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Sport Overview

With the level of competition extremely high – the Americas account for approximately one third of the world’s top 30 basketball nations for both men and women — the athletes offer a highlight-making combination of size, speed, strength and skill. And some of Canada’s top and up-and-coming talent are expected to showcase their skills in 2015.

Brazil had won three straight Pan Am gold medals until 2011 in Guadalajara when Puerto Rico took the title in both the men's and women's competitions, with Mexico placing second. The U.S. won bronze in the men's competition, while Brazil won bronze in the women's.

Michael Jordan is one of many legendary NBA superstars who competed at the Pan American Games. And keep an eye out for Toronto Raptors star Greivis Vasquez, a TO2015 global ambassador who hopes to lead the Venezuelan team in 2015.


The invention of basketball is credited to Canadian James Naismith in 1891, who came up with the game as a way to keep his students fit and warm during cold New England winters. The original game used peach baskets as basketball nets and it wasn’t until 1906 when they were replaced by metal hoops and backboards.

How it works

In this extremely popular and growing sport, two teams of five play on an indoor court measuring 28 metres long by 15 metres wide. The object of the game is to score points by shooting the ball into the opponent’s net, or basket, located 3.05 metres (10 feet) above the floor. Teams receive two points for a regular shot, one point for a free-throw shot and three points for shots beyond the three-point line located 6.75 metres (22.1 feet) from the basket.

Games are comprised of four 10-minute quarters.


Double dribble
Using two hands to dribble the ball, resulting in a violation.

The bounce technique used to move the ball down the court.

A one- or two-handed slam directly into the net.

Free throw
A unopposed throw granted as a result of a foul levied against the other team.

A one-handed shot taken at close range as the player is running toward the basket.

Three-point line
An arc on the floor 6.75 metres (22.1 feet) from the basket, separating three-point shots from two-point shots.

Additional Information

Additional Information