A Complete Guide To Basketball

Whenever you think of basketball, the first thing that crosses your mind would be abominably tall players that are over 7 feet in height, cool pair of sneakers, NBA and of course the iconic basketball players LeBron James and Michael Jordan!  No one can escape the magic of basketball with its celebrity players and high adrenalin!

In a Nutshell

 Basketball is amongst the most popular sport played in the world using a ball and a hoop.  The players in their respective teams shoot the ball through the hoop and score points.  This high adrenalin sport was invented by Jim Naismith in 1891 as he had wanted to come up with a unique indoor sport to play at the YMCA during the winter in Massachusetts.  Currently, the National Basketball Association, known as the NBA, is the most popular sports league for professional players across the world. 

However, coming to India, basketball started emerging in 1930 and was played for the very first time them.  Eventually, the Indian National Championship for men was conducted in 1934 which led to the creation of the Basketball Federation of India in 1950.  There are various all-India tournaments held like Master Prithvinath Memorial, Don Bosco Invitational Tournament and Ramu Memorial amongst others.

However, in India, basketball does not follow a system of ‘seasons’ unlike America as championships are held throughout the year.  A lot of Indian basketball players are earning great rankings and realising the immense potential, the NBA has decided to join hands with the Basketball Federation of India to increase the scope in this sportThere are several successful Indian basketball stars that have shone on the court such as Sim Bhullar and Satnam Singh Bhamara. 

What is Basketball?

Basketball is a very straightforward indoor/outdoor game and the rules are not difficult to remember.  First of all, Basketball is a team sport where two teams comprising of 5 players each play again each other, trying to score baskets (shooting the ball through the hoop) which is located 10 feet above the ground level.  Basketball is played on a court which is rectangular with hoops situated on either ends, where each hoop is 46 cm in diameter and is mounted on to a backboard.

During regular play, a team can shoot the ball through the basket and score a field goal- hence a basket scored by the player while behind the 3-point line can score three points and two points if in front of the line.  Free throws worth one point can also be scored by the team, if the other team has been found to have fouled.  The ball has to be advanced on the court by the team by either throwing, or by dribbling it while walking or running.

Teams usually have predetermined positions for the players, for instance, the strongest and tallest ones are center/power forward, while the swifter and relatively shorter players are called small forward.  Shooting guard/point guard are those players who are either the ones having the best skills of ball handling or are the shortest in the team. 

In India, the Basketball Federation of India controls the Men’s National Basketball Team and the Women’s National Basketball Team.  India has been a founding member of FIBA Asia, or the International Basketball Federation in 1936 and team India has qualified 24 times for the FIBA Asia Championship and is among the fastest rising teams in Asia.  The other International tournaments where the Indian Basketball Teams have represented the country are the Commonwealth Games, South Asian Games and the Lusofonia Games in 2014. 

A Brief Overview and History of the Sport

  • Basketball was invented by Dr. James Naismith in 1891 in Massachusetts in a bid for an indoor sport that would protect athletes against the bitter cold.
  • The initial basketball equipment comprised of a soccer-type ball and two peach baskets
  • The original basketball game only had 13 rules and two teams of 9 players each, as opposed to the present 5 players per team.
  • The first every basketball game played was on March 11, 1892 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
  • The YMCA played a major part in increasing the popularity of basketball across the US, Canada and other countries. The first European match was arranged by Mel Rideout in Montmartre, Paris. 
  • As a game, Basketball has two opposing teams, wherein either team has to gain control of the ball and take it to the opposite side of the court to score a basket.
  • The National Basketball League, the first professional of its kind, was founded in 1898.
  • The National Basketball Association was founded in June 6, 1946 and was initially called the Basketball Association of America. IT is now the most prominent professional basketball league in the world, turning players into stars. 
  • In India, Basketball started off as a series of national level tournaments in 1934 after which the country became a member of FIBA in the year 1936.
  • The Basketball Federation of India or the BFI was created in 1950 and it is the controlling and governing body of the basketball scene in India- organising and training both men and women for national and international tournaments.
  •  ‘Young Cagers’ is the name of the national basketball team of India and is ranked 50th in the world
  •  Team India has won various trophies and there are 17 Indian basketball players that have been bestowed with the Arjuna Award, while two have been honoured with the Dhyan Chand Award for lifetime achievement.
  • Some of the prominent basketball players include Gulam Abbal Moontasir, Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, Akanksha Singh, Geethu Anna Jose and Riyaz Uddin. Satnam Singh is the Indian player from Punjab who achieved the feat of getting selected by the NBA draft. 

The Rules and Basic Requirements for Basketball

  • There is a mid-court line that divides the court into two major segments. 
  • The ball is passed down the court among the various players using techniques like dribbling and passing, as they move towards the hoops.
  • The team that possesses the ball is called the ‘offense’, while the other team is called the ‘defense’ as they are trying to prevent the offense from scoring a basket by stealing the ball, deflecting passes, garnering rebounds and contesting shots.
  • Two points are awarded upon each scored basket and the ball is then passed on to the other team.
  • However, if a basket is made by the player outside the three-point arc, then the team gets allotted 3 points.
  • The team receives one point for a free throw, which is allowed when a foul is committed.
  • The team whose player fouls a shooter, gets 2-3 free throws, depending on the position from where he shot.
  • A game of basketball is divided into sections with two halves, which vary in time. There is more time gap between halves than between quarters. 
  • If there is a tie in the end, then overtime is played until the winner comes forth.
  • The game starts by having one player from either team at the center court. The referee tosses the ball upwards between the two players and the one to touch it first will tip is to a fellow team mate.  This is known as ‘tip-off’.
  • A player cannot hold the ball for over five seconds.
  • Each basketball game is divided into respective sections with two halves in each level. In college games, each half runs for 20 minutes, while in school games, the halves are divided into 6 or 8 minute quarter sections. 
  • In the professional basketball matches, the quarters last for 12 minutes, which a couple of minutes gap between the halves. However, the gap between the quarters is much shorter. 

Each team is given a basket to defend and at halftime, the baskets/goals are reversed. 


Additional Facts

  • A basketball player is recognised by his or her uniform which comprises of a jersey that represents the team colour and features the last name of the player and the number along with long shorts.
  • Special basketball shoes are worn with suction cups to prevent any slipping.
  • Some players wear headbands or wrist bands and arm bands for wiping off sweat as a fashion accessory.

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Who are the Governing Bodies for Basketball?

Basketball Federation of India or BFI is controlling and governing body of Indian basketball as it seeks to promote and develop the sport across levels by organising tournaments in schools and colleges.  They have collaboration with FIBA, the international basketball league for promoting Indian Basketball players internationally. 

 Important Championships

On an International Level

Olympics This international event is held every 4 years. India is yet to qualify for it.

International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asia It is held every 4 years.  India is ranked # 52 in FIBA International while it features on position 11 in FiBA Asia. India’s best performance till date has been in 2007.  The Indian women’s team stands on the 40th postion out of 73 playing nations.In the Asian region.

South Asian Games This prestigious tournament is held every two years. India finished 7th in the tournament in 2014.

Lusofonia Games This tournament is held every 3-4 years.  The Indian men’s basketball team won the title in 2014.  The Indian men’s basketball team, who won the Gold medal at the 3rd Lusofonia games held at Goa in 2014 are currently ranked 61 out of 85 nations in the latest FIBA rankings.

On a National Level

Master Prithvinath Memorial, New Delhi

Ramu Memorial, Mumbai-

Don Bosco Invitational Tournament, Mumbai-

 Famous Basketball Players

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 Satnam Singh Bhamara   Born on 10th December 1995 in Bhallo Ke, a district in Punjab, Bhamara is a basketball player from India who is playing for the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League.  Bhamara is the first Indian player to have been selected for the NBA by the Dallas Mavericks.  He started playing basketball from the age of 14 years and is not playing at the center position in NBA team and is a promising player. Bhamara played high school basketball at the IMG Academy, which is a private athletic training institute that has its headquarters in Bradenton, Florida.

 Vishesh Bhriguvanshi   He is an Indian professional basketball player who plays for the Cagers at FIBA Asia Champions Cup.  Bhriguvanshi has accomplished a lot of feats at a very young age, when he competed in various international basketball tournaments such as the Super Steung Cup, the Stankovic Cup, apart from playing for the Indian junior and senior national teams.  He has also earned many awards including ‘Most Valuable Player’ award at Basketball Without Borders 2008.  He finished amongst the top ten at the age of 17 in the FIBA Asian Championship in 2009- a commendable feat. 

 Ram Kumar   He is a former Indian basketball player as well as coach of the junior Indian team.  This stellar player represented Indian national basketball and also played at several international tournaments.  He is a spectacular shooter who is known for his smooth 3-point shooting skills which made him one of the leading  top shooting guard in Asia.  He was awarded the Dhyan Chand Award in 2003 for lifetime achievement in Indian basketball. 

Sozhasingarayer Robinson  Also  known as S. Robinson , he hails from Pondicherry and is a professional Indian basketball player who is currently playing for the Tamil Nadu Basketball team.  This athlete slowly rose to success and garnered a lot of international media attention when he earned India a surprise victory at the 2004 FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup by 36 points when pitted against a regular title competitor- South Korea.  It is now known why he refused an offer from New Zealand’s basketball association to play for them in 2006, although he performed extraordinarily against the Tall Blacks.  That very year, he was banned from playing for his state team, as he missed the training and this caused him to take an early retirement- but did come back to the sport later.

 Gulam Abbas Moontasir  He is a professional Indian basketball player who was born in Mumbai on 7th January 1942.  Moontasir played at various levels- school and college and finally debuted internationally in a match against Australia in 1960.  He participated in the quadrangular in Colombo in 1964 and was also the captain of the Indian basketball team during the Asian Basketball championships held in 1969 and 1975 in Bangkok. Moontasir was a part of the Indian team that competed in the Asian Games in Bangkok in 1970 as well as the 10th Anniversary Confederation Tournament in Manila.  In 1970, he was finalised for the Asian All-Star team- a great feat.  In 1970, Moontasir was bestowed the Arjuna Award for his achievement in basketball.  He continued to play till the age of 44 and also wrote the book “Principles of Basketball”.

Geethu Ann Jose  Geethu Ann Jose, born in Kerala on the 30th of June, 1985 is one of the popular Indian women basketball players who had also captained the Indian Women’s national Basketball Team.  She was born into a family that had little to do with basketball.

It was her brother Tom Jose who being a basketball player at the state-level and her cousin Tibin Anthony, that inspired her to take up the sport and develop a keen interest in the same. Geethu played a lot of sports as a child which included volleyball and basketball. However, it was while playing a championship match for Kerala that she was noticed by the Southern Railway Basketball Team.

She eventually joined Southern Railway in 2003 and became a part of the team that defeated Delhi in the finals in 2005 with a remarkable score by Geethu.  She played for the Australia Club as a professional from 2006-2008 and was the first woman basketball player to do so.

Geethu was also offered to play for Dandenong for the 2008-2009 season in the Australian Women’s National Basketball League- however, she refused the offer.  In fact WBA teams Chicago Sky, San Antonio Silver Star and Los Angeles Sparks also invited her in June 2012 for tryouts.

Geethu brought a spectacular victory to the Indian Womens basketball team during the final match of the 3rd Asian Beach Games in Haiyang and defeated China.  Geethu recently married Rahul Koshy in January 2014 and is happily married with a son “Aaryaan”.

To sum up, basketball has gained global popularity because of the game is as fun to play as to watch.  A lot of basketball players have acquired celebrity status which has increased their net worth.  If you know some interesting facts about basketball or have a question about this sport, then do feel free to ask us in the comment section below! At YoGems, we have experts who can counsel you on basketball and provide you with trainers and instructors who can guide you in this sport.



Shivangi Gupta is a Content Writer Expert at YoGems. With years of experience in writing blogs, articles and guides, she writes about every sport. Also, she is good at sports and expert in shooting and won numerable awards at various events. She started receiving shooting training under her father at the age of 6. To get updated with her posts, stay tuned to the website.