Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world. It is played with a ball and a hoop. Players score points by shooting the ball through the hoop.
Basketball has become popular for a number of reasons:
Basketball is fun to play: Basketball has a very fast and exciting pace of play. Also, each player on the court gets to play both offense and defense and the roles of each player are only loosely defined. Much of basketball easily can be practiced (like shooting or dribbling) with one person making it easy to learn. The sport also is great for one-on-one play all the way up to 5-on-5, so you don't need a big crowd to get a good game going.
Simple equipment: With basketball all you need are a ball and a hoop. Many playgrounds throughout the world (especially in the USA) have hoops making it easy to get a game going with just a ball.
Basketball is fun to watch: Some of the worlds greatest athletes are basketball players. The game is fast-paced and full of excitement and lots of scoring.
Basketball is an all weather sport: Basketball is often played outside in parks or in driveways, but is also a winter sport played indoors. So you can play basketball year round.
Basketball was invented in 1891 by Jim Naismith. He invented the sport for indoors play at the YMCA during the Massachusetts winter. The first game was played with a soccer ball and two peach baskets for goals.
The sport spread from the YMCA to colleges where the first basketball leagues were formed. As the sport gained popularity at the college level professional leagues were formed and, in 1936, basketball became an Olympic sport. Today the NBA (National Basketball Association) is one of the most popular professional sports leagues in the world.
Basketball has had a number of players that have help make basketball popular as a spectator sport including Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, and Oscar Robinson. Perhaps the most famous and arguably the greatest basketball player of all time is Michael Jordan.