MUSIC & SPORT Basketball and its Celebrities NBA WARM-UP Riconosci queste celebrità del basketball americano? Mettiti alla prova! Riesci a nominarne altre? SPEAKING 1 3 The most famous professional league of basketball is the American NBA (National Basketball Association). It is made up of thirty teams: twenty-nine from the USA and one from Canada. The thirty teams are divided into Eastern and Western Conferences (championships) of three divisions, with five teams each. The most famous teams of the Eastern Conference are Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Milwaukee Bucks. The Western Conference has famous LA Lakers, Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks. NBA celebrities 2 27 4 The origins of basketball Basketball was invented in 1890 by James Naismith, a Canadian man who worked in a college in Massachusetts, USA. He wanted to invent a game that people could play indoors during the long winters, so he had a simple idea: two teams of players trying to throw a ball into a basket above their heads. Early basketball was different from the game we play today, for example, the basket didn t have a hole ! The only thing that is still the same is the height of the basket: 3.05 metres from the floor. GLOSSARY 3-pointer: canestro da tre punti apparel: abbigliamento basket: canestro, cesta charitable: caritatevole court: campo (da gioco) engagement: impegno hole: buco to throw: lanciare twice: due volte to win: vincere youth: gioventù 56 Some NBA players are real superstars and extremely rich. They often appear on TV shows and sometimes even in films. These are some of the most famous NBA players of all time. Michael Jordan (1963, New York) is considered one of the greatest players in the history of the game. He played in Chicago Bulls and was named the NBA s Most Valuable Player (MVP) five times. He signed a contract with Nike to design Air Jordan, basketball shoes and sports apparel with the colours of Chicago Bulls. He stopped playing in 1998. Kobe Bryant (1978, Philadelphia) played in LA Lakers, with whom he won five championships. When he was a child, he lived in Italy for eight years, where he played basketball in Reggio Emilia. Even if he was a great player, he won only one MVP, 2008. He died in a helicopter accident in 2020. Shaquille O Neal (1972, New Jersey) is considered the third-greatest basketball player on the planet. He played in LA Lakers and Boston Celtics, and he won MVP in 2000. He is also an actor, a rapper and has got a clothing line. Stephen Curry (1988, Ohio) plays in Golden State Warriors and has the NBA s 3-pointer record in history. He won MVP twice , in 2016 and 2017. ODDITIES Basketball or football? We all know the big, heavy orange ball that players use in basketball matches. Well, you might be surprised to know that at the beginning players used a football!