The Basketball Portal

A 2011 game at Madison Square Garden
A 2011 game at Madison Square Garden

Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court, compete with the primary objective of shooting a basketball (approximately 9.4 inches (24 cm) in diameter) through the defender's hoop (a basket 18 inches (46 cm) in diameter mounted 10 feet (3.048 m) high to a backboard at each end of the court, while preventing the opposing team from shooting through their own hoop. A field goal is worth two points, unless made from behind the three-point line, when it is worth three. After a foul, timed play stops and the player fouled or designated to shoot a technical foul is given one, two or three one-point free throws. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but if regulation play expires with the score tied, an additional period of play (overtime) is mandated.

Players advance the ball by bouncing it while walking or running (dribbling) or by passing it to a teammate, both of which require considerable skill. On offense, players may use a variety of shots – the layup, the jump shot, or a dunk; on defense, they may steal the ball from a dribbler, intercept passes, or block shots; either offense or defense may collect a rebound, that is, a missed shot that bounces from rim or backboard. It is a violation to lift or drag one's pivot foot without dribbling the ball, to carry it, or to hold the ball with both hands then resume dribbling. (Full article...)

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LeBron James (USA, in white) attempts a shot against China's Yao Ming at the 2008 Olympics.
LeBron James (USA, in white) attempts a shot against China's Yao Ming at the 2008 Olympics.

Basketball is a sport contested at the Summer Olympic Games. A men's basketball tournament was first held at the 1904 Olympics as a demonstration; it has been held at every Summer Olympics since 1936. In the 1972 Olympics, the final game between the United States and the Soviet Union was a controversial one, as the game was ended and replayed twice by a FIBA (International Basketball Federation) official without the authority to do so, before the Soviet Union won their first gold medal, which would have been won by the United States if the game was not started against the rules. The U.S. filed a formal protest but was rejected by FIBA. As a result, the United States refused to accept the silver medal, and no player has ever claimed his medal. After a protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the United States boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics. The Soviet Union boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympics boycott in response. Both boycotts affected basketball at the Olympics, as both had successful basketball teams at the time. The advent of the state-sponsored "full-time amateur athlete" of the Eastern Bloc countries further eroded the ideology of the pure amateur, as it put the self-financed amateurs of the Western countries at a disadvantage. The Soviet Union entered teams of athletes who were all nominally students, soldiers, or working in a profession, but many of whom were in reality paid by the state to train on a full-time basis. In April 1989, through the leadership of Secretary General Borislav Stanković, FIBA approved the rule that allowed NBA players to compete in international tournaments, including the Olympics. In the next Olympics, the 1992 Summer Olympics, the "Dream Team" won the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics Basketball, with an average winning margin of 44 points per game, and without calling a time out. By this time, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia no longer existed, but their successor states continued to be among the leading forces. Two newly independent countries of the former Yugoslavia and Soviet Union, Croatia and Lithuania, won the silver and bronze medals respectively.

The USA's Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi are the all-time leader for the most Olympic medals in basketball, with five gold, while Teresa Edwards has four gold and one bronze. Seven players have won four medals: the USA's Lisa Leslie, Tamika Catchings, (each with four golds with the women's team) and Carmelo Anthony (three golds and one bronze with the men's team), the Soviet Union's Gennadi Volnov (one gold, two silver, one bronze) and Sergei Belov (one gold, three bronze), and Australians Kristi Harrower and Lauren Jackson (both with three silvers and one bronze). Leslie, Bird, Catchings, and Taurasi are the all-time leaders for the most consecutive gold medal wins in basketball. Six other individuals, all American, have won three golds—Katie Smith, Dawn Staley, Sheryl Swoopes, Seimone Augustus, Sylvia Fowles and Carmelo Anthony—and 23 other players, not including the previously mentioned, have won three medals. (Full article...)
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Johnson with the Indiana Pacers during the 1972–73 ABA season
Johnson with the Indiana Pacers during the 1972–73 ABA season

Gus Johnson Jr. (December 13, 1938 – April 29, 1987) was an American professional basketball player in the National Basketball Association (NBA). A 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m), 235-pound (107 kg) forwardcenter, he spent nine seasons with the Baltimore Bullets, and his final season was split between the Phoenix Suns and the Indiana Pacers of the American Basketball Association (ABA).

One of the first forwards to frequently play above the rim, Johnson combined an unusual blend of strength, jumping ability, and speed; he was one of the first dunk shot artists in the NBA. His nickname "Honeycomb" was given to him by his college coach. He had a gold star set into one of his front teeth and shattered three backboards during his career. (Full article...)
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The Phoenix Suns are an American professional basketball team based in Phoenix, Arizona. They compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA), as a member of the league's Western Conference Pacific Division. The Suns are the only team in their division not to be based in California, and play their home games at the Footprint Center. The Suns are one of four major league sports teams based in the Phoenix area, but are the only one to bill themselves as representing the city (the other teams - the Cardinals, Coyotes, and Diamondbacks - all bill themselves as representing the state of Arizona).

The franchise began play in 1968 as an expansion team, and their early years were shrouded in mediocrity, but their fortunes changed in the 1970s after partnering Dick Van Arsdale and Alvan Adams with Paul Westphal; the team reached the 1976 NBA Finals, in what is considered to be one of the biggest upsets in NBA history. However, after failing to capture a championship, the Suns would rebuild around Walter Davis for a majority of the 1980s, until the acquisition of Kevin Johnson in 1988. (Full article...)
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