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A basketball player shapes to scoreA basketball player shapes to score Basketball is game played generally indoors between two teams of five players—although each team has a squad of 12 players to choose from, with unlimited substitutions allowed. The players score points by throwing a ball into the opposing team's basket. The team who scores the most points wins the game. Players can move the ball around the court by tapping, throwing, rolling or dribbling (bouncing) it, but are not permitted to run with it or kick it. Positions tend to be based on the players' size and skills. The tallest and strongest members of a basketball team tend to play as centres, or power forwards. The less tall players are small forwards, while those who possess the best ball handling skills are called point guards, or shooting guards. The point guard tries to ensure that the coach’s game plan for the team is carried out on the court.

A basketball courtA basketball court


A basketball court is a hardwood floor, usually measuring about 92 feet (28 metres) long and 50 feet (15 metres) wide. At each end, suspended from a metal ring (the hoop) 18 inches (46 centimetres) in diameter and fixed 10 feet (3.05 metres) above the floor is a bottomless basket made of cord net. It is attached to a backboard made of fibreglass or wood. The basket is positioned 4 feet (1.21 metres) inside the end line at both ends.

The court pictured has the markings used for FIBA (International Basketball Federation) matches for men. The markings for NBA (National Basketball Association) and NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) games are slightly different, as they are also for women's basketball.

When professional basketball began—in 1896 in New York City—it was played on courts enclosed by wire mesh. Basketball players are still occasionally referred to as "cagers".

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