Basketball is one of the world's most popular sports and is played by two teams of five players each. The aim of each team is to score in the opponent's basket and to prevent the other team from scoring.

Top level basketball is a fast-moving test of speed, skill and hand-eye coordination, with play rapidly switching from one end of the court to the other.

A crowd pleasing shot is the "slam dunk", where a player flies through the air and powerfully forces the ball downwards through the hoop.

There is plenty more for spectators to enjoy, with the high speed skills of dribbling, passing and shooting made all the more impressive by the size of the players. Height is a big advantage in basketball, especially for the forwards, who are expected to score the majority of the baskets.


Basketball has one of the shortest histories of any sport being played at the 15th Asian Games, as the sport was only created at end of the 19th century in the US. Dr James Naismith invented basketball in December 1891 as an indoor game to keep YMCA students fit during the winter months at Springfield College in Massachusetts.

Basketball swiftly spread through YMCA organisations across the US, where it made an early appearance at the Olympic Games as a demonstration sport at St. Louis in 1904.

Basketball was one of the six sports at the first Asian Games at New Delhi in 1951, with the Philippines taking the gold medal. In the US, basketball took off as a big-money professional sport with the founding of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1946.

There was renewed interest at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, when professional players were allowed for the first time. The US fielded the so-called Dream Team of highly paid NBA stars, including Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, winning games by record margins.


The international game is played on a court measuring 28m long by 15m wide, with a basket at each end, positioned 3.05m high and 1.2m inside the endline. Teams score by dropping the ball through their opponents' basket; scoring two points, or three points for a long range throw made from outside a 6.25m arc.

The game consists of four periods of 10 minutes. There are intervals of two minutes between the first and the second period (first half), between the third and fourth period (second half) and before each extra period.

The half-time interval lasts 15 minutes. In the event of a tie, five minutes overtime is played.

Players can move the ball forward by passing, shooting or dribbling (bouncing the ball when running). Kicking or punching the ball is not allowed. Ball carriers can only dribble with their hand on top of the ball, and cannot move both feet at the same time, or catch the ball between dribbles.

Basketball is a non-contact sport and a foul is called when a player physically clashes with an opponent. After a foul, the referee can award a side ball or uncontested free throws to the opposition as a penalty.


 Basketball in Pakistan

Basketball was introduced in the Sub - Continent in 1900 and it also come to Lahore soon. The Y.M.C.A. were pioneers. The game might have come to Karachi about the same time. Gordon College Rawalpindi, was playing the game in 1906, C.T.I. High School, Sialkot, has a long record in training boys to play the game. Forman Christian College began the game not later than 1910. Some time during the teens, the Y.M.C.A. began holding All-India Basketball Championship and carried it on until in the 30's.

In the late 20's basketball became one of the regular University Sports. The Punjab Olympic Association had its basketball sub-committee established and functioning in the late 20's or early 30's, and took the initiative in introducing the games in the Delhi Olympics in 1934. The game has been in every Olympics since, and the Punjab has been won its share of these meets. Since 1947, basketball has been a part of all the Pakistan Olympics.

At the time of partition, Dr. S.L. Sheets was the only office-bearer left in the Association, and only 8 teams were existing. The Karachi Amateur Basketball Association was formed a couple of years later, and that city became an important centre. In the early 50's, the Services Sports Control Board adopted the international rules to replace the old ones and this had made possible the participation by Services teams with civilian teams at various centres. The game was favourite with PWR and the Police. The Inter-University Sports Board introduces Basketball in its First Inter-Varsity Games inaugurated in 1953-54, with the first games at Peshawar.

The Pakistan Amateur Basketball Federation was formally inaugurated in February 1952 and began functioning in early 1953.

The game was officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee in 1936 and was included in the World Olympics at Berlin. More than a hundred countries including Pakistan are members of the International Basketball Federation (F.I.B.A.) at present.