Story: Basketball

Basketball court

Basketball court

This diagram shows the layout of a basketball court. A game begins on the mid-court line with the tip-off – the referee throws the ball up and a player from each team attempts to get it. The ball is thrown from the baseline or sideline when it goes out of bounds. A basket thrown from outside the three-point arc scores three points. A free throw is awarded for a violation – such as illegal physical contact – and this is taken from the free-throw line.

The players’ positions are usually determined by their height. The tallest player typically plays centre (position 5); medium-sized team members play forwards (positions 3 and 4), and the shortest players are guards (positions 1 and 2). Unlike netball, all players can play in all parts of the court and score points.

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How to cite this page:

John Saker, 'Basketball - Game and structure', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 20 October 2021)

Story by John Saker, published 5 Sep 2013, updated 1 Oct 2015