Venues: Basketball Arena – Olympic Park (preliminaries, women’s quarter-finals); North Greenwich Arena (men’s quarter-finals and women’s semi-finals onwards)
Dates: Saturday 28 July – Sunday 12 August
Medal events: 2
Athletes: 288 (144 men, 144 women, 12 teams in each event).
Basketball was invented in 1891 by Dr James Naismith, a Canadian physical education teacher who wanted to create a game that could be played indoors during the winter by his students at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The first game, which took place in December 1891, used peach baskets for goals. In the 120 years since these humble beginnings, basketball has grown into one of the most exciting and popular team sports in the world.
Basketball is played by two teams of five players on an indoor court that is 28 metres long and 15m wide. Points are scored by shooting the ball into your opponents’ net (or 'basket'), which has a diameter of 450-459mm and sits on a backboard 3.05m above the floor.
Two points are awarded for a regular shot from open play, with one point for each successful free throw (following an opposition infringement) and three points for a shot from distance (beyond what’s known as the three-point line, 6.75m from the basket). Games last for 40 minutes, split into four 10-minute quarters.
At London 2012, both the men’s and women’s Basketball competitions will begin with a preliminary stage: the 12 teams will be divided into two groups of six, and each team will play every other team in their group. The best eight teams during the preliminaries will qualify for the knockout stage, with the winners of the semi-finals going head-to-head in the gold medal game.
Men’s Basketball first appeared on the Olympic programme at the Berlin 1936 Games, with the women’s event introduced at Montreal 1976. Professional players first competed at the Barcelona 1992, when the famous US ‘Dream Team’ won gold in the men’s event.
At London 2012, the Basketball competition will take place in two venues. All preliminary games, along with the women’s quarter-finals, will take place at the Basketball Arena, a new, purpose-built venue in the Olympic Park. The men’s quarter-finals, plus all semi-finals and medal games, will be held at the state-of-the-art North Greenwich Arena just across the Thames.
Most players get their first taste of the sport at public courts in parks or at school with friends. You can use the Active Places website to find a court near you. If you want to join a club, contact one of the basketball associations in England , Scotland or Wales all of which run grassroots programmes to help people start playing the sport.More information on the sport can be found on the websites of the International Basketball Federation and the British Basketball Federation.
During the London 2012 Games, the Basketball Arena will host Basketball, Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Rugby and the final stages of the Handball competition.
Originally built for the Millennium celebrations, North Greenwich Arena has been transformed into a sports and entertainment arena with shops, restaurants and more.
Name: Michael Jordan
Date of birth: 17 February 1963
Medals 2 Gold
Michael ‘Air’ Jordan is a legendary name in Basketball. With the highest point-scoring average in NBA history, he helped to spread the sport’s popularity all around the world. Michael was famously one of the US ‘Dream Team’ that won gold at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games. But did you know that he also played in the 1984 gold medal-winning team during his college days? After 1992, Michael briefly retired from Basketball to play professional Baseball with the Chicago White Sox.
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Name: Ros Mason
Date of birth: 24 April 1979
Ros is the most capped GB women's player. In 2006 Ros played in the England Commonwealth Games team. Ros is a 'Team 2012' athlete - being supported on her quest for success at the 2012 Games.
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