Basketball is a sport that was first played in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891. The sport, which was invented by Dr. James Naismith, is characterized by the objective of shooting a round ball through designated goals. At the time of the sport’s inception, those goals were actually peach baskets that Dr. Naismith had found near the local YMCA were the first game of basketball was played. Those peach baskets are the reason the sport earned the name basketball and why the goals are still referred to as baskets. In modern basketball, the official goals (also known as “rims” or “hoops”) of the sport are metallic rings set to a universal standard size. These orange hoops, which sit perched 10 feet from the ground, are easily recognizable, but fans of the sport whom do not own or live around an official basketball hoop have been known to use cutout milk crates or garbage cans nailed to telephone poles as their baskets.

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Today, basketball has expanded from Massachusetts to become a worldwide phenomenon and one of the world’s most popular sports. The sports most popular league is the National Basketball Associate (NBA), which in and consists of professional basketball teams in the United States and Canada. Although the sport is played worldwide, it is every basketball player’s dream to play in the NBA one day. There are different tiers of basketball in the United States: NBA (professional), NBA Development League (or D-League)(which is a professional league ranked lower than the NBA), NCAA college basketball (amateur), and high school athletics (which includes AAU and school competitions).

The NBA grew to global prominence in 1992 because of the world’s exposure to the United States Olympic team known as “The Dream Team.” The Dream team starred basketball legends such as Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, and John Stockton. The team played a dominant and entertaining brand of basketball that fans outside of the United States were not completely accustomed to. The exposure that basketball received from the 1992 Dream Team resulted in basketball becoming a worldwide sport with leagues such as the Euroleague in Europe, the National Basketball League in Australia, and the Chinese Basketball Association in China. Over the year, these international leagues have significantly developed, resulting in numerous foreign players earning their spots in the NBA. Further, many American players have found places to play in foreign leagues.

Another reason basketball is such a popular sport is because of the sport’s rules. Basketball games are usually high-scoring and offer competitors the challenges of beating opposing players as well as mastering the techniques of dribbling, passing, and shooting (fundamentals and rules that given basketball its distinctive on-court look). The sport is played on a 92-foot long rectangular hardwood (officially) court on which players have the ability to score by making 2-point, 3-point, or 1-point (free throws) shots. The 3-point shot is actually one of the most important rules in basketball’s history. The 3-point shot, or 3-point field goal, was not officially implemented into the sport professionally until 1961. Since that time, the 3-point field goal, which is characterized by a recognizable 3-point arc, has revolutionized the way basketball is played and how fans enjoy the sport. Known as a 3-pointer, the shot has allowed teams to overcome pressing deficits in a short amount of time. The 3-pointer is one of the reasons basketball is so entertaining. Other basketball rules include: the shot clock (which varies from professional levels to amateur levels, foul calls and tallies, and travelling. Travelling is a one of basketball most unique rules and designates that players are not allowed to walk with the ball without dribbling.