in two conferences, each of which has two divisions.
Game played generally indoors by two opposing teams of five players each. At each end of the court-usually about 92 ft (28 m) long and 50 ft (15 m) wide-is a bottomless basket made of cord net and suspended from a metal ring attached 10 ft (3.05 m) above the floor to a backboard. The ball may be passed, batted, or dribbled (bounced), but the players may not run with it. Players of one team attempt to shoot the ball through one basket while seeking to keep the opposition from scoring through the other basket.
Each field goal, or basket, scores two points (sometimes three points in professional basketball); foul shots, awarded mostly for illegal body contact, count one point. Overtime periods are played to break ties.