Center (English for middle) position title in the sport of basketball. It is part of the front Courts, which also includes small forward and power forward are. The center is usually the longest and most physically strongest players on a basketball team. By NBA - scale ideal is a size of seven feet ( 213 cm), which is why centers are also called "Seven Footer ".
The tasks of the Center are limited almost exclusively to the work in the zone, directly under the basket. The center attempts due to the proximity to the basket, rebounds - that is to ring to get a clearance from the board or from, as well as to achieve light dots on the offensive. The center usually stands with his back to the basket, and gives a good position by " aufpostet " - that pushes the enemy with your own body. For this reason, very massive center usually. Also on the defensive is the center right under the basket. Through its presence in the zone, it prevents the drawing ( the opposing wing and point guard ) to the basket.
The game, the center varies greatly between the U.S. professional league NBA and European leagues that play by FIBA rules. There, the offensive responsibilities of a center are not exclusively limited to the zone, which would be considerably more difficult by the zone defense. Instead, European Centre draw more often by throwing a good feeling from a distance of ( up to the three-point line ). Many European centers that changed in the NBA, so initially had problems to change their style of play on the typical NBA center game.
The center position is to be filled hardest for a basketball team as athletic and at the same time technically savvy center players are very rare. For a team with a very good center then the advantage that it almost all the other teams are clearly inferior to that position. Therefore usually only win the team championships, which have a dominant centers - such as the Minneapolis Lakers of the 1950s, the Boston Celtics in the 1960s, and the San Antonio Spurs in 2007.
By 1936 there were, according basketball rules after each basket success a jump ball at the center line. To win the jump ball regularly, large, huge leaps and players were asked - the beginning of specialization of the center. But not only the jump ball sized people had the advantage. Also in defense when blocking a shot, get the rebound, and attack while throwing was size of benefits.
The first dominant center were just 1.80 m to 1.90 m tall ( which they were not much bigger than today's point guards ). So was Ed Wachter, who is regarded as the best center of the 1910s, about 1.85 m tall. Moose Krause, the strongest offensively College Center 1930, measured 1.90 meters. Chris Leonard and Joe Lapchick, two centers of the original Celtics in the 1930s and 1940s, were just over 1.92 m. Tarzan Cooper of the New York Renaissance was just as great. Center over 2.00 m, there were at that time not in principle; People of this size were even as unfit for basketball.
Only in the early 1940s started a trend towards larger centers. Thus proved in defending a large center of benefits that could catch a thrown ball from the opponent just before the basket. Among the players who were among the most often practiced George Mikan and Bob Kurland. Both were just under 2.10 m tall, making them the two first true " big men " of basketball history. Because of these two players finally the goaltending was banned in 1944. While Kurland never joined the NBA, Mikan founded in Minneapolis Lakers, the first championship dynasty, when he won 1949-1954 five of six NBA titles.
To order primarily to limit the dominance of the center, and the dominance of Mikan, the NBA widened the zone in 1951 under the basket in which a player in the attack should stand just three seconds, from three to six meters. The desired effect, it had not. Another advantage of very large players is that they push the ball in attack from the top of the basket, dunk neudeutsch can. To change this they suggested that the basket of 3.05 m (10 ft ) to 3.65 m to increase (12 feet) - plans that met with the players on big rejection and were therefore discarded. In the NCAA dunk but for ten years ( 1967-76 ) was banned.
A good center remained the most important part of a basketball team. In impressively demonstrated this Bill Russell, who won 1957-1969 eleven of thirteen possible championships with the Boston Celtics. At the same time Wilt Chamberlain dominated the NBA in almost all statistical categories.
In the 1970s, Kareem Abdul- Jabbar and Willis Reed to be the dominant centers. Abdul- Jabbar perfected it a litter that has been used successfully since the days of George Mikan - the " Hookshot " (English " Hook shoot" ). Bill Walton, another successful center of the 70s, which was, however, as well as Reed often handicapped by injury, the first time acted as a kind of "second point guard " for his team, by opening its passports moves.
The late 1980s to the mid 1990s the center position was unusually filled with many excellent players from Hakeem Olajuwon over Patrick Ewing and David Robinson and Shaquille O'Neal. The Lithuanians Arvydas Sabonis also heard despite its susceptibility to injury in this series. Since the late 90's this oversupply but went back again. It remained alone Shaquille O'Neal as the dominant center of the late 90s and early 2000s. His physical dominance under the baskets was so great ( and his free throw weakness so blatantly ) that opposing teams to went over to foul him immediately when he came into possession. This tactic became known as the Hack -a- Shaq.
Some teams tried now, instead aground with an equal with two centers. Successfully tried this the Houston Rockets, who entered in 1986 with Ralph Sampson and Hakeem Olajuwon as the center duo in the NBA Finals, and the San Antonio Spurs, who have won two championships in 1999 and 2003, with Tim Duncan and David Robinson.