Top 10 Things you should know about basketball before the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic
This December, for the first time in history, competitive US college basketball will be played outside of the United States of America in Europe in Belfast’s SSE Arena. That’s right, the Sport Changes Life Foundation will partner up with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference to deliver you the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic on December 1st and 2nd, 2017!
Being the inventors of Basketball, Americans are a little more educated on the sport than us in Britain and Ireland, so we thought we’d give you a little lesson with the top 10 things you should know about basketball so you’re all ready for December’s action-packed four-game tournament!
1. Where it all began
The game was invented in 1891 in Springfield Massachusetts by Dr James Naismith, who the Basketball Hall of Fame is named after. Naismith wrote the original basketball rule book and founded the University of Kansas basketball program. The first basketball game took place in 1892, where the court was half the size of today’s courts.
2. The Basic Beginner Pack
The first “hoops” were actually just peach baskets and the first backboards were made of wire. Until 1929, basketball was largely played with regulation soccer balls! The balls were quite often brown whereas now they are mainly orange. Now, all elements of the game equipment are regulated, from purpose built hard wood flooring to a 183cm x 110cm backboard and a 46cm diameter basketball hoop, played with a regulation basketball which measures between 29.5 and 30 inches in circumference and weighs between 20 and 22 ounces.
3. National Basketball Association
The NBA (National Basketball Association) was founded in 1949, after the combination of the NBL (National Basketball League) and the BAA (Basketball Associate of America). The average team in the NBA is worth an average of 1.25 Billion US dollars, and the average height of a NBA player is 6 feet 7 inches!
4. Growing in Popularity
The game became an official Olympic event at the Summer Games in Berlin, Germany in 1936. Globally, we have seen the popularity of basketball continue to rise over the years. Basketball is the 3rd most popular sport in the United States and the top sport in Lithuania and Philippines. The sport has been played since the 1920s in Ireland, and according to Basketball Ireland is the country’s number 1 indoor sport with an even 50/50 split between men and women on the courts and over 200 clubs nationwide. More than 300,000 people are estimated to play basketball each month in the United Kingdom.
5. The Rules
The rules of basketball, thankfully, are fairly straightforward. Basically, two teams of five players each try to score by shooting a ball through a hoop elevated 10 feet above the ground. The court is divided into two main sections by the mid-court line. If the offensive team puts the ball into play behind the mid-court line, it has ten seconds to get the ball over the mid-court line. If it doesn’t, then the defense gets the ball. Once the offensive team gets the ball over the mid-court line, it can no longer have possession of the ball in the area in back of the line. If it does, the defense is awarded the ball.
6. Roles on the Court
The five basic roles in basketball are centre, power forward, small forward, shooting guard and point guard. There are various different techniques including the jump shoot and the famous slam dunk.
7. Record Setting Skills
The longest successful basketball shot measured 34.29 m (112 ft 6 in) and was achieved by Elan Buller (USA) in Oak Park, California, USA, on 9th September 2014. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who played 20 seasons in the NBA, holds the record for most points scored in a career with 38,387. Michael Jordan is considered to be one of the best basketball players in history. His record score of 5,987 points during his career made him a legend in the world of basketball.
8. The Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic
The Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic will involve players four American university teams: Manhattan College, College of the Holy Cross, Towson University and La Salle University. The tournament will take place over two days, with two games on Saturday and two games on Sunday to decide the tournament winners. Over 1,000 players, cheer teams, bands, supporters and alumni from these universities known for their high level of basketball will come to Northern Ireland to cheer on their favourite teams as they go head-to-head to compete in the first of its kind competitive collegiate basketball tournament.
Child tickets cost £11.50, adult tickets start from £16 and family tickets start from £42. A range of discounted tickets are also available for group bookings and can be purchased by visiting www.belfastbasketballclassic.com.