The game of basketball was invented by a Canadian, Dr. James A. Naismith, over 100 years ago. In December, 1891, Dr. Naismith invented the game while working as a YMCA instructor in Springfield, Massachusetts. The National Basketball Association now has two Canadian teams, the Vancouver Grizzlies and the Toronto Raptors.
The game of basketball is played by two teams of twelve players each. Only five players per team are allowed on the "court" at one time. They play the five positions: the centre, two forwards and two guards. The object of the game is to throw a ball through a "hoop" or "basket" suspended 10 feet above each end of the court (one hoop for each team), either by shooting or pushing (also called "tipping" or "slamming") the ball into the hoop. Players cannot use physical force (even contact is frowned upon) to defend against the opposition. The player is in possession of the ball cannot hold the ball, except while standing or jumping to shoot. He must "dribble" the ball, by bouncing it off the floor, while moving himself and the ball toward the other team's basket.
The game is extremely fast-paced and requires superior athletic ability and endurance. The sport has several superstars like Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal and Dennis Rodman who are household names around the world.
Basketball does not require much equipment, and can be played almost anywhere. The only basic need is a basketball and a hoop. To play competitive basketball, consider purchasing basketball shoes to provide you with ankle support and on-court traction. You might also find a water bottle handy. When buying basketball shoes for playing indoors playing on a gymnasium floor, get shoes with non-marking soles.
You can buy a basketball at most sports stores here. You need to decide whether you want an indoor or outdoor ball. Indoor balls are usually leather or synthetic leather, which will scuff and wear quickly if used outside. An outdoor ball is more durable, made of rubber or synthetic leather.
Almost every school in the city has either an indoor and outdoor court, if you want to play a game with some friends. Almost every sports or recreation complex has basketball courts (check that they aren't already booked). You can even set up a basketball hoop on your driveway.
There are several options for competitive basketball. If you are still in school (elementary, junior high, high school, college or university), try out for a school team or an intramural league. You can also join a community league sponsored by the Calgary Parks & Recreation (call them at 268-3888). Try Calgary Minor Basketball Association 235-4648 (ages 7 -18) or Calgary Men's Senior Basketball Association (no current phone number)..
You can also watch some exciting basketball action with many local high school, college and university games open to the public. Contact the athletic departments during the particular season for game schedules.