Basketball in the United States

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Basketball in the United States
Phil Jackson Lipofsky.JPG
CountryUnited States
Governing bodyUSA Basketball
National team(s)United States
National competitions
Club competitions

Of those Americans citing their favorite sport, basketball is ranked second (counting amateur levels) behind American football.[1][2][3] However, in regard to money the NBA is ranked third in popularity.[4] More Americans play basketball than any other team sport, according to the National Sporting Goods Association, with over 26 million Americans playing basketball. Basketball was invented in 1891 by Canadian physical education teacher James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts.[5]


The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the world's premier men's professional basketball league and one of the major professional sports leagues of North America. It contains 30 teams (29 teams in the U.S. and 1 in Canada) that play an 82-game season from October to June. After the regular season, eight teams from each conference compete in the playoffs for the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy.[6][7][8][9] The NBA get high ratings on television.[10][11]

Race and ethnicity[edit]

The composition of race and ethnicity in the National Basketball Association (NBA) has changed throughout the league's history. The NBA in 2015 was composed of 74.4 percent black players, 23.3 percent white players, 1.8 percent Latino players, and 0.2 percent Asian players. The league has the highest percentage of black players of any major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19]

National teams[edit]

Since the 1992 Summer Olympics, NBA players have represented the United States in international competition and won numerous important tournaments. The Dream Team was the unofficial nickname of the United States men's basketball team that won the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics.[20] The Women's national team has won eight gold medals at the Olympics.[21][22]

High school Basketball[edit]

High school Basketball is a popular activity.[23][23][24] The National Federation of State High School Associations featured 541,479 boys and 429,504 girls in basketball teams as of the 2014-15 season.[25]

Many high school basketball teams have intense local followings, especially in the Midwest and Upper South.[citation needed] Indiana has 10 of the 12 largest high school gyms in the United States,[26] and is famous for its basketball passion, known as Hoosier Hysteria.

College Basketball[edit]

College basketball is quite popular and draws TV high ratings. Every March, a 68-team, six-round, single-elimination tournament (commonly called March Madness) determines the national champions of NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship men's college basketball.[8][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34]

Women's Basketball[edit]

The Women's National Basketball Association or WNBA is an organization governing a professional basketball league for women in the United States.[35] The WNBA was formed in 1996 as the women's counterpart to the National Basketball Association, and league play began in 1997.[36] The regular WNBA season is June to September (North American Spring and Summer). Most WNBA teams play at the same venue as their NBA counterparts.[37] The top tier professional Basketball league for females is the WNBA. It is not as popular as its male counterpart.[38][39][40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47] Women's NCAA Basketball is also popular, although less so than men's basketball.[48]

The women's national team has won eight Olympic gold medals and ten FIBA World Cups.


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