Basketball was invented by Dr. James Naismith in 1891 at the School for Christian Workers (now Springfield College). In 1915 the rules were standardized, making the game much more recognizable to the game we play today. The first national collegiate tournament was held in Kansas City, Missouri,in 1937. In 1946 the National Basketball Association (NBA) was founded.
The most traditional form of basketball is five-on-five games, which are used at the high school, college and professional ranks. Many recreational forms of basketball exist, including three-on-three, one-on-one and free-form games like "21." Players will also spend time shooting alone to help hone their skills or participate in drills, many of which do not even use a basketball.
A regulation court is 94 feet long and 50 feet wide. Amateur courts exist at 84 feet. The three-point line is a rather new invention in basketball but has greatly changed the way the game is played. The three-point line is longer in the NBA (23 feet, 9 inches from the basket). The college level recently moved the three-point line back to 20 feet, 9 inches while the high school and amateur levels remain at 19-9. The hoop is exactly 10 feet off the ground.
Basketball is a very rewarding game, great for physical exercise as well as for creating lasting relationships. Players, coaches, scouts, general managers, etc., also make a living working in basketball at the professional level.
Generally considered an "American game," basketball was actually created by a Canadian and has worldwide appeal. The appeal has especially grown since foreign players like Yao Ming and Dirk Nowitzki made an impact in the NBA. Today, players from all over the world play the game and many players in the NBA are from countries outside the United States.