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1[[quoteright:320:https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/basketball_5857.jpeg]]˛[[caption-width-right:320:''Nothin' but net.'']]˛˛->''Basketball is my favorite sport,\˛I like the way they dribble up and down the court,\˛Just like I'm the king on the microphone,\˛So is Dr. J and Moses Malone,\˛I like slam dunks, that take me to the hoop,\˛My favorite play is the alley-oop,\˛I like the pick-and-roll, I like the give-and-go,\˛'Cause it's basketball, uh, Mister Kurtis Blow!\˛They're playing basketball, We love that basketball!˛-->--'''Kurtis Blow''', "Basketball"˛˛''[[Main/LampshadeHanging *BZZZT!* Now explaining basketball, Number 1, TV Tropes!]]''˛˛Basketball. One of the Big Four team sports in the United States (rubbing shoulders with the likes of UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball, UsefulNotes/{{Baseball}}, and UsefulNotes/IceHockey are the others) and one of the most popular sports worldwide, basketball has as rich and interesting of a history as one ''expects'' it to have.˛˛Basketball was created in 1891 by James Naismith, a [[UsefulNotes/{{Canada}} Canadian]]-born physical fitness professor at a Massachusetts school; he wanted to find a way to allow his students to exercise indoors during the cold New England winters. After coming up with a game that would involve throwing a ball into a raised goal, he looked for some boxes for goals, but [[SerendipityWritesThePlot could only find peach baskets to nail up.]]˛˛Thus, basketball, in its earliest recorded form, was born.˛˛Modern basketball got its start in 1954, when Danny Biasone and Leo Ferris promoted the 24-second shot clock (technically, neither invented the shot clock, but the 24-second duration was their idea);[[note]]While newspaper accounts of the day gave most of the credit to Ferris, Biasone ended up with most of the credit in later decades. Ferris left basketball for good shortly before the NBA introduced the shot clock, and fell fatally ill right at the time he was starting to get some recognition for the clock.[[/note]] a team with the ball has 24 seconds to attempt a shot that at least touches the rim.[[note]]As long as a shot leaves the shooter's hand before the clock runs out, a made shot counts, and one that hits the rim resets the clock. Currently, the shot clock resets fully after a made basket or defensive rebound, but only to 14 seconds in the NBA and 20 seconds in NCAA play on offensive rebounds.[[/note]] Before the shot clock, many teams would stall as long as they could, resulting in non-eventful and extremely tedious games, to the point where some quarters would be 0-0, with one really low point involving a game with a scoring total of 19-18. After the National Basketball Association implemented the shot clock and overhauled the foul system--creating the fast paced game we know today--attendance at NBA games rose by 40%.˛˛The objective of Basketball is for one of two teams to have the highest point total by the end of the game. Basketball teams are made up of fifteen players, with ten players, split into two teams of five, on the court at any given time, with the remaining members on the bench. Each of these five players fills a certain position upon the court, along with their own responsibilities. These player positions include the '''Point Guard''' (the team's best passer and ballhandler, responsible for pushing the ball up the court and start either the offensive or defensive wheels turning) the '''Shooting Guard''' (not necessarily a great ballhandler, but more than makes up for it in their ability to score from a variety of distances), the '''Center''' (the team's Big Guy, focused less on scoring and more on gaining or regaining possession of the ball, whether on offense or defense), the '''Small Forward''' (the team's all-rounder, with particular strengths in ballhandling and opening possible scoring opportunities from within the three-point line) and the '''Power Forward''' (similar to the Center in stature and purpose, but is normally athletic enough to move with some quickness around or within the opposing team, whether on offense or defense). In play diagrams, these individuals are often designated by numbers—point guard 1, shooting guard 2, small forward 3, power forward 4, center 5. However, the boundaries between many of these positions have become increasingly blurred in recent years. Many teams below the professional level choose to field three or even four guards, with the remaining player(s) christened with the simple title of"frontcourt". Common positional "blurs" include:˛* Swingman or wing – Players capable of fulfilling both small forward and shooting guard responsibilities. More often than not will implement a mixture of the former two in their playstyle. ˛* Forward-center – Almost ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin; Almost always someone who can play power forward or center, or, similar to the aforementioned Wing, mixes their two prime positions. ˛* Combo guard or lead guard – Capable of playing both guard positions.˛* Point forward – As the name implies, a small forward who possesses strong enough ballhandling skills and general knowledge of the game's fundamentals to be able to run a team's offence and defence as a point guard.˛* Stretch four – Combination of power forward and small forward. The concept is that of a power forward ("four") able to "stretch" the opposing team's defence by being able to shoot from outside the three-point line; all leagues award three points instead of the standard two for shots taken behind a designated line on the floor. A related and even more recent innovation is the "stretch five", a center who's a legitimate threat beyond the line.˛˛There's a lot more to this than can be gone into depth - [[Wiki/{{Wikipedia}} The Other Wiki]] has a long, detailed article on basketball's history, rules, regulations, controversies, conundrums, crowning moments, and players of note.˛˛Competitively, basketball is played worldwide on near-all levels. However, it is most popular in North America, where it, over the past fifty years, has steadfastly been neck-and-neck with baseball for second place, after American Football; the Philippines, where it's by far the most popular sport; and the Baltics, with Latvia winning the first ever Eurobasket and hosting it in 2015, producing several European basketball and NBA stars like Jānis Krūmiņš, Maigonis Valdmanis, Valdis Muižnieks, Valdis Valters, Igors Miglinieks, Gundars Vētra, Andris Biedriņš, Kristaps Porziņģis and Dāvis Bertāns, and ASK Riga winning the [=EuroLeague=] three times in a row before becoming defunct, and Lithuania winning Eurobasket three times, hosting it twice, winning the [=EuroLeague=] once, earning 8 other medals in the Eurobasket, the World Championships and the Olympic Games, the men's national team having extremely high TV ratings with three quarters of the country's population watching their games live in 2014, and producing several NBA players, including the father-and-son pair of Arvydas and Domantas Sabonis, Šarūnas Marčiulionis, and Jonas Valančiūnas. The elder Sabonis and Marčiulionis are both in the Naismith Hall of Fame.˛˛International basketball is governed by FIBA (A name taken from the French acronym for "International Basketball Federation", Fédération Internationale de BAsketball; pronounced FEE-ba), a body based in Switzerland.[[note]]FIBA originally stood for "International Amateur Basketball Federation". When the international game opened itself to professional players, the governing body dropped "Amateur" from its name, but kept the acronym because it still worked in French.[[/note]] Near-all leagues around the world play under FIBA's rules, with the main exceptions being those based in the U.S. The Philippine Basketball Association uses a mashup of FIBA and NBA rules. That said, the rule sets aren't all that different. The main differences in the rule sets are:˛* Duration: FIBA splits its regulation games into four 10-minute quarters, as do U.S. college women's basketball and the WNBA. College men's basketball uses two 20-minute halves; the NBA and PBA use four 12-minute quarters. All of the named rule sets have 5-minute overtime periods, with the game ending only when one team has a higher score than the other.˛* Shot clock: 24 seconds for all professional play, 30 seconds in college (men's and women's).˛* Fouling out: Players are disqualified from the game on their fifth personal foul [[note]]the most commonly-distributed foul in the sport, usually given upon a player intentionally making bodily contact with another[[/note]] in FIBA and U.S. college play. In the NBA, WNBA, and PBA, players have to commit six.˛* Size of the court: FIBA's is slightly smaller, being about 2 feet (70 cm) shorter and 9 inches (22 cm) narrower than those used in U.S. college and professional play.˛* Three-point arc: In increasing order of distance from the basket, it's U.S. college women, FIBA, and NBA. The PBA, WNBA, and NCAA men use FIBA's arc (though in the corners, the WNBA uses the NBA arc instead of FIBA's).˛* The rule sets also have subtle differences that affect when teams get to shoot free throws instead of putting the ball back into play, with a new shot clock. (If a player is fouled while shooting, he or she always gets to shoot free throws—one if the basket was made, and two or three if the basket attempt was missed.) While these differences are too involved for this page, suffice it to say that they can significantly affect late-game strategies.˛˛!! Professional Basketball in America: The NBA˛˛Naturally, the US is where all the top basketball talent in the world goes: it's where the spectators and the money are. As such, the NBA is without dispute the best and most popular basketball league in the world. The section on the NBA got so long and unwieldy that we [[UsefulNotes/NationalBasketballAssociation gave the league its own page]].˛˛!! Other Popular Basketball Leagues˛˛[[folder:Basketball Around the World]]˛The NBA is so famous around the world that fans tend to forget that there are basketball leagues in other countries. Here is a list of other countries with a strong basketball presence.˛˛* Lithuania: A former Soviet Republic where basketball seems to be the only sport practiced. Some famous NBA players were born here, including [=LeBron=]'s buddy Žydrūnas Ilgauskas, and the legendary Arvydas Sabonis (7'3"), who could have been the best player ever if he hadn't often been injured.[[note]] He still had the best stats in NBA for the minutes he was playing at age 35, after suffering a rupture of both Achilles tendons, and was then basically playing without jumping nor running. In fact, when he came to Portland in 1995, the Blazers' team doctor told the GM that Sabonis ''would qualify for a {{handicapped|Badass}} parking space based solely on his leg X-rays!''[[/note]] A few other Lithuanians, among them Arvydas' son Domantas, play in the NBA; many others play in major European teams. The domestic league is usually a battle between Žalgiris, the elder Sabonis' old club from Kaunas, and Rytas, from the capital city of Vilnius.˛* Spain: Won the 2006 World Championship (now World Cup), 2009 and 2013 European Championships, and 2019 World Cup. Have reached at least the semifinals in the last nine [=EuroBasket=] editions, and lost against the U.S.A. in the last two Olympic finals. Country of Pau Gasol, Catalonia-born ex-forward of the Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs, and now with the Milwaukee Bucks; his brother, Marc Gasol, ex-forward-center of the Lakers and Grizzlies, now with the Toronto Raptors; 2019 World Cup MVP Ricky Rubio, now of the Phoenix Suns; and Serge Ibaka (born in the Republic of the Congo, but naturalized in Spain), shot-blocking wizard for the Raptors who made his name with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Spain's domestic league, Liga ACB,[[note]]"ACB" is the Spanish initialism for "Association of Basketball Clubs"[[/note]] is often considered the world's top league outside the NBA, with three especially prominent teams: the basketball squads of Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, plus standalone basketball club Baskonia.˛* Greece: Another major country. Two major teams (Panathinaikos and Olympiacos' basketball clubs) fight every year for the conquest of the local title (like they do in pretty much every other sport both are involved, in fact) and are top contenders on the continental level, having won nine [=EuroLeagues=] together. Greek supporters really are {{hot|Blooded}}. Treated former Atlanta Hawks and current Phoenix Suns player Josh Childress [[LikeAGodToMe as a god]] when he went to Greece to play for Olympiacos. Currently, the country's best-known player is the Bucks' "Greek Freak", UsefulNotes/GiannisAntetokounmpo.[[note]]rough pronunciation: YAH-nis AH-day-toh-KOON-boh, though nowadays [[FirstNameBasis YAH-nis will do]]. He and his four brothers are children of Nigerian parents; the spelling is a romanized Greek version of the Yoruba (his father's ethnicity) "Adetokunbo".[[/note]]˛* Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia: Formerly known altogether as Yugoslavia, they are, along with Team USA, the most successful team in Basketball World Cups, each with 5 golds. Always have a tough national team, and they are able to beat almost anybody, even after the collapse of the original country. Home to players like Darko Miličić, Peja Stojaković, Goran Dragić, and Luka Dončić, known for their tenacity and accuracy beyond the three-point line. Slovenia are the reigning European champions, winning the 2017 [=EuroBasket=] behind Dragić (who had previously announced this would be his international finale) and then-teenage sensation Dončić.˛** While they were still Yugoslavia, their team was dominated by close friends Vlade Divac (a Serb) and Dražen Petrović (a Croat) who were later both signed to the NBA, but after the split of Yugoslava and Divac throwing a Croatian flag[[note]]Divac claimed in an ESPN ''30 for 30'' documentary that if the guy who approached the team on the floor was waving a ''Serbian'' flag, he would still have thrown it to the ground, because he wasn't too happy with that basketball game being politicized as it was[[/note]], the two stopped talking and Divac was never able to patch up his relationship with Petrović before Petrović died in a [[DownerEnding car accident in Germany]].˛* Italy & France: Countries with ups and downs. Italy was the silver medal winner in the 2004 Olympics, losing to Argentina in the Gold Medal game. France is currently the nationality second most represented in the NBA (after the U.S.A. itself). Tony Parker is also famous for his [[strike:wife]] [[Creator/EvaLongoria ex-wife]], and Joakim Noah (born in New York City and mostly raised in the US) is also famous for his dad, former tennis star Yannick Noah.˛* Russia/Soviet Union: As often in sport. The most famous Russian player, the now-retired Andrei Kirilenko, best known for his long tenure with the Utah Jazz, is known to love puns: he chose number 47 because of his initials.˛* Angola: Angola is the dominant country in African basketball, as is...˛* Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico being dominant in Central American basketball. Their greatest feat was in the 2004 Olympics where they soundly beat seemingly unbeatable Team USA in the group stage.˛** Puerto Rico is a US territory and people born there are automatically US citizens. It came as no surprise to astute observers that a Puerto Rican basketball team could go toe-to-toe with one from the rest of the US.˛* Argentina: Dominates the sport in South America—or at least did until the core players from their heyday in the early 21st century got old, though they're still no pushovers, as evidenced by a silver medal at the 2019 World Cup. Was the first world champion, and grabbed the Olympic gold in Athens 2004. Were FIBA's #1 after the Beijing Olympics, but now are #4. Better known for Manu Ginóbili, recently retired from the San Antonio Spurs, the leader of the 2004 gold-medal team who also made it into the World Championship All-Tournament team twice, in 2002 and 2006.˛** Before Argentina, there was Brazil: A potency in the 1950s and 1960s, with two World Championships and two Olympic bronzes (plus a third in 1948). In the 80s and 90s, it was the team of Oscar Schmidt, who holds the world record for points scored with 49,702[[note]]the NBA's leader, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had 38,387[[/note]], many of them thanks to his three-point shooting proficiency. But the team has struggled since Schmidt's retirement in 1996, specially because volleyball started to take basketball's popularity in Brazil. However, the country brought out some good NBA players in Nenê, Leandro Barbosa, Anderson Varejão and Tiago Splitter[[note]]Quick bit of trivia: Schmidt himself was picked by the New Jersey Nets in the 1984 Draft, but he refused because he wanted to keep playing for the Brazilian team - at the time, since international basketball was amateur, NBA players could not represent their countries in the international arena[[/note]], and they qualified for the 2012 Olympics after three non-appearances - in which Brazil nearly trumped rival Argentina in the quarterfinals.˛* Germany: "Discovered" basketball with Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki (though there was Detlef Schrempf before him, Nowitzki managed to overshadow his notability); now are a regular team.˛* Turkey: They may have only four or five notable teams found in this country (Anadolu Efes and Fenerbahçe usually being the big two, with Beşiktaş gaining some recent notice due to them grabbing big-name NBA players like Allen Iverson and Deron Williams, and Galatasaray and Karşıyaka also picking up recent titles), but they also have some good players that came from there like Hedo Türkoğlu, Mehmet Okur, Ersan İlyasova, Ömer Aşık, Semih Erden, and recent Turk Enes Kanter. Basically, they gained interest in basketball starting in 2001 when they got a silver medal in the European Tournament and will more likely than not gain ''more'' interest with ''another'' silver medal while being the hosts for the 2010 FIBA World Championships.˛* Israel: Or, should we say, Maccabi Tel Aviv. Historically the best team on the Israeli league by far (with 49 state championships!), Maccabi has 6 European championships, a highly devoted fanbase, and a reputation as "the country's team" (of course, it helps them that the Israeli national team kinda sucks). Naturally, the other teams don't like Maccabi. The first Israeli player to play the NBA is Omri Casspi, who played for Sacramento before a last-minute (er, last-pre-lockout-day) trade forced him to move to Cleveland.˛* China: China has a few professional leagues, but the most popular is the Chinese Basketball Association[[note]](in fact, China's hoping to having the CBA become the second-best professional basketball league around behind the NBA)[[/note]]. They had a few players from China's CBA playing in the NBA, such as the first Chinese NBA player Wang Zhizhi (of Bayi), first Chinese NBA starter and NBA Finals champion Mengke Bateer[[note]]of the 2002-03 San Antonio Spurs[[/note]], and Yi Jianlian (from Guangdong), but the best one to come out of there was Yao Ming, a former player and current owner of the CBA's Shanghai Sharks. [[FollowTheLeader The NBA gained many Chinese fans from Yao Ming playing in Houston, but when Yao announced his retirement in 2011, some of those same fans no longer bothered with that league.]] The best two teams from their CBA are the Bayi (Army Shanglu) Rockets and the Guangdong (Winnerway Hongyuan) Southern Tigers, the latter of which ''always'' makes it to the playoffs. Aside from the two years when Yao's Shanghai Sharks or Stephon Marbury's Beijing Ducks won it all, it's always either Bayi or the Southern Tigers that end up winning it all in that league. You could say that those two teams are like the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers of China. The CBA gained notice internationally when former NBA All-Stars -- and polarizing players -- Stephon Marbury, Steven Francis, Tracy [=McGrady=], and Gilbert Arenas all went to the CBA after they were unable to find NBA teams who would hire them, joined by some NBA players who went to the CBA during the lockout. Since China knew about their situation, they installed a new rule where any (non-Chinese) NBA player who enters the CBA will stay there for the rest of their season -- sometime in February or March, depending on where teams place. China's considered the best basketball country in Asia, but when the Chinese end up coming together for some FIBA World or Olympic challenges... let's just say they don't stack up all that well when compared to other countries. And at the continental level, they now have to tangle with Australia, since FIBA now holds a single regional championship for its Asia and Oceania zones. The first combined continental men's championship in 2017 was won by the Aussies.˛** A key note is that in China's state-directed sports system, athletes are chosen from a very young age and sent to sports academies--for instance, Yao Ming was selected at age nine. With very few exceptions, only the graduates of the sports academies are allowed to go into professional sports in the PRC. One of the main problems with this vis-a-vis basketball is that the Chinese academies seem to think that "tall=good at basketball", meaning that many talented players never get a chance to play simply because they aren't flat-out giants. Jeremy Lin, at 6'3", would never have been considered if he had been born in, say, Zhejiang (where his maternal grandmother was born) rather than Los Angeles.[[note]]We are aware that Lin is Taiwanese; however, this was a common point raised in the commentary during the aforementioned "Linsanity".[[/note]] On the flip side, some people get picked for the academies who just aren't cut out to play pro basketball; even some who would be qualified can't handle the pressure of the academy system and burn out before they hit the big time. Between these two factors, Chinese basketball suffers greatly.˛* Australia: Basketball gained considerable popularity in the early 90s, with Michael Jordan being named as young Australians' favourite sportsman (to the alarm of some people who didn't like the fact that an American got top spot) and the local National Basketball League airing on prime-time TV. After Jordan's retirement, it declined in popularity, with several NBL teams merging or folding, including the Sydney Kings and Brisbane Bullets, which left the league without teams in two of the country's three largest cities (although the Kings eventually made a comeback). It remains popular at grass-roots level, though. Notable Australian basketballers include former stars Luc Longley and Andrew Gaze, and present stars Patty Mills (the first [[UsefulNotes/AustralianAborigines Aboriginal Australian]] ''and'' [[UsefulNotes/TorresStraitIslanders Torres Strait Islander]][[note]](Aboriginal mother, Torres Strait Islander father)[[/note]] to win an NBA championship), Andrew Bogut (who briefly returned to the NBA to close out the 2018–19 season after being named NBL MVP), Dante Exum, and Ben Simmons. Also, the Australia squad for the 2014 FIBA World Cup featured five players who were either already in the NBA or signed with a team for the following season. Emerging superstar Kyrie Irving was born in Australia while his father was playing in the NBL, but his parents (both Americans) returned stateside when he was two years old, and he's playing international ball for Team USA. Notably, the Australian men's basketball system is surprisingly well-integrated with that of the US—all of the Aussies named in this section except Exum played college ball in the States, and Exum and Simmons are the Australia-born sons of American players.˛** National team-wise, the male "Boomers" have nothing on the female "Opals". The Australian women - which have included WNBA stars Lauren Jackson, Penny Taylor, Sandy Brondello (now the Opals' head coach), and Liz Cambage - won medals in all Olympics from 1996 to 2012, and the 2006 World Championship.˛* Philippines: the Philippines is a basketball-mad country, owing largely to it being a former colony of the United States. You can find a basketball court just about anywhere, and basketball at the college and high school levels have the same fervor one can find with the US NCAA. The Philippines prides itself with having Asia's first professional basketball league -- the Philippine Basketball Association, which is the ''second oldest pro league'' after the NBA. The PBA is composed entirely of corporate teams: i.e., instead of the team name being based on their home city like NBA clubs, PBA clubs have team names such as Toyota (the auto maker) or San Miguel (beer and food). The country also has the semipro Philippine Basketball League (PBL) and the PBA's own in-house D-League, as well as now-defunct leagues that either preceded the PBA, or were competing against it.˛** The Philippines is a major power within Southeast Asia ([=ASEAN=]), having won the gold medal in almost every Southeast Asian regional meet. They were also a major player in the much wider Asian basketball tournaments in the 1960s to early 1970s, though they were gradually overtaken by China and other nations. The Philippine national team has finally managed to climb back to its former position as a major power when they were able to end the country's Asian medal drought with a silver medal finish at the 2013 FIBA Asian Championship. ˛*** The following year, they kept up with four of the best national teams in the world before winning their first Basketball World Cup game in '''''40 years''''', all in underdog fashion, and the "Most Valuable Fans" Award for their [[UndyingLoyalty incredible devotion of Filipino fans to basketball and to their national team]].˛** Suffering a major setback because of level of play, Filipino-Americans who can't crack the NBA or even the NBA G League go to the PBA to continue playing, and those same players are being used to compete internationally.˛* Also of note is the [=EuroLeague=], basketball's equivalent to the UsefulNotes/UEFAChampionsLeague. Although it began under the control of FIBA's European section, it's been operated by the big European clubs throughout this century. The competition involves 16 teams, 11 of which are shareholders in the competition's governing body, Euroleague Basketball (not in camel case). The other five consist of four invited teams, based on performance in domestic leagues, plus the winner of the previous season of Euroleague Basketball's second-tier [=EuroCup=] (analogous to football's Europa League). Since the 2016–17 edition, these teams play a full home-and-away league, with the top four teams advancing to the Final Four, run in the same manner as the NCAA version except that the [=EuroLeague=] still plays a third-place game. The 11 long-term licensees are:˛** Greece: Olympiacos, Panathinaikos˛** Israel: Maccabi Tel Aviv˛** Italy: Olimpia Milano˛** Lithuania: Žalgiris˛** Russia: CSKA Moscow˛** Spain: Baskonia, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid˛** Turkey: Anadolu Efes, Fenerbahçe˛˛The main national championships are the FIBA Basketball World Cup (renamed from "World Championship" after the 2010 edition) for men, the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup (renamed from "World Championship for Women" after the 2014 edition), and the Summer Olympics for both sexes. All but one of the most recent editions of each championship were won by Team USA—the 2018 Women's World Cup in Spain and both competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Spain won the 2019 men's World Cup in China; Team USA finished ''seventh'' after enough NBA superstars to fill a squad passed on the event. The next Summer Olympics will be in 2021 in Tokyo (delayed from 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, though it will still be called the "2020 Olympics"); the next Women's World Cup will be in 2022 in one or more countries to be determined; and the next men's World Cup will be cohosted by Indonesia, Japan, and the Philippines in 2023, with the Philippines hosting the knockout stage. ˛[[/folder]]˛˛[[folder:College Basketball]]˛˛Like American football, basketball took shape in colleges and universities. Other similarities: the college game was once the biggest draw until the pro game took over, and the college game still has a unique appeal.˛˛From the huge arena to the small gymnasium, fans cheer for their teams, the school bands play music, and mascots do their thing. Experiences vary per institution.˛˛Games are divided into two 20-minute halves (for men only; the women's game was changed to 10-minute quarters in 2015–16), the shot clock was shortened from 35 seconds to 30 for the 2015–16 season[[note]]not added until 1985, an originally 45 seconds[[/note]] (hence the relatively low scoring), and each team is given four timeouts in a game[[note]]down from five prior to 2015–16[[/note]]. Effective with the 2020–21 season, the college three-point line in men's play will be the same as FIBA's (in 2019–20, only NCAA Division I men used FIBA's arc). The women's arc remains shorter than the FIBA or NBA arcs. The style of play and the overall feeling of watching a game are refreshingly different.˛˛Most American players in the NBA, along with some foreigners, played in college before going pro. In the late '90s and early '00s, however, there was a trend for many players to declare for the draft right after high school. To prevent this, the NBA made a rule in 2005 that all players must be 19 or older during the calendar year of the draft, and additionally players (of any nationality) who complete high school in the U.S., ''or'' enroll in a U.S. college or university, must be one year out of high school before entering the draft. It's debatable whether this is for better or for worse.˛˛There are 1,400-or-so four-year colleges in the United States[[note]]Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, just outside Vancouver, is the NCAA's sole non-American school. The University of the Bahamas is reportedly seeking NAIA membership, and the Mexican school CETYS is reportedly seeking NCAA membership.[[/note]] who field varsity basketball teams. Around 1,100 of them are members of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), which splits its membership into three divisions. Most of the rest belong to the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics). [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters Around 350 schools' teams]] make up NCAA Division I, the top level of college basketball.[[note]]As of the upcoming 2020–21 season, 356 on the men's side, and 354 women's teams: Virginia Military Institute and The Citadel, being predominantly male [[MilitaryAcademy military academies]], don't have women's teams.[[/note]] All of them[[note]]The last D-I school to compete as a basketball independent was NJIT, or the New Jersey Institute of Technology, which [[TheScrappy got left behind]] in the early-2010s conference realignment shuffle and was forced to play the 2013–14 and 2014–15 seasons as such. They finally found a home in the Atlantic Sun Conference, and have since moved on to the America East Conference.[[/note]] play in one of 32 conferences. After each team has played somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 games each season, each conference has its own tournament, and the champion of each conference tournament is assured a place in the NCAA tournament. Through the 2015–16 season, the UsefulNotes/IvyLeague granted its automatic bid to the team with the best record,[[note]]though occasionally one-game playoffs were needed when there was a tie, as in 2011 and 2015[[/note]] but the Ivies started holding their own conference tournament in 2016–17.˛˛Prominent programs in the NCAA historically include, but are not limited to, these teams. These are the eight who have (officially) won at least three NCAA tournaments. The Louisville Cardinals had also won three, but were stripped of their 2013 title after the NCAA found that a program staffer had paid a local madam thousands of dollars to provide [[HookersAndBlow strippers and prostitutes]] to players and recruits over a four-year period that included the championship team.˛˛'''Duke Blue Devils''' - UNC's most geographically direct and most ''vehemently'' hated rivals, they have been coached since 1981 by Mike Krzyzewski ("shi-shef-skee"[[note]]only a very loose approximation of the actual Polish pronunciation[[/note]]), often referred to as Coach K.[[note]]He has also coached the US national men's basketball team in various positions since 1979, including being an assistant coach at the 1992 UsefulNotes/OlympicGames (the Dream Team) and head coach since 2006 (including the 2008 Olympic Redeem Team and 2012 Olympic Small-Ball Dream Team)[[/note]] In 2015, Coach K became the first men's head coach with 1,000 career NCAA Division I wins.[[note]]Not the first NCAA Division I coach with 1,000 wins—we'll get to the first later. He ''is'' the D-I men's coach with the most wins at one school—but only because the NCAA ordered more than 100 of Jim Boeheim's wins at Syracuse vacated; Coach K began his coaching career at Army.[[/note]] With just four Final Four appearances before Coach K came to Durham, they made it 13 times in the last 30 years, including five national championships. Duke players (Christian Laettner of the Dream Team, Elton Brand, Shane Battier, Jason Williams, J.J. Redick) aren't superstars in the NBA, though, with the notable exceptions of Mr. NiceGuy Grant Hill, Kyrie Irving (who only spent one year at the school),[[note]] He actually only played 11 games for the team due to spending most of the season sidelined with a toe injury.[[/note]] and Zion Williamson.˛˛'''Indiana Hoosiers''' - Five-time national champions, they are famous for having been coached from 1972 to 2000 by Bob Knight, who coached them to three of those titles. Knight is as well-known for getting his charges through school as well as his HairTriggerTemper. Indiana's trophy winners at the college level included Scott May and Calbert Cheaney. IU hasn't done much in women's basketball, but the Hoosier women have one ''very'' notable alum—Tara [=VanDerveer=], longtime coach of women's powerhouse Stanford.˛˛'''Kansas Jayhawks''' - Three-time national champions, and arguably more intimately connected with the sport's history than any other college team. The team's very first coach was James Naismith... yes, the very same James Naismith mentioned at the top of this page. Ironically, he was the only Jayhawks head coach to finish his Kansas career with a losing record. Here are just some of their records as of this writing (October 2020):˛* Longest streak of NCAA Tournament appearances: 30˛** The [[UsefulNotes/COVID19Pandemic coronavirus-induced]] cancellation of the 2020 NCAA Tournament interrupted, but didn't end, the streak. The Jayhawks would likely have been the #1 overall seed had the tournament been played.˛* Most winning seasons in Division I history: 99˛* Most conference championships in Division I history: 81˛* Most consecutive regular-season conference championships in Division I (men's) history: 14 (took sole possession of the record from UCLA in 2018; this streak finally ended in the 2018–19 season)˛Four of their head coaches are in the Hall of Fame in that role—Phog Allen (the namesake of their arena), Larry Brown, current North Carolina coach Roy Williams, and current Jayhawks head coach Bill Self. (Naismith is in the Hall as a contributor.) Players? Just to name a few: Clyde Lovellette, UsefulNotes/WiltChamberlain, and Jo Jo White are in the Hall, and other past Jayhawks stars include Danny Manning, Paul Pierce, and Joel Embiid. And that doesn't even get into players who went on to make their mark in coaching, with Adolph Rupp and Dean Smith (whom we'll get to soon) being the most notable.˛˛'''Kentucky Wildcats''' - Coached by the great Adolph Rupp, aka "The Baron of the Bluegrass", from 1931 to 1972. Won eight NCAA tournaments, including four under Rupp. The Wildcats are the only program to have won national titles under five different coaches—Rupp, his successor Joe B. Hall, Rick Pitino, Tubby Smith, and current coach John Calipari. They were the program that lost the 1966 final to the considerably less prestigious Texas Western (now Texas-El Paso, or UTEP), and that's the story in the movie ''Film/GloryRoad''. They are the all-time winningest team in college basketball, and have won more Southeastern Conference titles than any of the other teams... combined. Recently, the Kentucky women's team had been making some strides as well, but the 2015–16 season was a complete off-court cluster***, which had the potential to place them in a DorkAge but ended up as just a temporary blip.˛˛'''North Carolina Tar Heels''' - First and foremost, famous for being UsefulNotes/MichaelJordan's alma mater. The Tar Heels are six-time NCAA champions; Dean Smith, their coach from 1962 to 1997, coached them to two of those, and Roy Williams, their coach since 2003, has led them to three. The Heels had the longest streak ever of consecutive NCAA tournament appearances at 27, making every tournament from 1975 to 2001, before Kansas passed them in 2017. The Carolina women have one national title to their credit (1994).˛˛'''UCLA Bruins''' - In their prime, Lew Alcindor (later known as Creator/KareemAbdulJabbar) or Bill Walton was playing. The late, great John Wooden coached this team from 1949 to 1975. The Bruins hold the (men's) record for longest winning streak: 88 games from 1971 to 1974, with Walton among them. They had a couple of long winning streaks in the future Kareem's time there, too. But more importantly, they have eleven NCAA championships, ten of which were won in Wooden's last twelve seasons as coach.˛˛'''[=UConn=] Huskies''' - Representing the University of Connecticut, the Huskies men were long a regional power in New England for many decades, and the school was also a founding member of the original Big East Conference in 1979. However, [=UConn=] didn't become a national name until the 1990s under coach Jim Calhoun. After falling short of the Final Four throughout that decade, they broke through in 1999, not only reaching the Final Four but also claiming the national title. They went on to win two more titles in 2004 and 2011 under Calhoun. After he retired just before the 2012–13 season, he was replaced by his top assistant (and former [=UConn=] player) Kevin Ollie. After being barred from the 2013 tournament for academic reasons, and being left behind in the conference realignment shuffle of the early 2010s,[[note]]Unlike NJIT, whose conference imploded around it and couldn't find a home, [=UConn=] was instead stuck in the American Athletic Conference, the football rump of the former Big East.[[/note]] they picked up a fourth national title in 2014. Among their star players are Ray Allen and Richard "Rip" Hamilton (the latter a star on the first championship team). As strong as [=UConn=] is in men's basketball, it's even stronger in women's basketball. Led by coach Geno Auriemma, the Huskies[[note]] not Lady Huskies[[/note]] have won ''11'' national titles.[[note]][=UConn=] is the only Division I school to have won the men's and women's NCAA titles in the same season—and the Huskies have done it ''twice''. The only other NCAA school to match the feat is Division II Central Missouri, and Northwestern College of Iowa is the only NAIA school to do it.[[/note]] Speaking of the Big East, [=UConn=] moved to the reconfigured Big East in July 2020, reuniting it with several of its old conference rivals, among them the...˛˛'''Villanova Wildcats''' - One of UsefulNotes/{{Philadelphia}}'s "Big Five" basketball programs,[[note]]the others being La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph's, and Temple[[/note]] [[FanNickname Nova]] has been a power in the region for decades, regularly making NCAA appearances, but made their first major splash in 1971, losing in the championship game to UCLA... though that result would be wiped from the record books when it came out that their biggest star had signed a pro contract during that season. The Wildcats' first championship in 1985 was one of the biggest shocks in NCAA tournament history this side of UMBC over Virginia (see below), with Nova stunning heavily favored Big East rival Georgetown thanks to shooting nearly 80% from the field in the final. Nova has reached new heights in this century under current coach Jay Wright, winning its second national title in 2016 over North Carolina on a buzzer-beating three-pointer and its third in 2018 in dominant fashion, winning all of their tournament games by double digits.˛˛Honorable mention goes to the '''UsefulNotes/{{Michigan}} State Spartans''' and '''Gonzaga Bulldogs'''[[note]]unofficially known as "Zags"[[/note]], which, with the aforementioned Jayhawks and Blue Devils, are in the midst of the four longest current March Madness (for which see below) appearance streaks (at 30 years for the Jayhawks, 24 for the Blue Devils, 22 for the Spartans, and 21 for the Bulldogs).[[note]]Duke, Michigan State, and Gonzaga were also locks for the canceled 2020 NCAA Tournament, with the Zags being a near-certain #1 regional seed.[[/note]] Special honorable mention goes to Gonzaga, even though it hasn't won a national title[[note]](the Zags also didn't even make the Final Four until 2017)[[/note]], for two reasons—first, it plays in the decidedly mid-major West Coast Conference,[[note]]meaning that in some of those years, they wouldn't have made it to the NCAA tournament without winning the conference tournament[[/note]] and second, it's done it without the benefit of any revenue from football (Gonzaga hasn't had a football team since 1941).[[note]]Significant because football programs often subsidize other sports at a school. Although men's basketball makes money at many schools, it very often benefits from the money and exposure that the football team gets.[[/note]] Another special honorable mention goes to the 1965-66 Texas Western College team, for being the first (and for more than a decade only) college men's team to ''ever'' get into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (mainly due to the fact they were the first all-black starting team to ever win the NCAA Tournament). Speaking of which, still another such mention should go to the ''second'' college men's team to enter the Hall: the 1957–1959 teams from Tennessee State, a historically black institution in UsefulNotes/{{Nashville}} then known as Tennessee A&I; the Tigers won NAIA titles in the listed years, becoming the first school to win three straight national titles at any level.[[note]]Two women's teams, both mentioned later, also got inducted: Immaculata of 1972–1974 (inducted in 2014) and Wayland Baptist of 1948–1982 (inducted alongside Tennessee A&I in 2019).[[/note]]˛˛One final special honorable mention goes out to the UMBC[[note]]University of Maryland, Baltimore County[[/note]] Retrievers, which in 2018 became the first #16 seed ever to defeat a #1 seed in the men's tournament, dominating the Virginia Cavaliers, never trailing in the second half on their way to a [[CurbStompBattle 20-point win]]. So honorable a mention, in fact, the fine folks at [[Wiki/{{Wikipedia}} The Other Wiki]] had [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_UMBC_vs._Virginia_men%27s_basketball_game a page on the game]] within mere ''hours'' of it ending.˛˛The biggest part of college basketball is the special feeling that sweeps the nation for the NCAA tournament, a feeling known as March Madness. It's almost as much an occasion to party as the Super Bowl, perhaps even more so since the tournament is spread across three weeks. As is the case with other sports postseasons, this is when teams get by far the most attention they will get all year.˛˛After 68 teams are chosen to play and the announcement of the field is made one Sunday in mid-March on CBS, it's time for people from across America from all walks of life--up to and including a certain [[UsefulNotes/BarackObama former president]][[note]]Not terribly surprising, given that he's a former college basketball player himself (University of Hawaii) who's been known to play basketball to blow off steam--often against his Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who led the Harvard Crimson in the late '80s and played pro ball in Australia for four years[[/note]]--to pick the teams they think will win each game by "filling out the bracket." This is done for fun, but some play betting games and hold office pools, which the NCAA looks down on. The study of the bracket is often referred to as "bracketology".˛˛Throughout TheSixties and TheSeventies the NCAA tournament was only open to conference champions and a few highly-ranked independent schools, with a total field of around two dozen teams. Eventually everyone recognized that this restriction was leaving a lot of good teams out of the tournament. In particular the plights of USC in 1971 (the Trojans finished 24-2 and were clearly the second best team in the country, but UCLA's dynasty was in full gear and they took the Pac-8 title) and Maryland in 1974 (ranked #4 in the country, the Terrapins had nowhere to go after a crushing overtime loss in the ACC tournament title game against NC State) helped spur the NCAA to start handing out at-large bids. 1975 saw the NCAA field expand to 32 teams, a move that solidified it as the premier postseason tournament, demoting the NIT (see below) to also-ran status. Since then, the base of the tournament structure has involved up to 68 teams divided into four groups and seeded within each group (starting with 32 teams, in 1979 it was expanded to 48 teams, expanded to 64 in 1984, 65 in 2001, and the current 68 in 2011. Number 1 plays number 16, 2 plays 15, and so on. The tournament added a play-in game, in which two small schools play for a 16th seed, in 2001. Since 2011, there has been a new series of four games, the First Four, held in Dayton, Ohio. Two of the games feature the four lowest-ranked conference champions playing for #16 seeds. The other two involve the four lowest-ranked at-large entries; they most often play for #11 seeds (13 times through 2019), though in the past they have played for #12 (three times), #13 (once), and #14 seeds (once). Confused yet here? (The VCU Rams made history in the very first year of the First Four's existence, going all the way from the First Four to the Final Four.)˛˛The first two rounds (which were called the second and third rounds from 2011–2015) are hosted by eight different cities, including some with NBA teams, in traditional arenas. Four more cities host "regionals", consisting of the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight, and one more hosts the Final Four, which consists of the semifinals and the championship game. Nowadays, the Final Four is always hosted by a city with an indoor football stadium converted to host a basketball game with 70,000+ seats. During the first decade or so of the 21st century, there was a trend toward also holding at least one regional at such a stadium. However, the trend now is to hold the regionals in traditional arenas; all regional sites from 2016 through 2019 were traditional arenas, and only one of the canceled 2020 regionals had been scheduled for a football stadium. From 1946 to 1981, there was also a third-place game, and until 1975 each ''regional'' also had a third-place game.˛˛While the NCAA tournament is the sport's official championship, there are some other postseason events. Most notable among these is the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), which is actually one year older than the NCAA tournament (the first NIT was 1938, the first NCAA was 1939). For the first part of its history, all NIT games were played at Madison Square Garden in New York City, which gave schools important media exposure in the era before widespread television coverage of sports. Up until the end of TheFifties, the NIT was considered the equal of the NCAA tournament, but as the NCAA tournament started expanding, the NIT's importance gradually faded, and it became a tournament for teams not quite good enough to make the Big Dance. The NIT started expanding as well, finally settling on 32 teams, with early rounds played at home arenas, while the semifinals and championship game are still played at Madison Square Garden. The NIT champ is sometimes derisively called the "69th best team in the country".[[note]]However, it is argued that an NIT winner could probably best some of the teams which only made it in the Big Dance as conference champions.[[/note]] There are also two other tournaments, the [=CollegeInsider.com=] Postseason Tournament (normally a 32-team field, though the 2017 edition had only 26; makes a point of not even inviting teams from major conferences) and the College Basketball Invitational (16-team field; invites members of power conferences sometimes, but in the past few years none of them have shown up). In the 2015–16 season, there was yet another tournament called the Vegas 16 (it had an [[NonIndicativeName 8-team]] field, but was aiming for 16), which tried to revive the old NIT format of all games at a single venue, but that event folded after only one edition. Collectively, they are pretty much college basketball's equivalent to those otherwise non-important bowl games whose only purpose are to give Creator/{{ESPN}} something to do in mid-December. The majority of fans never take them seriously, and teams turn down those bids regularly. The NIT is generally considered to be the best of these tournaments, and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane have frequently promoted their two NIT wins as being part of their "championship tradition". Some recent Cinderella runs in the NIT (Cal State Bakersfield making the semifinals in 2017, [[UsefulNotes/{{Nashville}} Lipscomb]] making the championship game in 2019) have brought some renewed attention to that tournament. The COVID-19 pandemic scuttled the 2020 editions of all of these events.˛˛NCAA Division II and III also have 64-team championship tournaments (though the 2020 editions were also canceled due to COVID-19). Division II's is divided into 8 regional sections hosted by the top team in the region, and the 8 winners go to a neutral site for the final rounds. Division III does geographically-based early rounds, with a neutral-site Final Four. NAIA basketball was divided into two divisions through the 2019–20 season, and each held a 32-team tournament with all games hosted at a single site, with Kansas City hosting the NAIA Division I tournament every year since 1937, except two with no tournament (1944 during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII and 2020 due to COVID-19) and eight years (1994-2001) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. To fit 8 games into a single day for the first round of the NAIA tournament, the first game tipped off at 9:00 A.M., while the last game started after 10:00 P.M.! However, beginning in 2021, the NAIA will reduce to a single division, with a 64-team tournament, and only the final 16 teams will get a chance to play in Kansas City.˛˛!!Women's college basketball˛˛Then there's the women's game. Naturally, it's less prestigious than the men's game, and before the WNBA, it was the premier showcase of female hoopsters outside the Olympics. The women's game really started to emerge in the '70s, and in 1982, the NCAA-- hey, where are you going? Get back here! This could be useful someday!˛˛Basic differences between the men's game and the women's game, besides the sex of the players, include a smaller ball and (at some levels) a closer three-point arc. On the college level, teams will occasionally have Lady appended to the team name, sometimes to the point of absurdity (ahem, University of South Carolina "[[ArtisticLicenseBiology Lady Gamecocks]]") or a feminine form of the team name (Cowgirls instead of Cowboys). However, the clear trend in this area is for men's and women's teams to use the same nickname. In fact, the aforementioned South Carolina has dropped "Lady" from its women's team names.˛˛Women's college basketball has been played with a 30-second shot clock since the early 1970s; this is shorter than the 45- and 35-second clocks formerly used in the men's game. Also, since the 2015–16 season, the women's game is played in 10-minute quarters instead of 20-minute halves. It's only been sanctioned by the NCAA since the early '80s; before that, it was sanctioned by the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, or the AIAW. Conference affiliations match those of men's college basketball described above.[[note]]With only two exceptions—The Citadel and VMI, both {{military academ|y}}ies that were all-male until the 1990s and remain overwhelmingly male today, don't have women's basketball teams at all. Then again, being heavily male hasn't stopped Army, Navy, and Air Force, academies run directly by the [[UsefulNotes/YanksWithTanks U.S. military]], from fielding women's teams.[[/note]]˛˛Notable teams have included:˛˛'''Wayland Baptist College''' (now "University"): The Flying Queens were the first great college team, though they predated not only NCAA sponsorship of women's sports but also college women's competition in general. The small school from the Texas Panhandle instead competed in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), today mainly a youth sports body but then the main sponsor of amateur sports competition outside the NCAA. While some colleges competed in the AAU alongside Wayland Baptist, their main competition was well-funded business teams, which employed players in (quasi-)legitimate day jobs to get around amateurism rules. Wayland Baptist responded by being the first school to offer full-ride basketball scholarships. They also got air travel to games supplied by a wealthy local businessman, which is how they became known as the ''Flying'' Queens. They notably had a 131-game winning streak in the 1950s in AAU play (take that, [=UConn=]!), and won 10 national titles in the AAU and AIAW before stepping down in class when the NCAA took over women's sports. Wayland Baptist's teams from their glory years of 1948–1982 entered the Naismith Hall as a unit in 2019.˛˛'''Immaculata College''' (now "University"): The Mighty Macs, representing a small Catholic school in Philadelphia's Main Line suburbs, were the first great team of the early era of women's college basketball, who reigned in the early '70s. Notable for producing three players who in turn became Women's Basketball Hall of Fame[[note]] (a different institution from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame)[[/note]] coaches: Theresa Grentz, Rene Portland, and Marianne Stanley. Also, the coach of the 1970s Mighty Macs, Cathy Rush, is a member of both the Women's Hall and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Like Wayland Baptist, they stepped down in class when the NCAA took over women's sports, and are now a historical footnote. Their national championship-winning teams from 1972–1974 entered the Naismith Hall as a unit in 2014. They were also the subject of the 2009 film ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mighty_Macs The Mighty Macs]]'' (with Creator/CarlaGugino as Rush).˛˛'''Old Dominion''': The Lady Monarchs, out of the Hampton Roads city of Norfolk, Virginia, were a dynasty of the early '80s, coached by the aforementioned Marianne Stanley. Its stars included Anne Donovan and Nancy Lieberman, both of whom are members of the Naismith and Women's Halls. When power schools were forced to pay more attention to women's sports, their star faded, though they are still a force in their conference.˛˛'''University of Southern California''': USC, or the Women of Troy. At their peak in the mid-80s, their stars included the [=McGee=] twins, Pamela and Paula (if you're an NBA geek, you might recognize Pamela's son [=JaVale=], and if you're a WNBA geek you may recognize Pamela's daughter Imani [=McGee-Stafford=]), Cheryl Miller (if you follow basketball at all, you probably recognize her kid brother Reggie), and Cynthia Cooper. They had a renaissance in the mid-90s, then faded out. Cooper was their head coach for four seasons until stepping down after the 2016–17 season.˛˛'''Louisiana Tech''': The Lady Techsters were another superpower of the 80s, with four players who went on to the Women's Hall—Pam Kelly, Janice Lawrence Braxton, Kim Mulkey (now the head coach at Baylor), and Teresa Weatherspoon (see WNBA section below), with the last two also making it to the Naismith Hall (Weatherspoon as a player in 2019 and Mulkey in 2020 as a coach). They also had two Hall of Fame coaches in Sonja Hogg (Women's) and Leon Barmore (Naismith and Women's). LA Tech remained a national force into the 90s, and strongly competitive into the 21st century, but faded in the later years of Weatherspoon's tenure as head coach (2009–2014). LA Tech then fired Weatherspoon and replaced her with Tyler Summitt, the then 23-year-old son of a famous coach any women's basketball fan should know. After two seasons, things only got worse for the Lady Techsters, as Summitt abruptly resigned shortly after the end of the 2015–16 season after admitting to an [[NeverLiveItDown "inappropriate relationship"]].[[note]]Said relationship was widely reported to be an extramarital affair with a player.[[/note]] ˛˛'''Tennessee''': The Lady Vols have been a consistent powerhouse in women's basketball for thirty years and counting. Legendary head coach Pat Summitt[[note]]yes, Tyler's mom[[/note]] racked up over a thousand wins, including eight titles, since taking over as a grad student in 1972 and is the first coach in the Division I college game, men's or women's, to have over 1,000 wins (since joined by Coach K, Tara [=VanDerveer=], Sylvia Hatchell, Geno Auriemma, and C. Vivian Stringer). Known for her DeathGlare. The 'Lady' is a bit of a requirement,[[note]]enough so that the women's basketball team remained "Lady Volunteers" after all other Tennessee women's teams dropped "Lady" starting in 2015–16... though in 2017–18, UT [[HesBack brought back "Lady Volunteers"]], giving the rest of its women's teams the option to restore "Lady"[[/note]] or Summitt will glare at you from beyond the grave. After Summitt was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's in 2011 (which would ultimately claim her life in 2016), she coached one final season before retiring in 2012 and being succeeded by longtime assistant Holly Warlick. Summitt proved to be a ToughActToFollow; while the Lady Vols have maintained their record of appearing in every single NCAA tournament, they haven't made it past the first weekend since 2016 and also had their first-ever sub-.500 season in Southeastern Conference play in 2018–19, which led to Warlick being shown the door. Warlick's successor, former Lady Vols point guard Kellie Harper, showed some improvement, though the Lady Vols were seen as squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble before its coronavirus-induced cancellation.˛˛'''[=UConn=]''': The Huskies hit the national scene like a freight train in 1995 with an undefeated season—the first of six, including three separate Division I-record winning streaks of (in chronological order) 70, 90, and ''[[UpToEleven 111]]'' games. Not to mention a regular-season winning streak of ''126'', also a record. The 90- and 111-game streaks each encompassed at least part of three seasons, while the 126-game streak covered three full regular seasons and parts of two others. They've won 11 national titles, the most in the women's game, all under current head coach Geno Auriemma; the most recent title in 2016 took him past John Wooden for the most Division I titles by a head coach in either the men's or women's game. Auriemma, who became the fourth D-I women's head coach with 1,000 wins mere hours after North Carolina's Sylvia Hatchell became the third, is basically UsefulNotes/{{Philadelphia}} distilled into a short first-generation Italian-American. They have a web page dedicated to their history of churning out WNBA stars.˛˛'''Stanford''': The Cardinal (yes, Cardinal, the color, not the bird) was the lone representative of high-quality women's basketball on the West Coast for a loooong time until the very recent emergence of other Pac-12 schools, most notably Oregon. Two-time national champions and several more times bridesmaid, they're coached by Tara [=VanDerveer=], who became the second D-I women's head coach with 1,000 wins in 2017. They ended Connecticut's 90-game winning streak.[[note]]Stanford was also the last team to defeat [=UConn=] before the Huskies started their 111-game overall and 126-game regular-season streaks.[[/note]] You might not want to mention [[BerserkButton Harvard]] around them. [[note]]In 1998, Harvard upset Stanford in the first round of the NCAA Women's Tournament, making the Crimson the first No. 16 seed to win a tournament game (a feat that wasn't matched in the men's tournament until 2018). And to boot, first-round games were played on the home court of the higher seed at the time.[[/note]]˛˛'''Rutgers''': The Scarlet Knights are best known for stifling defense, unwatchable offense, coach C. Vivian Stringer's SesquipedalianLoquaciousness, and that incident with Don Imus that left Imus fired and the governor of New Jersey in a car accident. Stringer reached the 1,000-win mark early in the 2018–19 season.˛˛'''Baylor''': The reigning national champion (2019) Lady Bears rose to national prominence early in the current century with the aforementioned Kim Mulkey as head coach. When she took over in 2000, Baylor was coming off a last-place Big 12 finish. She took them to the NCAA tournament the next season, and they've only missed the NCAA once since. Their first national title in 2005 saw Mulkey become the first woman to win D-I national titles as a player and coach[[note]](Dean Smith and Bob Knight are the only men to have matched the feat)[[/note]], and their second championship team in 2012 was the first NCAA team of either sex to go 40–0 in a season. Baylor's WNBA alumni include Sophia Young from the first title team, Brittney Griner and Odyssey Sims from the second, and Lauren Cox from the third. Also notable for the [[CurbStompBattle most one-sided win]] in D-I women's history, a 140–32 annihilation of Winthrop in 2016. Not to mention ending [=UConn's=] 126-game regular-season winning streak in 2019.˛˛'''Notre Dame''': The Fighting Irish have emerged as a major national rival to [=UConn=] in recent years. While the Huskies have had the upper hand overall, the Irish have a 5–3 lead in their NCAA tournament matchups, and were responsible for more than half of the Huskies' losses from 2011 to 2019 (8 out of 15). National champs in 2001 and 2018, and runners-up in five other NCAA tournaments in TheNewTens (to Texas A&M in 2011, Baylor in 2012 and 2019, and [=UConn=] in 2014 and 2015), and alma mater of current WNBA stars Skylar Diggins-Smith, Jewell Loyd, and Arike Ogunbowale. Much has been made of the supposed ArchEnemy relationship between now-retired Notre Dame head coach Muffet [=McGraw=] and [=UConn=]'s Geno Auriemma, who both share Philadelphia roots and fiercely competitive personalities. Reporters have even asked about possible FoeYay between the two, but Auriemma and [=McGraw=] have said that they view each other more as a WorthyOpponent than anything else. The 2019–20 season, however, was definitely rebuilding time under the Golden Dome, as the Irish had lost their entire starting lineup to graduation; despite several promising recruits, they finished under .500. [=McGraw=] stepped down after that season, with Niele Ivey, a former Irish player who went on to a long tenure as an Irish assistant and a season as an NBA assistant, taking her place.˛˛[=UConn=] and Tennessee [[TheRival are fiercely opposed to each other]]. The rivalry became an annual series, until Summitt ended it in 2007, accusing Connecticut of improper recruiting. Many attempts were made to reconcile the two sides, or at least have them meet in the NCAA tournament. It took the ''Naismith Hall'' to broker a deal to have them play again; they finally played again in 2020, with the second leg of the home-and-home set for 2021. Neither is particularly fond of Rutgers. And the Huskies are not exactly fond of Notre Dame these days.˛˛The women's NCAA tournament has 64 teams, much as the men did before the play-in game was added in 2001. One ''huge'' difference between the tournaments is that the top four seeds in each regional get to host the first two rounds.[[note]]One recent exception was in 2019, when South Carolina earned a top-four seed but had to play the first two rounds in Charlotte because its arena was booked for the first two rounds of the ''men's'' tournament.[[/note]] Another significant difference is that the women's Final Four is almost always held in a traditional arena.[[note]]The women's Final Four has not been in a dome since 2010, when it was held at the Alamodome in San Antonio. That venue will host again in 2021, but every other host through 2024 will use a traditional arena.[[/note]] ˛˛Before the 2018 men's tournament, if you wanted to stump your friends, you could have asked them the only time a #16 seed had ever beaten a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. When they looked at you and say "Never", you'd have told them you didn't specify gender and Harvard beat Stanford in 1998. (If you're unfortunate enough to have a Stanford fan in the group who will haughtily inform you that Harvard had the nation's leading scorer and Stanford had lost their two top players to knee injuries in the two weeks before the tournament... run.) That won't work any longer, now that UMBC took down Virginia in the 2018 men's tournament.˛[[/folder]]˛˛[[folder: The WNBA: Professional Women's Basketball]]˛˛The WNBA started up in 1997. There were leagues before, but none of them lasted long (the longest was the WBL, which had three seasons in the late '70s/early '80s).˛˛Differences to note: the ball is smaller (by 1 inch/2.54 cm in circumference) and lighter (by 2 ounces/57 g) and also striped oatmeal and orange, the three-point arc is closer than in the NBA (the FIBA arc except in the corners, which are NBA distance), quarters are 10 minutes each.˛˛That said, arguably the biggest difference is the season structure. The WNBA's season is out of phase with basketball in the rest of the world—it's held during the northern hemisphere summer, when other basketball leagues (even those south of the equator) are in their offseason. The league was started, and is still owned, by the NBA, although it's had its own chief executive throughout its history (titled "President" until 2019, now "Commissioner"). Originally, all WNBA teams were owned by the league; the summer season was established partly due to the desire of team owners for more arena dates. After the 2002 season, the league sold the teams; eight were purchased by their then-current NBA counterparts, one was bought by an NBA team in a different city,[[note]]the Utah Starzz, which then became the San Antonio Silver Stars, still later the San Antonio Stars, and are now the Las Vegas Aces[[/note]] another was bought by an outside party,[[note]]the Orlando Miracle, which became the Connecticut Sun[[/note]] and two[[note]]Miami Sol, Portland Fire[[/note]] folded when new owners weren't found. The regular season normally starts in late May and ends in September, with playoffs running into October. However, in Olympic years, the league takes a break to allow players to represent their national teams. Also, the start of the 2020 season was delayed due to COVID-19, and the abbreviated season was played entirely at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.˛˛Another difference is that starting in the 2020 season, the WNBA planned to have have a mid-season tournament, a rare feature in major US team sports.[[note]]Unheard of in football, baseball, hockey, or the NBA. Long before [[UsefulNotes/MajorLeagueSoccer MLS]] or even the original NASL, men's soccer has had the U.S. Open Cup, analogous to [[UsefulNotes/BritishFootyTeams England's]] [[UsefulNotes/TheFACup FA Cup]].[[/note]] The Commissioner's Cup was planned to start with 10 regular-season games for each team, specifically the first home and away games against each other team in the conference. After all teams play their 10 Cup games, the teams that top each conference in the Cup standings will advance to a one-off Cup final. The final was originally set for August, but COVID-19 scuttled plans for the Cup for the time being.˛˛Because the league started with all teams owned by NBA franchises, most teams have names [[ThemeNaming similar]] to their NBA counterparts. There have been exceptions, and teams not owned by NBA owners have more independent names, even if they're in NBA cities.˛˛'''Eastern Conference'''˛˛* ''Atlanta Dream'' ˛-->Founded in 2008, named for the "I Have a Dream" speech. As of 2020, three-time Eastern Conference Champions. But they've yet to cross the finish line of winning a WNBA championship, getting swept three consecutive times, twice by the Minnesota Lynx in 2011 and 2013. While the Dream shared State Farm Arena with the Hawks from 2008 to 2016 and again in 2019, the Hawks never held any ownership stake in its WNBA contemporary. In 2020, the Dream planned to move into the Gateway Center Arena in the south Atlanta suburb of College Park, sharing the venue with the Hawks' G League affiliate, the College Park Skyhawks. One of the Dream's co-owners, Kelly Loeffler, currently serves as the junior U.S. Senator for Georgia.˛˛* ''Chicago Sky''˛-->Founded in 2006, notable for being the first franchise to be founded without NBA ties. Named for the Chicago skyline. They made an especially strong run in 2011, [[EveryYearTheyFizzleOut but never made a playoff appearance]] until picking up college superstar Elena Delle Donne in 2013. During [[FanNickname EDD's]] time in Chicago, their flameouts came in the playoffs (first-round exit, swept in the Finals, first-round exit, second-round exit). And now she's gone to Washington...˛˛* ''Connecticut Sun''˛-->Founded in 1999 as the Orlando Miracle (tied to the Orlando Magic), moved to Connecticut in 2003 to become the Sun (named for the [[EnforcedPlug Mohegan Sun]] casino where they play). [[FanNickname Called USunn]] due to the plethora of [=UConn=] alumnae on the roster (five out of eleven players in 2013). The Sun was the first WNBA team to be owned independently of an NBA team (specifically by the Mohegan UsefulNotes/{{Native American|s}} tribe) and the first profitable team in league history. ˛˛* ''Indiana Fever''˛-->Founded in 2000, named for Indiana's basketball obsession. Saved from potential folding with a run to the 2009 Finals, and then won the 2012 Finals. Was projected to make its first profit in 2013, after gaining a male fan base. Remained a competitive force until the end of the 2010s. While they normally share the Indiana Pacers' home of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, they'll be displaced for all of 2020 and 2021, plus at least part of 2022, by a major renovation project. They planned to play at Butler University's iconic Hinkle Fieldhouse, also notable as a key site in the film ''Film/{{Hoosiers}}'', but with the current state of COVID-19, it's highly unlikely that they will ever play there.˛˛* ''New York Liberty''˛-->The last inaugural franchise left in the East, founded in 1997 and named for the big green statue in the harbor. This is the team that has gone the longest without a WNBA title. Dubbed the Libs, and in recent years the Libbies, as well as the Libkids for their young roster. The team's popularity swelled upon the acquisition of Cappie Pondexter, though it waned again after the news of said exile, and, to a lesser extent, the suspension of Janel [=McCarville=]. And then the Libs' owner James Dolan, also owner of the New York Knicks, tried to bring in Isiah Thomas to run the team... the same Isiah Thomas who had proved to be as epic a failure as an executive as he was great as a player, and on top of that had ''lost a sexual harassment lawsuit''. In 2019, the Liberty was acquired by Joseph Tsai, now sole owner of the Brooklyn Nets, and will move into the Nets' home of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn once the WNBA returns to home arenas, now unlikely to happen until 2022 or later. The "Libkids" name will likely come back in 2020—they had three first-round picks (including #1) in the 2020 draft and ended up with ''seven'' rookies on their opening-night roster of 12, with no player even 30 years old and only one over 26. The #1 pick, to the surprise of absolutely no one, was Sabrina Ionescu, arguably the face of US women's basketball before being picked.˛˛* ''Washington Mystics''˛-->Founded in 1998, named for the Washington Wizards; they share ownership with the Wizards and the [[UsefulNotes/NationalHockeyLeague NHL's]] Washington Capitals. The FanNickname Mystakes came up for their incredible knack for screwing things up. Despite this, they have a pretty strong attendance record (several "Attendance Championship" banners were once raised on their arena's rafters). Home of a very BrokenBase, though EDD's arrival plus other roster upgrades for the 2017 season gave the fans hope, which was cemented with a 2018 Finals appearance and their first-ever title in 2019. It's highly unlikely that they'll win any more "attendance championships" in the future—they moved out of the Wizards and Caps' home of Capital One Arena after the 2018 season to a new arena in southeast DC which only seats 4,200; the Mystics share the venue with the Wizards' G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go.˛˛˛'''Western Conference'''˛˛* ''Dallas Wings''˛-->Founded in 1998 as the Detroit Shock (so it's the car part, to better reflect the Detroit Pistons), moved to Tulsa in 2010, retaining their nickname. Tulsa was the league's ButtMonkey for virtually all of its time in Oklahoma. In 2011, they set a new league record for futility with a 3-31 skid. The case of the Shock was unique in that Tulsa claimed the history of the Detroit Shock, including Detroit's three championship banners... but with Tulsa's ButtMonkey status, most fans were uncomfortable with giving them Detroit's GuileHero status. In 2013, things finally looked hopeful when they gained the charismatic Notre Dame superstar Skylar Diggins (now Diggins-Smith). Her weak rookie debut might have damaged those hopes, but those fears largely disappeared after a strong sophomore season, and she became one of the league's top guards before a pregnancy leave in 2019, followed by her departure to Phoenix after that season. By that time, a more than adequate replacement had arrived in the form of Arike Ogunbowale. The Shock finally made their first playoff appearance since the move in 2015... right after the team announced it would move to [[UsefulNotes/DFWMetroplex Dallas]][[note]]technically Arlington[[/note]] for 2016, later announcing that it would drop the Shock name.˛˛* ''Las Vegas Aces''˛-->Founded in 1997 as the Utah Starzz (named for their SpearCounterpart, the Utah Jazz, and the Jazz's precursor, the ABA's Utah Stars), moved to San Antonio in 2003 as the Silver Stars and brought into the fold of the San Antonio Spurs. Started off lousy, but they got better in San Antonio, turning a profit in 2011. Dropped "Silver" from their name shortly before the start of the 2014 season. In 2017, the Spurs sold the Stars to MGM Resorts, who moved the team to Vegas and rebranded the team as the Aces.˛˛* ''Los Angeles Sparks''˛-->One of the inaugural franchises, founded in 1997. The only one with a NonIndicativeName of any kind, as their name comes from a secretary watching a welder (and the lack of a feminine equivalent to Lakers). Sometimes called [[FanNickname Sporks or Sharks]] by opposing fans. Three-time champions. This team was captained by basketball legend Lisa Leslie, who made WNBA history in 2011 by becoming the first alumna to become part owner of a team.˛˛* ''Minnesota Lynx''˛-->Founded in 1999, named as a counterpart to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Survived several rough seasons to stockpile approximately a metric crapton of young talent that has paid dividends since 2011. Once they picked up collegiate superstar Maya Moore and hometown hero Lindsay Whalen, [[TookALevelInBadass momentum immediately began to shift in their direction]]. Finally won a title in 2011. They made it back to the Finals in 2013 and won their second title by beating the same team they faced in 2011, the Atlanta Dream. They won their third title in five years when they beat the Indiana Fever in 2015, officially becoming a dynasty. Won their 4th title in 2017, after getting revenge against the team that beat them in 2016, the Los Angeles Sparks. ˛˛* ''Phoenix Mercury''˛-->Founded in 1997, named as a counterpart to the Phoenix Suns... and they play like them too. Sometimes called the Merc, while multiple players at once are Mercs. Three-time champions. Normally share Talking Stick Resort Arena with the Suns; they were scheduled to play the 2020 season at the Suns' past home of Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum while TSRA is being renovated, but COVID-19 ended that plan.˛˛* ''Seattle Storm''˛-->Founded in 2000, named for Seattle's weather. Reigning WNBA champions, with the 2020 title being their fourth. Lots of star power, and now Seattle's main basketball team because of the loss of the Sonics, attracting plenty of fans in the process. Normally plays out of the Seattle Center Arena, but the Storm temporarily moved to the Hec Edmundson Pavilion on the campus of the University of Washington while the interior of the Seattle Center Arena (now known as Climate Pledge Arena) is rebuilt for the [[UsefulNotes/NationalHockeyLeague NHL's]] forthcoming Seattle Kraken.˛˛'''Former teams'''˛˛* ''Charlotte Sting''˛-->Founded in 1997, folded in 2007. Originally tied to the Charlotte Hornets, later tied to the Charlotte Bobcats; the shift in ownership after the Hornets moved to New Orleans signaled the beginning of the end for this once proud franchise.˛˛* ''Cleveland Rockers''˛-->Founded in 1997, folded in 2004. Named for the RockAndRoll Hall of Fame. Left a LOT of bitterness behind, due to the perception of former owner (and Cavaliers owner at the time) Gordon Gund blocking alternate ownership, which resulted in a HarsherInHindsight moment when Gund recorded a macular degeneration PSA with the tagline "How would you feel if you couldn't see your favorite team?" ("Like a Rockers fan, jerk.")˛˛* ''Houston Comets''˛-->The league's first dynasty, winning its first four championships. Their name kept up the space ThemeNaming for many of Houston's sports teams. If you're referring to the Big Three in a women's basketball context, you're referring to Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes, and Tina Thompson, or you have just made a lot of people very angry. Founded in 1997, folded in 2008.˛˛* ''Miami Sol''˛-->Founded in 2000, folded in 2003. WMG suggests that this was the team meant to move to Connecticut, as the Sun's original color scheme closely matched the Sol's, and [[BilingualBonus well]].˛˛* ''Portland Fire''˛-->Founded in 2000, folded in 2003. Their name is a play off Blazers. One of only two franchises never to make the playoffs in their history (if you count Tulsa/Dallas as holding Detroit's history).˛˛* ''Sacramento Monarchs''˛-->Founded in 1997, folded in 2009. Were the WNBA champions in 2005. Though their name was related to the Sacramento Kings, they also played with the Monarch butterfly theme.˛˛˛!!WNBA Finals champions by year˛''Note'': The first year of the WNBA had only one championship game, where winner takes all. After that, the WNBA had a best-of-three series until 2005, when the championship series became best-of-five. Also, keep in mind that the WNBA begins their season in the middle of the year. Also, since 2016, the league has not used conference affiliation to determine playoff spots; the top eight teams in the regular season, regardless of conference, make the playoffs. (Since then, only one Finals matchup has been East vs. West, namely 2018.)˛˛* ''1997'': The ''Houston Comets'' won over the New York Liberty with the final score of 65-61.˛* ''1998'': The ''Houston Comets'' won over the Phoenix Mercury 2-1.˛* ''1999'': The ''Houston Comets'' won over the New York Liberty 2-1.˛* ''2000'': The ''Houston Comets'' swept the New York Liberty 2-0.˛* ''2001'': The ''Los Angeles Sparks'' swept the Charlotte Sting 2-0.˛* ''2002'': The ''Los Angeles Sparks'' swept the New York Liberty 2-0.˛* ''2003'': The ''Detroit Shock'' won over the Los Angeles Sparks 2-1.˛* ''2004'': The ''Seattle Storm'' won over the Connecticut Sun 2-1.˛* ''2005'': The ''Sacramento Monarchs'' won over the Connecticut Sun 3-1.˛* ''2006'': The ''Detroit Shock'' won over the Sacramento Monarchs 3-2.˛* ''2007'': The ''Phoenix Mercury'' won over the Detroit Shock 3-2.˛* ''2008'': The ''Detroit Shock'' swept the San Antonio Silver Stars 3-0.˛* ''2009'': The ''Phoenix Mercury'' won over the Indiana Fever 3-2.˛* ''2010'': The ''Seattle Storm'' swept the Atlanta Dream 3-0.˛* ''2011'': The ''Minnesota Lynx'' swept the Atlanta Dream 3-0.˛* ''2012'': The ''Indiana Fever'' won over the Minnesota Lynx 3-1.˛* ''2013'': The ''Minnesota Lynx'' swept the Atlanta Dream 3-0.˛* ''2014'': The ''Phoenix Mercury'' swept the Chicago Sky 3-0.˛* ''2015'': The ''Minnesota Lynx'' beat the Indiana Fever 3-2.˛* ''2016'': The ''Los Angeles Sparks'' beat the Minnesota Lynx 3-2.˛* ''2017'': The ''Minnesota Lynx'' beat the Los Angeles Sparks 3-2. ˛* ''2018'': The ''Seattle Storm'' swept the Washington Mystics 3-0.˛* ''2019'': The ''Washington Mystics'' beat the Connecticut Sun 3-2.˛* ''2020'': The ''Seattle Storm'' swept the Las Vegas Aces 3-0. ˛˛!!Notable Players˛˛''Note'': these are mostly players who have, or have had, pop culture currency; if you want to make a women's basketball reference, you'll probably use one of these players.˛˛* '''Tamika Catchings''': A forward who spent her entire 15-season career with the Indiana Fever, Catchings was drafted #3 overall in 2001 out of Tennessee. She's one of the league's most decorated players—Rookie of the Year in 2002 (she missed the 2001 season with a torn ACL), MVP in 2011, a record 10 All-Star appearances, five-time Defensive Player of the Year, Finals MVP in 2012, named to the league's All-Decade Team in 2006 and Top 15 Team for the league's 15th anniversary in 2011. Basically a stretch four, much like her contemporary Lauren Jackson and more recent players such as Elena Delle Donne and Candace Parker (all below). Catchings ended her career in 2016 as the league's all-time leader in rebounds and steals (the rebound record has since fallen twice, with Sylvia Fowles as the current leader), and #2 scorer, and made it to the Naismith and Women's Halls in 2020, by which time she had become the Fever's general manager. And back in high school, she became the first known player to manage a ''quintuple''-double. (It's happened once more since.)˛˛* '''Cynthia Cooper''': The league's first MVP and a member of both the Naismith and Women's Halls of Fame. A sixth woman at USC, she honed her skills in Italy before being assigned to the Houston Comets and proceeding to heck everyone's garbage up on her way to four straight titles before retiring in 2000. Her single-game scoring record (44) in the inaugural season stood for ten years. An all-around threat, though not a great pro coach. Now known by her married name of Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, she's since gone into college coaching, now in her [[HesBack second stint]] at Texas Southern, with a few years at her alma mater of USC in between.˛˛* '''Becky Hammon''': A point guard out of Colorado State who played 16 seasons in the league before retiring at the end of the 2014 season. Although small by WNBA standards (5'6"/1.68 m) and not exceptionally fast, she made up for her relative lack of physical skills with an extraordinary basketball IQ. Represented Russia internationally; that country was one of her many overseas stops during her career. A six-time All-Star, Hammon was named one of the league's 15 greatest players at the league's 15th anniversary in 2011. Before the end of her final season as a player, she made headlines when the San Antonio Spurs hired her as an assistant (effective at season's end). Hammon became the first woman to be a full-time coach in any of America's four major professional leagues, and remains with the Spurs today (October 2020); she's increasingly being seen as a potential NBA head coach in the making.˛˛* '''Chamique Holdsclaw''': WhatCouldHaveBeen in a smooth, athletic package with a knack for getting into small spaces. She came into the league in 1999 with high expectations after being part of three championship teams at Tennessee. Lingering knee and hamstring problems cut many of her seasons short, while battles with depression compounded by family tragedies left gaps in her career. You might not want to get into that last part with people.˛˛* '''Lauren Jackson''': A versatile stretch four from Australia, she spent her entire WNBA career for the Seattle Storm, from her overall #1 selection in 2001 through 2012. An eight-time league MVP—three in the WNBA, four in the WNBL in her homeland, and one in the Korean league—basketball's definitely InTheBlood for her. You may know her as [[MsFanService that blonde chick who posed naked in 2004]]. Despite her many accomplishments, she was still an example of WhatCouldHaveBeen, as she battled near-constant shin, ankle, and knee injuries throughout her career. Retired completely from basketball in 2016 after missing almost all of the previous two years to the aftereffects of a particularly bad knee injury. ˛˛* '''Lisa Leslie''': One of the cornerstones of the Los Angeles Sparks if not the league itself, she was assigned to LA at the league's beginning- appropriate for an Angeleno who went to USC. For a fair chunk of the league's existence, she was one of the best players, and the best center, out there. A two-time champion, three-time MVP (in 2002, sweeping All-Star MVP, regular season MVP, and Finals MVP), many-time All-WNBA and All-Star, the league's all-time leading rebounder until Catchings passed her in her final season, and member of the Naismith and Women's Halls of Fame. Also notable for recording the first-ever dunk in a WNBA game. There are those who call her Lisamort, and those who call her the Diva, and those who... she has a lot of {{FanNickname}}s. Her number is retired and the Sparks' court is named after her; she's since bought into the team as a part owner.˛˛* '''Cappie Pondexter''': An explosive, offensive-minded guard who played for five WNBA teams in her career—the Phoenix Mercury, New York Liberty, Chicago Sky, Los Angeles Sparks, and Indiana Fever. Drafted #2 overall in 2006 out of Rutgers by Phoenix, she, Diana Taurasi, and the Mercury won two titles in three years... and then she demanded a trade, [[MultipleChoicePast either]] because she wanted to be on the Liberty or because of her fashion business. Controversial among New York's faithful before being dealt to Chicago before the 2015 season, especially after making some unfortunate remarks after the earthquake/tsunami/meltdown in Japan. Pondexter stayed in Chicago for three years, but her numbers waned with age, and she moved to the Sparks in 2018, was released during the season, got picked up by the Fever, and retired after that season. ˛˛* '''Sheryl Swoopes''': One of the game's greats, originally assigned to the Houston Comets, later with the Seattle Storm and, after a two-year retirement, the Tulsa Shock for one final season in 2011. A brilliant defensive player and incredible slasher in her prime. Her marriage to her high school sweetheart and pregnancy with son Jordan was [[HaveIMentionedIAmHeterosexualToday heavily marketed by the league]]. Revealed in 2005 that she was gay and in a relationship with her former assistant coach Alisa Scott. Now remarried to a man. If you're having trouble keeping up, you're not the only one. After retiring for good, she went into coaching; she had been the head coach at Loyola University Chicago before being fired during the 2016 offseason amid allegations of mistreatment of players. Entered the Naismith Hall in 2016 and the Women's Hall in 2017.˛˛* '''Tina Thompson''': A forward, she was the league's first-ever draft pick,[[note]]since the league doesn't seem to include the Elite Draft in its totals[[/note]] chosen #1 overall in 1997 by Houston out of USC. She then signed with her hometown Sparks after the Comets folded, and then moved to the Storm after the 2011 season. Thompson was the last player from the WNBA's first season to be active in the league, finally retiring after the 2013 season as the league's all-time leading scorer (Diana Taurasi now leads in that statistic). [[IconicItem Rarely seen without her lucky lipstick]].˛˛* '''Teresa Weatherspoon''': A fiery point guard, "Spoon" was assigned to the New York Liberty in 1997 and left there after the 2003 season. [[FanonDiscontinuity We do not discuss her 2004 season with the Sparks.]] Best known for her buzzer-beating halfcourt heave in Game 2 of the 1999 Finals to win the game for New York and extend the series; it was selected the greatest moment in league history during the 15th anniversary season of 2011. Coached at her alma mater, Louisiana Tech, for five seasons until being fired in 2014. Member of the Women's Hall since 2010 and Naismith Hall since 2019, and now an assistant with the New Orleans Pelicans.˛˛* '''Lindsay Whalen''': Longtime point guard for the Minnesota Lynx. Started out as the hometown hero of the University of Minnesota, where she graduated the all-time leading scorer. Known for her quiet yet machine-like consistency of play, she helped made women's college basketball popular in the state by bringing twice as many people to the arena during games. She won many college titles while playing. She was drafted #1 by the Connecticut Sun in 2004 and helped lead them to two Finals appearances. Was traded back to her home state of Minnesota in 2010 to play for the Lynx. In 2011, she helped lead the Lynx to their first title in WNBA history. And she did it again in 2013. Despite missing a lot of games in 2015, Whalen helped lead the Lynx to another title that season. Whalen retired in 2018 and is now the head coach at her alma mater of Minnesota.˛˛!!Current Players˛˛* '''Seimone Augustus''': Forward for the Los Angeles Sparks who made her name with the Minnesota Lynx. Discovered in high school for her promising basketball talent. She was even featured on the cover of ''Sports Illustrated'' for women, promoting her as the possible female Michael Jordan. Her success continued during her college years at Louisiana State University where she won many awards including College Player of the Year. She lead her college team to three Final Four appearances. She was drafted #1 overall by the Minnesota Lynx in 2006, where she quickly made her presence known by winning Rookie of the Year. In 2011, when another promising rookie named Maya Moore joined the team, she lead the Minnesota Lynx to their first WNBA title and won the Finals MVP Award. In 2013, she once again helped lead the Lynx to their second title in franchise history. In 2015, she came back from an injury just in time for the playoffs and helped led the Lynx to a third WNBA title. She initially planned to retire after the 2019 season, but lost most of that season to injury, and ultimately left as a free agent for L.A. ˛˛* '''Sue Bird''': Point guard for the Seattle Storm, drafted #1 overall in 2002 out of [=UConn=]. The quintessential GirlNextDoor- if the girl next door could find you blind on the fast break or drain a dagger three in your face. Her especially clutch play in 2011 earned her the FanNickname "Die complaines". Bird is the WNBA's all-time leader in games played and total assists, though she doesn't have the per-game assists record (see Courtney Vandersloot below).˛˛* A group of players whom the WNBA heavily marketed in 2013 as the "Three to See", who entered the league as the first three picks in that year's draft. In order of selection, they are:˛** '''Brittney Griner''': Center for the Phoenix Mercury, drafted from Baylor, where she was consensus NCAA player of the year in her last two seasons. The 6'8" (2.03 m) Griner, known in college for her dominant shot-blocking and as one of the few women who can routinely dunk, entered the league with as much hype as any player in years. Also made headlines in 2013 when she came out as lesbian. Had the league's top-selling jersey in her rookie season as well. A perennial All-Star, Griner led the league in blocks in each of her first seven seasons (sharing honors with Jonquel Jones in 2019), and has also led the league in scoring twice.˛** '''Elena Delle Donne''':[[labelnote:*]]Her family name is "Delle Donne", pronounced "DEL-uh DON".[[/labelnote]] Perhaps the most positionally versatile player ever in the women's game, the Delaware product, who spent her first four WNBA seasons with the Chicago Sky before being dealt to the Washington Mystics in the 2017 offseason, is listed as a guard and forward—despite being the size of most WNBA centers (6'5"/1.96 m). Center, power forward, small forward, shooting guard, point guard, swingman, stretch four, point forward, combo guard... you name it, [[FanNickname EDD]] can play it. With her arrival, the Sky [[TookALevelInBadass took multiple levels in badass]] and became legitimate title contenders... until the Fever swept them out in the first round. In 2013, EDD was the first rookie ever to be the top vote-getter for the All-Star Game, and was also the unanimous choice for Rookie of the Year. In 2015, she led the league in scoring and free throw percentage (unheard of for center-sized players), and earned MVP honors. In 2017, she forced a trade to the Mystics, the closest team to her Delaware home (significance noted below), and led the team to its first-ever WNBA Finals berth in 2018 and first title in 2019. She was also league MVP in the latter season on the strength of the first 50–40–90 season[[note]]shooting at least 50% from the field, 40% on three-pointers, and 90% on free throws[[/note]] in league history. Not to mention leading the league in jersey sales in 2019. EDD, the first player to be named WNBA MVP for two different teams, is also the current career free-throw percentage leader in league history.˛*** For the first few years of her WNBA career, she was one of the very few high-profile WNBA players who never played overseas. (She has [[WordOfGod publicly stated]] that she normally stays in the States to help care for her disabled older sister; her family ties were seen as playing a big part in her desire to move to Washington.) EDD did join a Chinese team for that country's 2017 playoffs, but a flareup of post-Lyme disease syndrome[[note]](in 2008, she contracted the disease, which was initially misdiagnosed; she's dealt with the aftereffects ever since)[[/note]] forced her to return prematurely to the States. Her Lyme disease history, which has left her seriously immunocompromised, meant that she sat out 2020 despite the league turning down her petition to skip the abbreviated season (the Mystics announced they would pay her anyway). With disability causes so close to her heart, she's also a high-profile ambassador for Special Olympics, and is also heavily involved with Lyme disease charities.˛** '''Skylar Diggins-Smith''': Was a superstar point guard at Notre Dame, where she graduated as the school's second-leading career scorer. Known for her charisma and good looks, Diggins (now Diggins-Smith) was hyped as the next great WNBA point guard after she was drafted by the then-Tulsa Shock in 2013. She got off to a slow start in her debut rookie season, however, shooting way below her points average from college. Lived up to expectations in 2014, being named first-team All-WNBA and the league's most improved player, as well as being an All-Star starter. Missed most of the 2015 season to a torn ACL, but came back strong, becoming another perennial All-Star. Another rare example of a WNBA star who doesn't play overseas, in her case because she has enough endorsement and outside business income to not need it, although she was considering playing in China in 2015–16 before her ACL injury. Missed the 2019 season while pregnant with her first child; when she became a free agent in 2020, the Wings sent her to the Mercury in a sign-and-trade deal during that offseason, getting three draft picks in return.˛˛* '''Sabrina Ionescu''' joined the league in 2020 as ''the'' face of American women's basketball, starting her pro career with the New York Liberty as the first overall pick out of Oregon and having already entered FirstNameBasis. Unfortunately, her rookie season came to a premature end, as she went down with a severe ankle sprain in the Libs' third game in the COVID bubble. What she did at Oregon deserves mention...˛** She [[UpToEleven annihilated]] all previous NCAA triple-double records. Before her arrival in Eugene, no one in any division of NCAA basketball, male or female, had recorded more than 6 triple-doubles in a season or 12 in a career. Sabrina had 8 in both her junior and senior seasons, and ''26'' overall. Her career total is more than the next three women on the Division I career list ''combined'' (23) and the total of the top three on the D-I men's career list (24).˛** Sabrina started her senior season by leading the Ducks to an exhibition win over ''TEAM USA'', the first such win by a college team in 20 years. She went on to become the only NCAA player in any division, male or female, with 2,000 points, 1,000 assists, and 1,000 rebounds.˛** She claimed multiple national player of the year awards in both 2019 and 2020, sweeping all of them in the latter.˛** Speaking of the "[=2K/1K/1K=]" milestone... she reached that mark in a game at Stanford, also collecting what proved to be her last college triple-double, mere hours after being a featured speaker at the memorial service for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. While suffering from the flu. And having barely eaten that day.˛** Not to mention being the first active college women's player to have her jersey sold by Nike, with the first batch selling out within a day. And the first batch of her Liberty jerseys sold out ''within an hour'' of her selection in the draft. She's since signed a sponsorship deal with Nike that will reportedly give her a signature shoe.˛˛* '''Angel [=McCoughtry=]''': Forward for the Las Vegas Aces who made her name with the Atlanta Dream, drafted #1 overall in 2009 out of Louisville. A slashing, high-scoring forward with a penchant for drawing fouls, and also a top-tier defender, she helped lead the Dream to playoff berths in all but one of her seasons in the ATL, including three Finals appearances (all losses). Missed the 2019 season to injury and moved to the Aces, helping them to a Finals appearance in her first season in Vegas... [[UsefulNotes/COVID19Pandemic make that Bradenton]].˛˛* '''Maya Moore''': Forward for the Minnesota Lynx, drafted #1 overall in 2011 out of [[RunningGag UConn]]. She helped lead the Minnesota Lynx to their first WNBA championship in 2011, and won Rookie of the Year. Finished a close second to Candace Parker for the regular season MVP Award in 2013, but won the Finals MVP Award by helping lead Minnesota to their second title in franchise history. In 2015, she led the Lynx to a third WNBA title. And for a few years, she had her own signature shoe. However, her future in basketball is somewhat uncertain for unique reasons—she decided to sit out the 2019 season to pursue personal interests (mainly related to Christian ministry), and sat out 2020 as well, this time to pursue criminal justice reform.˛˛* '''Arike Ogunbowale''': Shooting guard for the Dallas Wings, the UsefulNotes/{{Milwaukee}} native first made her name in college at Notre Dame, notably hitting not one but ''two'' buzzer-beaters to lead the Irish to the 2018 national title—the first a pull-up jumper from just inside the three-point line in overtime in the semifinals against [=UConn=], and the second an off-balance running three-pointer to take down Mississippi State in the final. She parlayed those heroics into an appearance on ''Series/DancingWithTheStars'' in that offseason, and went on to go fifth overall in the 2019 draft with the Wings. She quickly emerged as a star of the future, finishing third in scoring as a rookie (though Rookie of the Year honors would go to Napheesa Collier of the Lynx) and then leading the league in that category in 2020.˛˛* '''Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike''': Sisters and Stanford products who both play forward for the Los Angeles Sparks.˛** Nneka, the older by two years and shorter by one inch (6'2"), was named Pac-10/Pac-12[[note]](the conference went from 10 to 12 members during her Stanford career)[[/note]] Player of the Year twice, and went #1 in the 2012 draft. She made an immediate impact, earning Rookie of the Year honors, and has since gone on to make the All-Star Game in each year it's been held in her career.[[note]]The All-Star Game is not held in Olympic years.[[/note]] In 2016, she took her game to a new level, leading the league in field goal percentage and setting personal highs in scoring, rebounds, and assists, earning MVP honors while leading the Sparks to the title. Since then, she's continued to play at All-Star level, and is also known for her [[NiceGuy Nice Gal]] image on-court, winning the league's sportsmanship award in 2019 and 2020.˛** Chiney, through her first season in the WNBA, was almost a mirror image of Nneka—[[RunningGag twice Pac-12 POY, #1 pick in the 2014 draft, an All-Star as a rookie, and Rookie of the Year]]. However, while at Stanford, she picked up one major honor that eluded her sister—the Wooden Award, one of the three major NCAA POY awards in the women's game. Unfortunately, she seems to be becoming a GlassCannon. First, she tore her right ACL and missed the 2015 WNBA season, but came back strong enough in 2016 to earn that season's Comeback Player of the Year Award. She then went to play in China, where she hurt the Achilles in her other leg; she missed the 2017 WNBA season because of it. Chiney would recover from this setback, making another All-Star appearance in 2018. In the 2018–19 offseason, she was traded to the Sparks, reuniting her with her older sister; she then settled into the role of sixth woman. During the traditional basketball season, she's now an Creator/{{ESPN}} analyst; this enabled her to make the choice to sit out the 2020 season to more fully recover from past injuries. During that time, she also became the first black woman to host a national ESPN Radio program, teaming up with Mike Golic Jr. for the network's 3-hour afternoon drive-time[[labelnote:*]]Drive time in the eastern zones; 4–7 pm Eastern[[/labelnote]] show.˛˛* '''Candace Parker''': Forward for the Los Angeles Sparks, drafted #1 overall in 2008 out of Tennessee. Silky, smooth, and incredibly athletic... when not sidelined with injuries or pregnancy. Married to NBA journeyman Shelden Williams. She won the MVP Award in 2013. Kept out of the 2016 Olympics in Rio, in favor of Breanna Stewart, which caused some controversy. She finished the year strong, however, by winning her first WNBA title and Finals MVP. Parker has continued to play at a high level, earning Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2020.˛˛* '''Breanna Stewart''': Stretch four for the Seattle Storm, drafted #1 overall in 2016 out of [[OverusedRunningGag UConn]]. The 6'4" [[FanNickname Stewie]] came into the league as perhaps even more hyped than the "Three to See"—led the Huskies to NCAA titles in each of her four seasons in Storrs, also being named the Final Four MVP in all four seasons; consensus national player of the year in her last two seasons (also winning a major national award as a sophomore); becoming a fixture on Team USA while still at [=UConn=]... you get the picture. After leading the league's rookies in scoring, rebounding, blocks, and minutes per game in 2016 (co-leader among ''all'' players in minutes, and in the top six in the other three categories), Stewart was the runaway Rookie of the Year, receiving all but one vote. Stewie didn't stop there, going on to earn season and Finals MVP honors in 2018 while leading the Storm to the title. Sadly, she missed the 2019 season to a torn Achilles suffered in the 2019 [=EuroLeague=] Women final. She would come back strong in 2020 with a season that put her in contention for another MVP trophy, though A'ja Wilson (below) beat her out for that honor; Stewie went on to claim Finals MVP again in a sweep of Wilson's Aces.˛** Her injury made her the latest poster child for the league's salary issues. As of 2019, about 70% of the league's players go overseas to play during the traditional basketball season, with the biggest stars making several times what the WNBA can offer. Unfortunately, this also means that they don't get any significant offseason. One ESPN writer noted shortly after Stewart's injury that in calendar 2018, she played in China, had little time off before the WNBA season, almost immediately followed that with duty for Team USA at the FIBA World Cup in Spain, and then had little downtime before going to play in Russia. The last time she'd had any real time off was in 2015, before her senior season at [=UConn=].˛˛* '''Diana Taurasi''': Guard for the Phoenix Mercury, drafted #1 overall in 2004 out of [[OverusedRunningGag UConn]]. [[ArsonMurderAndLifesaving Hot-headed, foul-mouthed, charismatic, and exceedingly talented]]. She became the league's career scoring leader during the 2017 season. Has gotten in a little bit of trouble, caught DUI in 2009 and implicated in steroid use (turned out to be a false positive from a sketchy lab). Sat out the 2015 WNBA season at the request of the Russian team she plays for during the traditional basketball season, which offered her [[MoneyDearBoy a bonus well in excess of her WNBA salary]] to sit out.[[note]]To put the financial decision in perspective, she was making slightly under the WNBA maximum salary (at that time) of $107,000. Her Russian team was paying her $1.5 million a season, not including the aforementioned bonus.[[/note]][[note]]In Taurasi's defense, she turned 33 during the 2015 WNBA season, and hadn't had an offseason since she was at [=UConn=]. This wasn't the first time that Taurasi had been offered a bonus to sit out a WNBA season, and several other WNBA players have reportedly been offered similar bonuses; she's just the first player who's accepted such an offer.[[/note]] ˛˛* '''Courtney Vandersloot''': Point guard for the Chicago Sky, Vandersloot is basically the league's poster child for OvershadowedByAwesome, despite currently standing as the league's all-time leader in assists per game.[[labelnote:*]]And it's not exactly close. Assuming that the league returns to its normal 34-game schedule in 2021, she could play every game that season, fail to record an assist in any game, and ''still'' be the all-time leader.[[/labelnote]] A native of the Seattle area, she wasn't seen has a big-time recruit out of high school, ending up on the other side of the Cascades at Gonzaga. After leading the Zags to a surprise run to the NCAA regional finals in her 2010–11 senior season, and becoming the first NCAA player (male or female) with 2,000 points and 1,000 assists in a career (since joined by Sabrina),[[note]]Incidentally, she and Sabrina played for the same head coach in college, Kelly Graves (male).[[/note]] the Sky made her the third pick in that year's draft. [[FanNickname Sloot]] made an immediate impact, making the All-Star Game and the All-Rookie team... though in a harbinger of things to come, she happened to join the league at the same time as Maya Moore. With other big names at her position, most notably Sue Bird and Skylar Diggins-Smith, she didn't make another All-Star team for a while. Despite leading the league in assists in 2015. Then setting a new league record for assists per game in 2017. And another in 2018. She finally got her second All-Star nod in 2019, with a ''third straight'' assists record to boot. Sloot at long last got some real attention in 2020, when she set ''[[OverusedRunningGag yet another assists record]]'', averaging ''exactly'' 10 a game (equivalent to 12 in the NBA, with its longer games).[[note]]In that last season, no other player averaged even 6 a game.[[/note]] Further developing the "overshadowed" theme, she didn't make the 2016 US Olympic team, and given USA Basketball's long track record of demonstrating loyalty to established players, wound up opting to play internationally for Hungary in 2017, believing (not without reason) that she'd never get to play for Team USA in her prime. ˛˛* '''A'ja Wilson''': Power forward for the Las Vegas Aces and a rising face of the league. The 6'4" Wilson grew up in a small South Carolina town and stayed in-state for college, playing under Hall of Fame guard Dawn Staley at South Carolina, where she led the Gamecocks to a national title in 2017 and swept all major NCAA player of the year awards the next season. After going #1 overall to the Aces in the 2018 draft, she lived up to her billing, being named Rookie of the Year and making the All-Star Game. Wilson further cemented her status in the 2020 bubble, averaging over 20 points and 8 rebounds, leading the league in blocks, and being named league MVP.˛˛[[/folder]]˛˛[[folder:others]]˛˛!!The international game˛˛The USA was late to the party when it came to founding a stable league, and still competes with European leagues for the full attention of elite players.[[note]]Unless your name is Elena Delle Donne or Skylar Diggins-Smith. Or Chiney Ogwumike (ESPN personality) or Kristi Toliver (NBA assistant). We'll see if Sabrina Ionescu becomes part of that club.[[/note]] Most players spend their winters in Europe to supplement their incomes and stay sharp. Between 1981 and 1996, Europe, Asia, and South America offered the only options for a woman who wanted to keep playing. The pecking order of leagues is fluid; currently the most prestigious and lucrative include Russia, Turkey, and in very recent years China. You can also find W players, alumnae, and hopefuls in Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Israel, Australia, and other countries.˛˛In international play, the US is the heavyweight, rarely contested. The game has a presence in several other countries, though:˛˛''Australia'': The Opals have been one of the most consistent sides in the world in the last fifteen years, but haven't been able to finish the job. Known for Lauren Jackson, Penny Taylor, and bodysuits.˛˛''Brazil'': The gender dynamic of basketball and soccer is, for the most part, reversed between Brazil and the US, which has resulted in Brazil being a world power in women's basketball for a looooong time. Like other Brazilian athletes, they are best known by their first names or nicknames ("apelidos"). Their legends include Magic Paula (real name Maria Paula da Silva, and yes, the nickname comes from Earvin Johnson's), Hortência Marcari and Janeth Arcain; current stars include Érika de Souza and Damiris Dantas.˛˛''The USSR/Russia'': The Unified Team brought back Olympic gold in 1992, spurring the development of the US national team. Russia is still a power on the world stage, though they haven't developed their young talent in recent years.˛˛''France'': Not historically a powerhouse, but came out of nowhere to win their group and take silver at the 2012 Olympics. We have yet to see if this is just a fluke or if it will continue.˛˛''Spain'': Also not a historic powerhouse, but came out of nowhere to win their group and take silver at the 2014 World Championship. Following a silver at the 2016 Olympics and bronze at the 2018 World Cup, they now look to be emerging as the next European power.˛˛! The Harlem Globetrotters˛˛An equal-parts absolute anomaly an wholehearted-tribute to the sport of basketball: A consistently-popular barnstorming team with no direct affiliation to any league. The Globetrotters are an exhibition team, which mixes athletic talent with comedic routines. The team is not actually [[NonIndicativeName from Harlem]] either in foundation (Chicago) or current home-base (Phoenix), but the name was instead selected to denote that the team consisted entirely of African American players, as Harlem was seen as a center for African American culture when the team was founded in the 1920's. The team has played thousands of games since, including exhibition games against NBA teams, and several of the team's players (such as Naismith Hall of Fame inductees Meadowlark Lemon and Curly Neal) were as famous as their NBA counterparts during their heyday. More info on the real-life team can be found on [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlem_Globetrotters The Other Wiki]]; what we have here on them is [[WesternAnimation/TheHarlemGlobetrotters a cartoon]] and [[Pinball/HarlemGlobetrottersOnTour a pinball table]].˛˛!! The Washington Generals˛The Globetrotters' former rivals, the Washington Generals (now owned by the Globetrotters themselves). While the Generals have become famous for being losers, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Generals#Beating_the_Harlem_Globetrotters they did have one recorded win in 1971]] under the name the New Jersey Reds (one of several names the Generals alternated in 1971 and 1972 in an attempt to make it look like there were more teams in the "league" the Trotters "played" in). Despite the close relation between the two teams, the Generals were in fact independently owned for most of their existence (specifically by their founder Red Klotz and his family). In 2015, the Trotters ended their contract with the Generals, causing the latter team to fold. In 2017, the Trotters' parent company bought the Generals name from the Klotz family and [[HesBack relaunched them]] as an independent, wholly-legitimate exhibition team separate from the Trotters.˛˛[[/folder]]˛----

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