Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Selected Demographic Characteristics of Male Basketball Players: The Case of China and the USA

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Selected Demographic Characteristics of Male Basketball Players: The Case of China and the USA

Article excerpt

Introduction

On December 21, 1891, James Naismith published rules for a new game using five basic ideas and thirteen rules (Arceri and Bianchini, 2004). Dr. Naismith, with all of his imaginative planning, creativity and innovation could not have dreamed his "Peach Basket" game would develop into the world's greatest indoor sport that it has become today (Harris, 2014). Although the original 13 rules expanded to over 100, the spirit and principles of the original rules are still in effect in today's game. From the original 13 rules, major changes over the years addressed the number of players, the court boundaries, dribbling, and the elimination of the center jump after made baskets. This evolution of the rules and the game led to inter-sectional competitions in the 1930's. This development made it obvious that standardization of rules throughout the world was necessary if the game was to spread to all the corners of the world (Arias et al., 2011).

It has been 126 years of history. Over that period, basketball has become widely popular around the world as evidenced by 213 nations affiliated to the Federation of International Basketball Associations and the over 450 million players that are actively taking part in the sport (Lukosel and Senthilkumar, 2015). As a game, basketball entails finesse, precision and efficient coordination of the technical and tactical exercises including players' physical attributes such as height, size, athleticism and outstanding physical quality (Ştefănescu, 2016). All the players on the team involve themselves in a competitive combat that involves collective teamwork and individual sacrifice and intelligence under conditions of high stress. Given the high pace of the game, dictated by the rapid succession of phases with numerous successes in the offensive game, the game of basketball is one of the most watched in the world. One of the reasons that basketball has become one of the most popular sports in the world is its accessibility in terms of necessary infrastructure and equipment. Additionally, athletes play the game with different characteristics including ability, gender, age, height and size. At the elite level, research on what performance indicators can discriminate winners from losers at the finals of major competitions reveals that successful defensive and offensive rebounding are critical indices for success (Causevic, 2015). These indices therefore influence the type of players on a team and their deployment to maximize on defending under the post and attacking the opponent's post. The key player characteristics that a coach has little control over include height and to some extend size. These physical characteristics, although important, are not coachable and a coach has therefore to select players carefully at the recruitment stage.

Young basketball players yearn to eventually play in the world's most popular and well- paying league which is the NBA. The NBA started in New York City on June 6, 1946, as the Basketball Association of America (BAA) (Koppett, 2007). The league is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in North America and is widely considered the premier men's professional basketball league in the world (Maymin et al., 2013). However, the NBA gets most of its top players from the Intercollegiate Athletics ranks represented by the NCAA and the NAIA, which started in 1906 (Britannica, 2016) and in 1937 (NAIA, 2017) respectively. The Intercollegiate basketball programs are very attractive in the USA because they not only provide a gateway to the professional leagues, but also offer huge scholarships thereby affording talented players a chance to play and also have a shot at getting a degree.

Intercollegiate Athletics is a highly competitive endeavor in the United States of America. Parents strive hard for their child to excel in sports to secure a scholarship to attend a high profile Institution. Coaches use all forms of recruitment strategies to get the highest ranked talents especially in basketball and football (Williams et al. …

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