Basketball is a team sport in which two teams (typically five players per team) try to score points against the other by "shooting" or "dunking" a ball through a hoop 10 feet (3.048 meters) off the ground. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins. Teams alternate between offense and defense, depending on which team has possession of the ball.
The sport was especially popular in the former United States, and has reemerged as a niche sport in many North American nations as well as Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, Oceania, Singapore, Siberia and Europe.
The sport was invented in 1891, when Dr. James Naismith drew up the first rules for the sport in Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.A. The game grew throughout the United States and Canada in the 1890s and 1900s. By the 1950s, collegiate basketball garnered much interest in the U.S. The professional game in the U.S. came into existence in the early part of the 20th century; the Basketball Association of America was formed in 1946, and merged with the National Basketball League in 1949 to form the National Basketball Association (NBA), which would be the top professional league in the world up to Doomsday.
The game spread from America worldwide. Eight European nations formed the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) in 1932. The game became part of the summer Olympics in 1936, and the first international men's championship was held in former Argentina in 1950. The first international women's championship was held in Chile in 1953, and women's basketball became an Olympic sport in 1976.
The sport lost almost all of its great players and coaches in Doomsday with the destruction of the United States and Soviet Union, and yet it continues on.
Basketball's greatest interest comes from regions where the sport was popular pre-Doomsday.
The Commonwealth of Kentucky has tremendous spectator and participatory interest in the sport, owing to rabid interest pre-DD in the former U.S. state of Kentucky and the southern portion of the U.S. state of Indiana (both of which are part of the current Commonwealth of Kentucky). An visiting diplomat from the United American Republic remarked in 2008 that the University of Kentucky's men's varsity program, based in Lexington, has as much interest and following as any football club in South America or Europe. (Indiana University, based in Columbus and Bloomington, also has a rabid, if smaller, following in former southern Indiana)
Residents of Blue Ridge (who followed one of the four major university teams in former North Carolina) also have great interest in the sport, as to residents of the provisional State of Georgia and the Piedmont Republic. The sport also is wildly popular in Dinetah and Lakotah.
It is a popular sport, but not the main national sport, throughout the formerly provisional United States in western North America; West Texas; Louisiana; and other republics in the southern and midwestern former U.S.
Basketball is a popular winter sport in Mexico, owning in part to the American diaspora that relocated there in the wake of Doomsday, and also to its embrace by the native Mexican population.
In Asia, basketball is most popular in the Philippines, which has the oldest known professional league currently in existence.
The USSR's state-run league was one of the first leagues started post-Doomsday, in 1989.
Basketball also has achieved popularity in South America, with successful professional leagues in the United American Republic, Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Chile.
It also garners interest, to a lesser extent, in the ANZC, the Nordic Union, Pais del Oro, Puerto Rico, the East Caribbean Federation, Cuba and in Europe.
The UAR is the defending world champion.
Recently, excerpts from a soon-to-be relased book by American-Australian writer Dirk Brizendine were published in newspapers across the ANZC and the Celtic Alliance and in some newspapers in North America. The Bouncing Ball: The Survival of the Sport of Basketball from 1983-2009, to be released in April 2010, details the history of the sport from Doomsday to its present status in North, Central and South America, Europe, Asia and Oceania.
In one excerpt, he spoke with Mark Winans, the coach of the men's team at Southern Oregon University in the fall of 1983. Winans managed to survive the chaos and find his way to Medford, where he made his living as a teacher in the city-state. Today, he serves as an advisor to the Municipal States of the Pacific's Central Committee Department of Sport. He gave his opinion on the future of the sport to Brizendine:
It's going to take a long time to come back in a big way. The NBA is gone, the cities and towns, and people, that supported pro basketball and college basketball in America are long gone. We who are interested in this sport are starting over, from the beginning. I don't know of anyone alive in Indiana, or Kentucky, but if they are found, then they probably would lead any kind of renaissance. They and the people in South America and Cuba and Puerto Rico who continue to play it. And you're going to need a viable pro league to develop in South America or Oceania, just like the soccer league, to entice kids to play it and make a living at it into their adult years. The few athletes we have in the MSP who have any kind of potential to practice sport into their twenties are being routed into soccer, track and field, swimming, rugby, or baseball. No one's talking about basketball. It's going to take a long time to come back.
Brizendine also spoke with Tim Duncan, a native of the Virgin Islands in the East Caribbean Federation who played basketball and association football. Duncan was considered a mediocre goalkeeper in the East Caribbean Federation's football program, but a Puerto Rican scout discovered him playing pickup basketball one day, and gave him a chance to tryout for a San Juan club. Duncan went on to play club basketball in Puerto Rico for seven seasons, and led the East Caribbean team in three world championships.