BASKETBALL is one of the fastest and most exciting of all team sports. It requires excellent team-work with coordination between all players. It is desirable that all players have agility, strength, speed and endurance, but there have been many examples of players who succeed at high levels of the sport yet compensate for a lack of athleticism through intelligent application of the basic fundamentals. Before the best cooperation is possible it is necessary that every player must be competent in all phases of the game – in ball handling, dribbling, shooting, rebounding, faking and defending.
As the game itself has evolved, so have the rules, equipment and facilities. The size of the basketball court has varied through history, but it is now regulated by the Federation of International Basketball Associations (FIBA) to a rectangular shape 28 metres long and 15 metres wide. While the dimensions of the court have changed, the height of the basket has remained the same since James Naismith nailed a peach basket 10 feet (3.05m) off the ground along the side of a balcony surrounding the Springfield gym. The dimension of the basketball ring has also remained the same through most of the sport's history, but in the early days when netball, a derivation of basketball was played, there were differences.
It is not known exactly when basketball was introduced to Australia, although there is evidence the game was being played in 1905 and it is now, more than 100 years later, one of the most popular participation sports in the country. Despite Australia's relative isolation geographically and its relatively small population, basketball in this country has evolved from a very small beginning to the point that Australia's teams are among the elite at international level.
Despite Australia's relative isolation geographically and also with a relatively small population, basketball has evolved from a very small beginning to a major sport competing well internationally in all levels. Australia was first represented in the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956 finishing a creditable 12th ahead of Singapore, Korea and Thailand. The United States won the gold medal as they had done in 1948, and 1952. There was no Olympic Games in 1940, or 1944 due to the second world war. The Soviet Union won the silver medal and Uruguay the bronze which were the same places they occupied in the 1952 Olympic Games.