Basketball has been an Olympic Sport since 1936. Basketball is played in two twenty-minute halves at the Games. The object of basketball is to score a basket at your hoop. The team with the most points at the end of the two halves is the winner of the game. When you have the ball on your side of the basketball court, your team is playing offense, but when the other team has the ball on their side of the court, you’re playing defense. If both teams have the same number of points after the end of regulation, the game will go into a five-minute overtime. The three-point line, or arc, around the hoop is worth three points if the shot is made. It is 6.25 meters for the three-point line. If a shot is made from inside the line, two points are awarded to the team that made the shot. Thirty-six years after basketball entered the Olympic Games as a medal sport for men, the question was who would finish second, not who would win. The U.S. owned the game, and it was not because it was invented here. The United States team finally lost against the Soviet Union in a controversial game in 1972. The Soviet Union won again in 1980. In 1992, the United States team had a “Dream Team” with some of the best-known athletes. Some of them are Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird. They gave a showing of basketball at its best. Women’s basketball hasn’t been such a one-sided affair. The Women’s game joined the Olympic program in 1976. The gold medals have been divided between the Soviet Union, the United States, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States.
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