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Basketball is a team sport in which ten players, five on a side, opposing one another on a rectangular court, have in play the primary objective to shoot 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.

The five players on a each side at a time fall into five positions player positions: the tallest player is usually the center, the tallest and strongest is the power forward, a slightly shorter but more agile big man is the small forward, and the shortest players or the best ball handlers are the shooting guard and the point guard, who implements the coach's game plan by managing the execution of offensive and defensive plays (player positioning). Informally, players may play three-on-three, two-on-two, and one-on-one.

Invented in 1891 by Canadian—American gym teacher James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts, basketball has evolved to become one of the world's most popular and widely viewed sports. The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the most significant professional basketball league in the world in terms of popularity, salaries, talent, and level of competition. Outside North America, the top clubs from national leagues qualify to continental championships such as the Euroleague and FIBA Americas League. The FIBA Basketball World Cup and Men's Olympic Basketball Tournament are the major international events of the sport and attract top national teams from around the world. Each continent hosts regional competitions for national teams, like EuroBasket and FIBA AmeriCup.

The FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup and Women's Olympic Basketball Tournament feature top national teams from continental championships. The main North American league is the WNBA (NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship is also popular), whereas strongest European clubs participate in the EuroLeague Women.

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The Toronto Raptors are a professional basketball team based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They are part of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association. The team was established in 1995, along with the Vancouver Grizzlies, as part of the NBA's expansion into Canada. When the Grizzlies relocated to Memphis, Tennessee in 2001, the Raptors became the only Canadian team in the NBA. Like most expansion teams, the Raptors struggled in their early years; but after the acquisition of Vince Carter through a draft day trade in 1998, the team set league attendance records and made the NBA Playoffs in 2000, 2001, and 2002. After Carter left, Chris Bosh emerged as the team leader. With the appointment of Bryan Colangelo as General Manager and a revamp of the roster for the 2006–07 season, they qualified for their first playoff berth in five years and captured their first division title. In the following season, they advanced to the playoffs again. In a bid to persuade Bosh to stay beyond the final year of his contract, the team had a roster overhaul in the 2009–10 season. However, the attempt to make the playoffs was unsuccessful and Bosh signed with the Miami Heat in July 2010, ushering in a new era for the franchise.

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Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is a retired American professional basketball player. Widely considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time, he became one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation and was instrumental in popularizing the NBA (National Basketball Association) around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. Jordan joined the NBA's Chicago Bulls in 1984 and quickly emerged as one of the stars of the league. His leaping ability, illustrated by performing slam dunks from the foul line at Slam Dunk Contests, earned him the nicknames "Air Jordan" and "His Airness". Jordan's individual accolades and accomplishments include five NBA MVP (Most Valuable Player) awards, ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine All-Defensive First Team honors, fourteen NBA All-Star Game appearances and three All-Star MVPs, ten scoring titles, three steals titles, six NBA Finals MVP awards, and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. He holds the NBA record for highest career regular season scoring average with 30.1 points per game, as well as averaging a record 33.4 points per game in the playoffs. In 1999, he was named the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN, and was second to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press's list of athletes of the century.

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