Basketball is the most popular spectator sport in the United States. In fact, the average size of the audience of NBA League basketball is greater than the combined audiences of the major baseball and American Football leagues combined. The sport also has millions of other fans in more than 200 countries across the world. Its popularity is understandable: basketball is fast-paced, mentally and physically intense and, at its best, incredibly exciting.

The appeal of basketball is not confined to its excellent entertainment value as a spectator sport. Millions of men, women and children play basketball in schools, colleges and clubs throughout the world. Generations of American children have grown up playing basketball: there are very few American high schools and colleges which lack basketball teams. The sport is also becoming popular amongst young people in many other countries. In England, for example, which did not develop a major professional basketball league until 1987 due to a general lack of interest in the sport, many schools are beginning to teach their pupils the fundamentals of the game. As more young people continue to discover the benefits of this sport, the popularity of basketball is likely to continue to increase.