Basketball is a sport played by two teams of five players on a rectangular court. The objective is to shoot a ball through a hoop 18 inches (46 cm) in diameter and 10 feet (3.0 m) high mounted to a backboard at each end. Basketball is one of the world’s most popular and widely viewed sports.
A team can score a field goal by shooting the ball through the basket during regular play. A field goal scores two points for the shooting team if a player is touching or closer to the basket than the three-point line, and three points (known commonly as a 3 pointer or three) if the player is behind the three-point line. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but additional time (overtime) may be issued when the game ends with a draw. The ball can be advanced on the court by bouncing it while walking or running or throwing it to a team mate. It is a violation to move without dribbling the ball, to carry it, or to hold the ball with both hands then resume dribbling.
Violations are called “fouls”. A personal foul is penalized, and a free throw is usually awarded to an offensive player if he is fouled while shooting the ball. A technical foul may also be issued when certain infractions occur, most commonly for unsportsmanlike conduct on the part of a player orcoach. A technical foul gives the opposing team a free throw, and the opposing team also retains possession of the ball.
As well as many techniques for shooting, passing, dribbling and rebounding, basketball has specialized player positions and offensive and defensive structures (player positioning). Typically, the tallest members of a team will play “center”, “power forward” or “small forward” positions, while shorter players or those who possess the best ball handling skills and speed play “point guard” or “shooting guard”.