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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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Chris Bosh.jpg

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 in 1987
Credit: Steve Lipofsky

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

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Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan (born 1976) is a Virgin Islander American professional basketball player for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The 6'11" (2.11 m), 260-pound (118 kg) power forward/center is a four-time NBA champion, a three-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, and the current captain of the Spurs. He has also won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award twice, and has been voted into 11 NBA All-Star Games, 11 All-NBA Teams, and 11 All-Defensive Teams. Duncan graduated from college before entering the 1997 NBA Draft as the number one pick, and his list of accomplishments and leadership in the Spurs' NBA title runs in 1999, 2003, 2005, and 2007 have led basketball experts to consider him to be one of the greatest power forwards in NBA history. Off the court, Duncan is known for his quiet and unassuming ways, as well as his active philanthropy. He holds an honors degree in psychology and created the Tim Duncan Foundation to raise general health awareness and fund education and youth sports in various parts of the United States.

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