The Game
Basketball is played by two teams of five players each. The purpose of the game for each team is to throw the ball into their (offensive) basket and to prevent the other team from securing the ball and scoring. The ball may be thrown, passed, tapped, rolled or dribbled in any direction, subject to the restrictions laid down in the rules. In high school games there are four eight minute periods.
i) Dribble A dribble is a ball movement caused by a player in control who bats, pushes, or taps the ball to the floor once or several times. A player may not bat the ball with a closed fist.
ii) Dunking (Stuffing) Is the driving, forcing, pushing or attempting to force a ball through the baket with the hand(s).
iii) Free Throw Is the opportunity given a player to score one point by an unhindered try for goal from within the free throw circle and behind the free throw line.
a) two shots are awarded if the player was fouled while in the act of shooting- one shot if the attempt was successful (ball went in)
b) three shots are awarded if the attempt was made beyond the three point line, one shot if the attempt was successful
c) one shot and a bonus (if the first shot was made) are awarded on the 7 th , 8th and 9th team foul each half
d) two shots are awarded on each foul from the 10th team foul per half and on.
Held Ball It occurs when opponents have their hands so firmly on the ball that control cannot be obtained without undue roughness. This results in a throw in at the out of bounds spot nearest to where the held ball occurred. The team that gets possession of the ball is determined by the alternating possession rule (arrow).
v) Alternating Possession Rule The team that does not gain control of the ball, at the start of the game or each extra period, starts the alternating possession procedure. For example, if team A gains possession of the ball at the start of the game, then team B will get the ball the next possession when there is another jump ball or held ball situation.
Jump Ball- Is a method of putting the ball into play by tossing it up between two opponents. The jump ball begins when the ball leaves the official's hand. A jump ball is used to start the game and each extra (overtime) period. It is held at the centre circle. Each jumping player must stay in his/her own half of the restraining circle until the jump is completed. That is, she/he must not touch any part of his/her opponent's half, including while in the air, and including her/his opponent. Each jumping player is allowed to tap the ball 2 times but may not catch it or touch it again until it has been touched by another player or has made contact with the floor. No other player may enter the restraining circle until the ball has been tapped. If a violation occurs the other team gets the ball at the side line opposite the restraining circle.
vii) Pivot-Takes place when a player who is holding the ball steps once, or more than once in any direction with the same foot; the other foot, called the pivot foot, being kept at its point of contact with the floor.
viii) Field Goal Is scored when a live ball, shot from the floor, enters the basket from the above and remains within or passes through. A goal from the floor counts:
a) two points, when taken from within the three point line, or
b) three points, when taken from beyond the three point line.
ix) Personal Foul- Is an infraction of the rules involving personal contact-illegal use of hands slapping, hitting, blocking, holding, charging, pushing with an opponent. The penalty for a foul is the charging of the offender with the foul and awarding one or more free throws to the fouled team if its fouled player was in the act of shooting or the awarding of the ball to the opponents for a throw in. Once a player has received five fouls she/he is disqualified from the game.

Line up for the Free Throw (Foul Shot)
The first lane space on either side of the key closest to the baseline must be filled by two defensive players. The next two may be filled by offensive players and the next two by defenders. No players may stand in the spaces immediately next to the shooter. The person who was fouled must take the free throw, unless injured, in which case any other player may be substituted by the coach.
x) Technical Foul
  i) It is a technical foul for a player to disregard or be disrespectful to an official; use unsportsmanlike tactics, or delay the game. The penalty is two free throws, and possession of the ball for the opposing team.
  ii) Dunking (Stuffing) Is the driving, forcing, pushing or attempting to force a ball through the basket with the hand(s).
  iii) Violation Is an infringement of a rule resulting in the opposite team getting the ball out of bounds usually opposite to where the violation occurred. (Ball going over the end line is taken on the end).
Examples of Violations
  a) Double Dribble Dribbling with two hands, or dribble, catch with one or two hands and dribble.
  b) Travelling Moving a foot or feet in any direction in excess of prescribed limits (no more than two steps, where the first steps must be the pivot foot) while holding the ball.
  c) Handling the Ball A player cannot kick the ball intentionally or strike the ball with his/her fists.
  d) 3-second Violation- An offensive player with or without the ball cannot remain for three seconds in his/her offensive free throw lane when the ball is in his/her front court.
  e) 5-second Violation- i) When a closely guarded player who is holding the ball in his/her front court, does not pass, shoot, roll or dribble the ball within five seconds. ii) When a player taking a throw in pass takes longer than five seconds.
  f) 10-second Violation-
i) The offensive team (the team with the ball) has 10 seconds to bring the ball into their front court. Once in their front court, they may not pass, pivot or carry the ball back over the centre line (over-and-back violation). If the ball is knocked back by an opponent they may recover it without penalty.
ii) a player shooting a free throw may not take more than 10 seconds to shoot the ball.
  g) Line Violation- A player may not touch on or across the restraining line during a jump ball. A player may not touch on or across the free throw line until the ball has touched the rim or backboard. A player may not touch on or across the boundary line (side, end) while in possession of the ball.

A Canadian's Game

Inventing the Game
In December of 1891, Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian working as a physical education instructor at the YMCA Training School (now Springfield College) in Springfield, Massachusetts, invented the game of basketball.

The winters in Massachusetts are usually long, cold and snowy. Naismith was looking for an interesting and fun activity, that could be played indoors, to keep his students in good physical condition during the winter months. He thought about adapting existing outdoor team games like football and rugby so that they could be played in a gymnasium, but decided against this because they would be too violent for such a confined space. He needed a game that was active, but did not involve physical contact.

During his days as a student at Montreal's McGill University, Naismith had helped the school's rugby team stay fit by showing them a game where they would run and toss a ball into a box on the gymnasium floor. He also thought back to his days as a child growing up in Almonte, Ontario where he and his friends played a game called Duck on a Rock at a nearby stream. The object was to throw a small stone onto a larger rock that was set up as a target.

Combining the two ideas, Naismith came up with a game involving two teams of players. The offensive team would move around the gymnasium floor passing a ball to one another while getting into position to toss it into a container. The defensive team would try to block the passes and intercept the ball. The team with possession of the ball would then be on offence while the opposing team would change immediately to defence. In order to promote skills such as agility, quickness and passing over brute force, Naismith decided to raise the goal (unlike the game played at McGill) and to ban any type of hitting or contact.

Awake late one night thinking about this new activity, Naismith wrote down 13 rules to govern the game. As for goals, he asked the YMCA custodian to place a box at each end of the gymnasium, 10 feet above the floor. Unable to find boxes, the custodian returned with a pair of peach baskets and nailed them to the wooden running track that circled the gym. Thus, the new game became known as "basket ball" rather than, say, "box ball."

The First Game
On December 21, 1891, Naismith divided the 18 boys in his class into two equal groups. The teams played two 15 minute halves with a five minute break in between. Obviously, basketballs did not yet exist, so they used a regulation association football (soccer ball). Only a single goal was made resulting in a final score of 1 -0. After a score the custodian used a ladder to retrieve the ball from the peach basket. It was not until later that they thought to cut out the bottoms of the baskets, enabling the ball to drop through.

The Game Spreads Quickly
Naismith's students were from all over the United States, Canada and even Japan. Upon returning home for Christmas vacation (and late at the end of the school year), they introduced the new game they had learned to the gyms and youth centres in their hometowns. Thus, the game spread quickly, especially in the YMCA's of the northeastern United States as well as Canada. Indeed, barely two months after basketball's birth, competitions began to be played between various YMCAs.

Basketball soon spread to colleges where it became extremely popular. In 1892, the game was played by students at Yale, Stanford, Geneva and Pennsylvania College. In January of 1893, little more than a year after Naismith had invented the game, the University of Toronto became the first college to play against an outside team. They defeated the Toronto YMCA 2-1. One month later, Vanderbilt University defeated Nashville, Tennessee YMCA 9-6 in the first game between an American college team and an outside opponent. The first intercollegiate games on record occurred in 1895.

The Start of Women's Basketball
The director of physical education at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, Senda Berenson Abbott read about basketball in a magazine. She met with Naismith to learn more about his new game and decided that it would work just as well for the girls in her classes. On March 22, 1893, her students participated in the first recorded women's basketball game. Abbott continued to develop women's basketball, and wrote the first basketball guide for women.

Professional Basketball
The game became so popular at the college level that soon professional matches charging admission began to be organized. Their success resulted in the formation of the first professional league. In 1898, the National Basketball League (NBL) was formed. Over the next half century there would be many leagues. But the most successful pro teams made most of their money by brainstorming (travelling from town to town and challenging the local teams). Often these teams would rent dance halls where they would set up baskets and enclose playing area with chicken wire to protect themselves from flying debris thrown at them by the partisan local fans. Thus, basketball players became known as "cagers."

On June 6, 1946, the owners of arenas and hockey teams in major North American cities such as New York, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Toronto met in a New York City hotel. There they decided to form a professional basketball league, the Basketball Association of America (BAA), in order to draw people to their arenas on idle nights when there were no hockey games being played, and the ice shows or circus were not in town.

The first game of the new league was played on November 1, 1946, at Maple Leaf Gardens between the New York Knicks and the Toronto Huskies. The Knicks won, 68-66, and the first basket was scored by a New York player. However, Toronto's Ed Sadowski was the game's high scorer with 18 points. As a promotion, any fan taller than Toronto's 6'8" centre George Nostrance was admitted free of charge.

After three years of play, the BAA merged with a rival league, the NBL, to form the National Basketball Association (NBA), which is still in existence today as the world's premier professional basketball league. Therefore, the Toronto Huskies are credited with hosting the first game in NBA history! Unfortunately, the Huskies dropped out of the league after only a single season of play. Nearly half a century would pass before Toronto would rejoin the NBA with a new team.

On a cold and windy Friday night, November 3, 1995, the Toronto Raptors played their first game. The Raptors, playing Toronto's first NBA game since the 1946-47 Huskies finished their only season, hosted the New Jersey Nets at Skydome. Big time professional basketball had finally returned to Toronto. At the same time, Vancouver was awarded a franchise of its own, the Grizzlies, giving Canada two NBA teams.

Over the years, many changes and additions have been made to Naismith's original 13 rules. Field goals are now worth two points a piece, with free throws counting as a single point. A three point line has also been added to reward players who score from long distance. A shot clock, set for 24 seconds in the NBA and 30 seconds in college, was devised to speed up play and increase scoring. Though these and other changes have certainly made basketball more exciting, the basic game has remained the same since James Naismith wrote down his original set of 13 rules.