Module 1 Basketball Michael Jordan —Head and Shoulders Above the Rest!
During the 1990s, Michael Jordan was probably the best-known athlete in the world. He was the top scorer in the NBA
, and played for the Chicago Bulls from 1984 to 1993. He was named their most valued player five times. Wearing his famous number 23 shirt, Michael Jordan became the most successful basketball player in the history of the game. Jordan was born in New York and grew up in North Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina for a year before leaving to join the Chicago Bulls. He finished his first season (1984 – 1985) as one of the top scorers in the league, with an average of 28.2 points per game. In 1987, Jordan became only the second player to score more than 3,000 points in a season. He was the top scorer in the NBA for seven consecutive seasons (1987–1993). During this time, the average number of points he scored was more than 30 points per game. With him, the Bulls won their first NBA championship in 1991. During this successful period they won the title again in 1992 and 1993. Jordan was also in the United States Olympic Basketball Team, known as "the Dream Team", which won the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. Jordan surprised everyone when he retired before the 1993 –1994 season, but he rejoined the Chicago Bulls and won three more championships with them from 1996 to 1998. He played again for the Washington Wizards before finally retiring from sport in 2003 at the age of 40. Millions of fans admire his athletic ability, motivation and confidence. They have fantastic stories to tell about Michael Jordan, such as the time when he rescued the Bulls from ending a game on a tie. He stepped to the line and made two free throws. Each time he threw the ball straight through the basket—and each time he had his eyes closed.
Off the basketball court, Michael Jordan opened his own steak restaurant because he loves steak so much. He also found success as an actor in the film Space Jam alongside the famous cartoon character Bugs Bunny! There is only one word to describe the best player in the world —awesome!
Wilt the Stilt—the Tower of Power!
Michael Jordan was the second player to score more than 3,000 points in a season—but the first was Wilt Chamberlain. Chamberlain was born in Philadelphia on 21st August 1936. He was one of the 11 children, the only one who was very tall. His father William worked in a shipyard and his mother Olivia was a cleaner. As a child, Chamberlain had various health problems. He had pneumonia and almost died when he was ten. Chamberlain is the only NBA player who averaged over 50 points per game for an entire season. At one point, Chamberlain was so much better than all the other players that they changed the rules of the game to try to stop him! The giant player joined the NBA's Philadelphia Warriors in the 1959 –1960 season and was an immediate success. During 14 seasons with four different teams, Chamberlain was named the most valued player in the league four times. On 2nd March 1962, he scored 100 points in a single game —no one has ever done that since! The final score was Warriors 169 New York Knicks 147! He ended his career after five amazing seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. By the time he retired, Wilt held many NBA records: he scored 50 or more points 118 times and 60 or more points 32 times. Was Wilt Chamberlain better than Michael Jordan? Who knows? But there is no doubt that he deserves the title "outstanding player of his generation".
Read the passages and answer the questions.
1. Which basketball team did Michael Jordan play for? 2. How many times did Michael Jordan's team win the NBA title? 3. Why do the fans admire Jordan so much? 4. How many basketball teams did Wilt Chamberlain play for?
5. Which were the first and last teams Wilt Chamberlain played for? 6. Why is Wilt Chamberlain called the Tower of Power? %
Is Yao Ming Too Nice to Be a Star?
Jeff Van Gundy, the head coach of the Houston Rockets, has a dream. He wants Yao Ming to be like other players. Star players, says Gundy, are "selfish" and want the ball all the time. "Let's put it this way," he said. "When they ask for the ball, they don't say 'please'!" Yao, however, is a selfless and kind person. He has been brought up and trained in this way. It is not in his nature to be "selfish" and "rude". When he first arrived in the US, Yao was an instant hit among basketball fans nationwide. They all loved this kind, gentle but powerful giant. Van Gundy wanted to build his team around the talented Chinese player. To do this, he told Yao to be more aggressive and, if necessary, to be rude to his teammates. "He's a wonderful guy, he has every physical basketball skill and he puts the team first," Van Gundy said. "But I want him to be a star, not just a great team player. He's got to think that he's the best player out there. That way, he can dominate the game." "At first, I didn't really understand what the coach wanted," Yao said. "But now I do. In China, everyone gave me the ball, I didn't have to ask! Here, I have to be a little 'impolite'! I'm not quite used to it yet. If you give me a little time, I can get more used to it. I have to learn to be a little more 'selfish'."
Read the passage about Yao Ming and answer the questions.
1. Is the Houston Rockets coach disappointed with Yao Ming? 2. Do Chinese basketball players play in the same way as US players? 3. Does Yao Ming understand what the coach wants him to do?
Dizzy Heights of School Basketball
Basketball is one of the safest sports. Unlike wrestling or boxing, it's not usually dangerous. One reason for this is that the players' energy is partly directed upwards, at a 90-degree angle to the ground, and over the heads of the others. So there's less risk of a collision between two players. In other sports, such as baseball and American football, the players' energy moves parallel to the ground and towards their opponents, so they wear helmets which give adequate protection to their heads. But although basketball players wear socks and sneakers which are specially designed to absorb energy when they bound into the air, they wear no other protection, just a vest and shorts. If there is an abrupt change of direction in their energy, from vertical to horizontal, such as when they accelerate across the court, bouncing the ball, there is a real danger of personal injury. For example, in the Kent State High School Basketball tournament, Chandler High was playing St Mary Central and at the interval the score was 50–52. But St Mary had appointed a captain who was not a typical basketball player. Whereas everyone else was tall and slim with short haircuts, Joe Johannsen was short and stout, with long hair and a large belly. But he was really fast, and when he obtained control of the ball, he could make a circuit of the court and reach the opposing team's boundary within seconds. Anyhow, twelve minutes into the second half, Frank Sackler, the Chandler star player, made a controversial pass over Joe's head. Joe stepped aside and dipped his head down. Sackler bounced off him and committed a foul. The referee interrupted the match, and there was a suspension of play. But Joe was unhurt, shot the penalty, and the score was 88–90. There were three minutes to go. Joe immediately took possession of the ball and ran, ... and suddenly 80 kilos hit the Chandler star, who howled loudly in pain and fell, with his nose bleeding and a cut on his left cheek. For a moment, he lay very still, and the referee even checked his pulse, but soon confirmed he was OK. But when Sackler stood up he was dizzy, so they put a bandage round his head, a blanket round his shoulders,
and called an ambulance to take him to the hospital. Joe was a considerate guy, and apologised as Sackler left, sniffing and weeping, either in pain or in frustration. Chandler scored with the penalty, and their teamwork had won the match. But Frank Sackler still has the scar on his face as a souvenir of the tournament.
Choose the best answers.
1. Basketball is one of the safest sports because ____. the players are well-protected the players accelerate across the court, bouncing the ball the players make abrupt changes of direction the direction of the players' energy means there is less chance of a collision 2. According to the writer, a typical basketball player would be ____. fast and weighing about 80 kilos short and stout tall and slim able to accelerate and bounce the ball at the same time 3. The foul was caused by ____. Sackler passing the ball over Joe's head Sackler falling over Joe Joe lowering his head the referee interrupting the match 4. The referee thought Sackler was seriously injured because ____. Sackler's nose was bleeding and he lay very still they put a bandage on his head, a blanket round his shoulders and called an ambulance Sackler was dizzy when he stood up Joe ran into him 5. The writer is probably ____. a basketball journalist for a national newspaper a basketball fan who is writing in a basketball team magazine a basketball journalist for a local newspaper a novelist
6. The writer's conclusion is ____. The players' energy is partly directed upwards, so there's less risk of a collision between two players. If there is an abrupt change of direction in their energy, there's a real danger of personal injury. Although basketball players wear socks and sneakers which are specially designed to absorb the energy when they bound into the air, they wear no other protection. Basketball is one of the safest sports.
How Did They Start
How did American football start? Football—or soccer—started in England 800 years ago. The game was played with a round ball that players kicked but could not carry. There were two teams, but there were often a hundred players on each team! However, in 1823, William Webb Ellis, a pupil at Rugby School in England, picked up the ball during a soccer game and ran with it. Teachers at the school were shocked and angry but Webb Ellis's schoolmates enjoyed this new game, which they named after the school. Eventually, rugby was played with an oval ball that could be both carried and thrown. Rugby was exported to the United States, changed a lot and became the sport that Americans now call football. During a game of American football, the ball can be kicked, thrown or carried. How did basketball start? Basketball was invented in 1891 in a gymnasium in Springfield, Massachusetts by Dr James Naismith, a physical education teacher. Naismith wanted to create a game that would provide exercise for a noisy class through the cold winter months. Naismith attached two baskets to two tall poles at each end of the gymnasium and gave the players a soccer ball and told them to try to throw the ball into the baskets. Naismith later wrote 13 rules which are the basis of modern basketball rules.
How did baseball start? The exact origin of baseball is unknown, but it is probably based on an old English game called rounders. In the USA, a version of the game became popular in the early 19th century and eventually, a man called Alexander Cartwright wrote the rules for baseball in 1845. Cartwright is called "the father of baseball" because the modern rules of the game are very similar to his original rules.
Read the passage and answer the questions.
1. Which of these games do you think is the most enjoyable to play? 2. How popular are these games in China?
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