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International Basketball Rules

Basketball was invented in Springfield, Massachusetts by James A. Naismith as a game to provide recreation in the winter to athletes who were forced to remain indoors because of the weather. Naismith's game caught on in the United States and eventually became a major sport at the high school, collegiate and professional level. Eventually, the sport took off internationally as well. The international game is administered by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and has some differences from the American game.

Trapezoid Lane
One of the most notable differences between international basketball and the American game is the shape of the free throw lane. While the lane is long and rectangular in American basketball, it is angled into a trapezoid in the international game. The area closest to the endline is angled away from the basket, making it more difficult for the closer player to get the rebound.

Playing Time
International basketball games are shorter than American professional basketball games. In international basketball, teams play four 10-minute quarters. In the American game, teams play four 12-minute quarters. There is a break of two minutes between the first and second quarters, and again between the third and fourth quarters. There is a 15-minute break at halftime.

Player Fouls
In international basketball, a player who has committed five fouls is considered to have fouled out and must be substituted for immediately. Players may not stay on the court and argue the foul call. In American professional basketball, a player is allowed to play with five fouls, and does not foul out until he commits his sixth foul.