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Basketball pictogram.svg

Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court, compete with the primary objective of shooting a basketball (approximately 9.4 inches (24 cm) in diameter) through the defender's hoop (a basket 18 inches (46 cm) in diameter mounted 10 feet (3.048 m) high to a backboard at each end of the court) while preventing the opposing team from shooting through their own hoop. A field goal is worth two points, unless made from behind the three-point line, when it is worth three. After a foul, timed play stops and the player fouled or designated to shoot a technical foul is given one or more one-point free throws. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but if regulation play expires with the score tied, an additional period of play (overtime) is mandated.

Players advance the ball by bouncing it while walking or running (dribbling) or by passing it to a teammate, both of which require considerable skill. On offense, players may use a variety of shots—the lay-up, the jump shot, or a dunk; on defense, they may steal the ball from a dribbler, intercept passes, or block shots; either offense or defense may collect a rebound, that is, a missed shot that bounces from rim or backboard. It is a violation to lift or drag one's pivot foot without dribbling the ball, to carry it, or to hold the ball with both hands then resume dribbling.

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Wilt Chamberlain3.jpg

Mr. Basketball USA, also known as ESPN RISE National Player of the Year and formerly known as the EA SPORTS National Player of the Year, is an award presented to the United States boys' high school basketball national player of the year by ESPN HS. Before 1996, retroactive recognition has been determined for honorees going back to 1955's selectee Wilt Chamberlain (pictured). From 1996 to 2002 the selections were made by Student Sports and from 2003 to 2009 by EA Sports. According to information posted online by ESPN HS, "Selections are based on high school accomplishment, not future college/pro potential, and are reflective of those that lead their teams to state championships." Furthermore, selection uses "on-the-floor performance" without regard to off-the-court criteria. Current selections are made through a season-long polling process of a 10-member expert panel with a final year-end ballot to determine the winner. The panel is polled weekly for a list of the top seven national player of the year candidates regardless of graduating class.

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Michael Jordan in 1987
Credit: Steve Lipofsky

Michael Jordan going in for a slam dunk with his signature exposed tongue.

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Yao Ming

Yao Ming (born 1980) is a Chinese professional basketball player who plays for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is currently the tallest player in the NBA, at 7 feet 6 inches (2.29 m). Yao, who was born in Shanghai, China, started playing for the Shanghai Sharks as a teenager, and played on their senior team for five years in the Chinese Basketball Association, winning a championship in his final year. He entered the 2002 NBA Draft, and after negotiating with the CBA and the Sharks to secure his release, he was selected by the Houston Rockets as the first overall pick of the draft. He has since been selected to start for the Western Conference in the NBA All-Star Game in all six of his seasons, and has been named to the All-NBA Team four times. However, the Rockets have not advanced past the first round of the playoffs since he joined the team, and he has missed significant time due to injury in each of the past three seasons. Yao is married to Ye Li, a former player for the China women's national basketball team. He is one of China's most well-known athletes, with sponsorships with several major companies, and he has been the richest celebrity in China for five straight years. He has also co-written an autobiography of his life with Ric Bucher, and his rookie year in the NBA was the subject of a documentary film.

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