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Basketball, one of the world’s most exciting and dynamic team sports, has a rich and fascinating history that spans decades.

From its inception on the courts of Massachusetts in the United States to becoming globally appreciated, the sport has evolved not only as an athletic game, but also as a cultural phenomenon.

In this complete and up-to-date guide, you’ll learn all about basketball. We’ll explain the rules, fundamentals, positions and much more.

Check it out 👇

What is basketball?

Basketball is a sport involving two teams competing on a court. The aim is to throw the ball into the opponent’s basket to score points. The match is won by whoever has scored the most points at the end of regulation time.

Each team consists of five players and substitutions are allowed during the game. In addition, the basketball court is divided into two halves. The teams therefore alternate between attack and defence.

Dribbling, passing, blocking, rebounding and accurate shooting are some of the most used fundamentals during a basketball match.

The sport is played at various levels, from amateur competitions to professional leagues and international tournaments such as the World Cup and the Olympics.

In addition to its popularity as a competitive sport, basketball is also enjoyed as a form of physical activity and recreation all over the world.

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When and where was basketball created?

tipos de arremesso no basquete
The sport was founded in 1891

Basketball was created in December 1891 in Springfield, USA, by physical education teacher James Naismith.

At the time, the Canadian was looking for a sport to keep his students active during the winter, when outdoor activities were limited.

Naismith drew up 13 basic rules for the new sport and attached peach baskets to the edge of a court at Springfield College, where he taught.

The first match was then played between the school’s students, with the simple aim of hitting the ball into the baskets.

From then on, basketball gained popularity on North American soil, became professionalised and won millions of fans around the world.

How does a basketball court work?

The basketball court is a rectangular space where matches are played, usually made of wooden flooring.

In the middle of the court is a line that divides the floor into two identical sides. This is where the ball is released at the start of the quarter.

A line surrounds the basket area, forming an arc. Shots from outside this line are worth three points. Shots from inside are worth two points.

Inside the three, there is also a free-throw line, where shots are taken from opponents’ infractions, and the juggernaut, a rectangle used to finish plays close to the basket.

Basketball court dimensions

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Professional court
  • 28m long by 15m wide
  • 45cm diameter rim
  • Rim height 3.05 metres
  • Distance from the three-point line to the basket is 6.75m
  • Distance from the three-point line to the free throw is 5.80m
  • Basket circle has a radius of 1.25 metres

What does a basketball look like?

A professional basketball needs to be between 74.9 and 78 centimetres in circumference and weigh between 567 and 650 grams. The manufacturing material can vary between rubber and synthetic leather.

What are the rules of basketball?

  • Game length | A basketball game is divided into four quarters of 10 minutes each (in the NBA it’s 12 minutes);
  • No ties | If the game is tied at the end of regulation time, extra time periods are played until there is a winner;
  • Teams | Each team can have up to five players on the court at any one time. Substitutions are allowed during interruptions in play;
  • Technical time-out | Each team is entitled to five requests for technical time-outs per game, two in the first half and three in the second half (in the NBA there are 6 requests);
  • Scoring | A basket made inside the three-point area is worth two points, while a shot beyond that line counts for three points. Free throws after fouls are worth one point each;
  • Shooting time | When a team has possession, it has 24 seconds to shoot. If they don’t, the ball goes to the opposing team. Remember that this time is reset when the ball hits the hoop;
  • Replace ball | When the ball is replaced on the back line, the team has up to 8 seconds to cross the middle of the court and enter the opposing team’s area;
  • No turning back | When a team passes the middle of the court, they may not turn back and step into the defence, unless the ball touches an opposing player;
  • Forbidden to walk with the ball | You may not take more than two steps with the ball in your hands without bouncing it. It is also forbidden to hit the ball on the ground with both hands at the same time, only with one;
  • The paint rule | During an attack, no athlete may remain inside the paint area for more than three seconds;
  • Fouls | Simple fouls, such as blocking a player’s movement, are called from the sideline. Fouls committed in the act of shooting are converted into free throws;
  • Individual fouls | Each player can only commit four fouls during a match. If they exceed this number, they can no longer return to the game (in the NBA the limit is five individual fouls);
  • Collective fouls | Each team can only commit four collective fouls in a single quarter. After the fifth, the opponent takes a free throw (in the NBA the limit is five collective fouls).

What are the basics of basketball?

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Rules of the game
  • Shooting
  • Pass
  • Rebound
  • Block
  • Dribbling

What is shooting in basketball?

Shooting is the act of throwing the ball into the basket accurately and effectively, using both hands. Also known as shots, they can occur from different distances and angles on the court.

What is passing in basketball?

Passing consists of transferring the ball to a team-mate and can be done from various distances. There are many types of passes, such as the dribble, over the head, using only one hand, etc.

What is a rebound in basketball?

Rebounding is catching the ball after an unsuccessful shot, either by your opponent (defensive rebound) or your own team (offensive rebound).

What is a pass in basketball?

The block is a defensive move that players use to intercept an opponent’s shot. The action consists of jumping to block or deflect the trajectory of the ball, using one or two hands.

What is dribbling in basketball?

Dribbling is a movement designed to deceive the opponent, whether it’s moving with the ball, shooting or positioning. Effective dribbles can create openings for the team to score.

Basketball player positions?

posições basquetebol
Basketball positions
  • Point Guard
  • Shooting Guard
  • Small Forward
  • Power Forward
  • Center

Point Guard

The Point Guard (PG) is the team’s maestro, responsible for controlling the pace, distributing passes and organising plays. His skills include dribbling, sharp vision and quick decision-making.

Shooting Guard

The Shooting Guard (SG) alternates between organising plays alongside the playmaker and scoring. Outstanding characteristics include shooting skills, playmaking ability and versatility.

Small Forward

The Small Forward (SF), acts as a bridge between the inside and outside players, contributing points, rebounds and defence. He stands out for his versatility, athleticism and shooting skills.

Power Forward

The Power Forward (PF) works mainly near the basket, contributing points, rebounds and defence.His characteristics include physical strength, mid-range shooting ability and versatility.


The Pivot, or Centre (C), plays a dominant role near the basket, being the main rebounder and shot blocker. He is characterised by his height, physical presence, rebounding skills and blocks.

That’s it! Now you know all about basketball. Do you plan to watch the NBA and Brazilian national team matches? Let us know in the comments 👊

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