A non-contact sport played on a rectangular court. Opposing teams of five players attempt to score points by shooting a ball into a hoop at the end of the court they are attacking. The sport has been dominated by the United States since its inception.

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The Basics

  • Teams must dribble or pass a ball from one end of a court to another. A team scores by successfully getting the ball through the hoop their opponents are defending. Each basket is worth points and the team with the most points wins.
  • Shots from open play are worth either two points or three points depending on the distance from which the shot is taken. Penalty shots, where opponents cannot attempt to block, are worth one point.
  • Dribbling the ball involves bouncing it against the floor. Penalties are given against players who hold the ball for too long or move without bouncing it. A defending team can turn the ball over by forcing a penalty or by intercepting a pass or shot.


Basketball was first played in Massachusetts in 1891. After twice being used as an Olympic demonstration sport, basketball made its official Olympic debut in 1936. Only four teams have won gold – USA, Argentina, Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. 

Wheelchair basketball has been part of the Paralympics since 1960 and has again been dominated by the Americans, who have won the tournament on eight occasions. Paralympics GB have won eight medals in the sport – three silvers and five bronzes.

The sport is best known for the National Basketball Association (NBA), which has run seasonal competitions since 1950. The Boston Celtics, with 17 championship wins, are the most successful team in the competition’s history. 

Famous Competitors

  • Michael Jordan – despite being predominately an American sport, Jordan is one player whose name and reputation is known around the world, particularly since his appearance in the 1996 film Space Jam. The six-time NBA champion played for the Chicago Bulls for the majority of his career before retiring with the Washington Wizards in 2003.
  • LeBron James – James made his debut the year that Jordan retired and picked up the torch as the face of the sport. James has won three NBA titles, two with Miami Heat and one with Cleveland Cavaliers, whilst he was also part of the Olympic gold medal winning teams in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.    

National Governing Body

England Basketball – please click here for more information.


  • Intra-School Primary: Competition Card
  • Intra-School Primary: Challenge Card
  • Intra-School Secondary 
  • Local Inter-School
  • Inclusive Specific Sport Format

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