Foul shots count for one point and ordinary field goals,
or "baskets", count for two points. A field
goal is worth three points if it is shot from outside
the three-point field goal line. Play consists of two
20-minute halves, separated by a halftime break.
There are several differences between U.S.
and Olympic basketball. The Olympic court is
slightly smaller than the court used in the
United States. The popular U.S. "alley
oop" shot (a pass received near the basket
rim by a leaping player who jams the ball in
the basket while still in the air) is not allowed
in Olympic play. However, "goal tending," (touching
the ball while it's on the rim) is allowed
in Olympic Games but not in the NBA.
History, and Fast Facts
- For complete information about playing,
coaching, and watching basketball, visit
Athletics Center: Basketball page.
- Did you know that James Naismith invented
basketball with hoops made of peach baskets?
Find out more on the history of basketball
at the USOC site,
learn more about the athletes or read up
on the rules of the game.
- The official site of the Games, the Athens
2004 site, contains schedules, rules,
and a look at the best competition around
- The world's ruling body for basketball,
Basketball Federation , and U.S.A.
Basketball will keep you informed of
news about amateur athletes and national
- The I.O.C.
Basketball site has history and
- Check out the Basketball
Mania site made for kids and by kids.
General Sports Links
Olympians will compete in dozens of sports this summer. Even though Gateway
to the Summer Games can't feature them all, you can learn about each and
every one by visiting the sites listed below.