(One of) The Greatest Games of All Time - Final Fantasy VII

Platform: PlayStation | Genre: Role-Playing Game
Publisher: SCEA | Developer: Squaresoft | Released: 1997

by Carrie Gouskous

The Final Fantasy series is one of the most significant franchises in video game history, responsible for numerous games that were both profound and critically adored. The series is also a veritable road map for how console role-playing games have progressed through multiple console generations, from its birth on the NES to later successes on Sony's consoles. Though fans of the franchise will argue until they run out of breath about which of the many great Final Fantasy games is the best, the name that frequently rises to the top of those discussions is the franchise's most influential game, Final Fantasy VII.

Final Fantasy VII is as good as it is important, but it's perhaps the latter quality that makes it stand out to so many people. It was the game's length and ultimately its file size that made it impossible for SquareSoft to continue its exclusive relationship with Nintendo and its cartridge-based N64 system. Instead, Final Fantasy VII made its debut on three CD-ROMs on the Sony PlayStation, and it featured fully 3D characters on prerendered backgrounds. But it is arguably the FMV cinematics that are most often remembered, the length and power of which gave Final Fantasy VII its potency, and it's what remains at the core of its legacy even now.

In Final Fantasy VII you assume the role of Cloud Strife, a spiky blonde-haired renegade who carries two things with him, the enormous and distinguishing Buster Sword and the memories of his dark, sordid past. As a former member of the military group SOLDIER, Cloud turns to fight alongside the "good guys," a resistance movement called AVALANCHE that seeks to stop SOLDIER and the group behind it, Shin-Ra, from siphoning all the energy from the planet. The energy, which comes from the planet's Lifestream, is responsible for all life, so as Shin-Ra seeks to use the energy to power their enormous reactors, their actions are in turn destroying the planet.

While the core concepts might not be unique, it's Cloud's interactions with other characters, especially between him and the game's antagonist, Sephiroth, which make the story so special. From its sinister and serious moments to Cloud's humorous cross-dressing sequence, players can't help but feel attached to Cloud and his supporting cast, who are easily as iconic as he is. At the top of the list are his two love interests, tough girl Tifa and the mystical flower girl Aeris (Aerith), whose relationship with Cloud you can govern by selecting different conversational choices along the way. There's also Sephiroth, whose appearance among flames as he burns down Cloud's hometown might be one of the most recognizable cutscenes ever to grace video games. And let's not forget that he's responsible for the most shocking moment in video games, the most spoilerific spoiler of all time, the death of Aeris.

Though story and character certainly are the heart of Final Fantasy VII, the gameplay mechanics are the soul, perfectly fusing typical RPG complexity and accessibility. It's little wonder that Final Fantasy VII is one of the most popular games of all time, as it's often credited with propagating console RPGs outside of Japan. Most notably the materia system and the game's elaborate summons (especially Knights of the Round) keep the 50-plus hours of gameplay interesting as you travel across the beautiful land, via Chocobo or airship, uncovering the mysteries of Cloud's past. And the music that accompanies you is one of legendary composer Nobuo Uematsu's finest--from the game's take on the Prelude to the graceful beauty of Cosmo Canyon to the orchestral epic One Winged Angel--the music is both gorgeous and extraordinarily memorable.

But perhaps the most amazing thing about Final Fantasy VII is its life after the game. Recognized by fans the world over, Final Fantasy VII frequently graces the top of "fan favorites" lists, including the reader-driven GameFAQs' Best Character, Best Villain, and Best Game Ever summer poll contests, which have had Cloud Strife, Sephiroth, and Final Fantasy VII coming in at the top of their respective categories year after year. Square Enix, too, recognizes the series' potential and has built an entire universe of games around Final Fantasy VII. The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII consists of spin-off games in the same universe on a host of different platforms, as well as the Final Fantasy VII movie, Advent Children. There's no game that has a better chance of success than Final Fantasy VII, as it's the first franchise to kick off Square Enix's new experimental concept of "polymorphic content."

Final Fantasy VII will live on for years to come, not only because Square Enix recognizes how beloved it is (and continues to update the franchise), but also because the game stands the test of time. The amazing collaboration of Square's finest developers, makes this legendary game, without a doubt, one of the greatest games of all time.

Differences Between FIBA and NBA Rules

Basketball is played all around the world using the same set of rules... except in North America, of course!

Below is a list of major rule differences between FIBA (International) Rules and many of those used in North America. The list is meant to give more detailed information than some other comparisons (more suitable for usage by referees), but is by no means exhaustive.

Each point listed will address the following sets of rules:

FIBA International Rules
NBA National Basketball Association, the world's premier professional league, with teams in the United States and Canada.
WNBA A professional women's summer league founded by the NBA in 1997.
NCAA Men US National Collegiate Athletic Association. There are some rule variations between Men and Women's rules.
NCAA Women

The NBDL (the NBA's fall development league) uses NBA rules for purposes of this discussion.

I do not have current information on US High School rules (National Federation rules), so I have chosen to omit them. They are similar in philosophy to NCAA Men's rules, but they have some peculiar quirks. The NCAA also puts a comparison in the back of their rule book each year, which is available online. Check some of the sources listed in my Hoop Links for more current information on NF Rules.

A reminder that this page is ©2000–2009 Anthony Reimer. If you want to reproduce this handout (for a clinic, for instance), you need to seek permission from me. In many cases, there will be no royalty charged so long as proper recognition is given. Having said this, I have been out of active officiating for quite some time, so if you want to use this comparison as a basis for a new, publicly-available rules comparison and keep it updated, please contact me and I will consider releasing this under the same terms as my Pre-game Card.

Major Differences

Three Point Line (measured from the centre of the basket)

FIBA 6.25 m (20' 6.25")
High-level competitions move to 6.75 m (22'1.75") in October 2010
NBA an arc of 23'9" (7.24 m), which intersects with lines parallel to the sideline which are 22' (6.7 m) away at their closest point to the basket
WNBA 20' 6.25" (6.25 m)
NCAA Men 19'9" (6.02 m), increasing to 20'9" (6.325 m) for 2008–09 season
NCAA Women 19'9" (6.02 m)

Restricted Area (a.k.a. "The Key" or "The Lane")

FIBA A trapezoid 3.6 m (12') wide at the free throw line and 6 m wide (19' 8.25") at the baseline
High-level competitions move to 4.88 m (16') wide rectangle in October 2010
NBA 16' (4.88 m) wide rectangle
NCAA Men 12' (3.6 m) wide rectangle
NCAA Women

Playing Time

FIBA 4 - 10 minute quarters; OT periods are 5 min each
NBA 4 - 12 minute quarters; OT periods are 5 min each
WNBA 4 - 10 minute quarters; OT periods are 5 min each
NCAA Men 2 - 20 minute halves; OT periods are 5 min each
NCAA Women

Game Clock Operation — Last Minutes of Play/Field Goal

The clock stops after a successful field goal...

FIBA In the last two minutes of the second half and any OT period
NBA In last minute of quarters 1, 2, 3, last 2 minutes of quarter 4 and any OT
WNBA In last minute of every period
NCAA Men In the last minute of the second half and any OT period
NCAA Women

Shot Clock — Time Allowed to Shoot

FIBA 24 seconds
NCAA Men 35 seconds
NCAA Women 30 seconds

Shot Clock — Operation

All rules agree that a team must attempt (release) a shot before the clock expires and that for it to be a legal attempt, the ball must strike the ring. After a legal attempt, the clock is reset to its maximum value and does not start again until a team gains control (or is awarded possession for a throw-in). Likewise, a change of team control causes the shot clock to be reset. Shot clocks are stopped when play stops. Clocks are never reset when a defensive player causes the ball to go out of bounds (the word "violation" used below does not refer to out-of-bounds violations). The rules diverge on which situations cause a reset, how much that reset will be, and when the clock will restart.

  • In cases where play resumes with less than full amount on shot clock, shot clock does not resume until team establishes control in bounds.
  • The shot clock is reset after most fouls (personal or technical) — exceptions follow.
  • The shot clock is not reset on a double foul or alternating possession situation when the same team retains possession.
  • High-level competitions change to NBA-like resets in October 2010
  • When play resumes with less than full amount on shot clock, shot clock resumes with first touch in bounds
  • The shot clock is reset to 24, 14, or 5 (unless the time remaining on the clock is greater) under the following circumstances:
    • Reset to 24 on all flagrant and punching fouls, as well as personal fouls and violations resulting in a backcourt throw-in.
    • Reset to 14 on personal fouls and defensive 3-second or kicked/punched ball or jump ball situation (no change of possession) violations resulting in a front court throw-in; a defensive technincal foul or delay of game warning; an infection control situation
    • Reset to 5 when the same team retains possession on a jump ball situation resulting from a defensive tie-up.
  • The shot clock is not reset when the offensive team commits a technical foul or is charged with a delay of game warning
  • When play resumes with less than full amount on shot clock, shot clock resumes with first touch in bounds
  • The shot clock is reset after most fouls (personal or technical) — exceptions follow.
  • The shot clock is not reset on a double foul or alternating possession situation when the same team retains possession.
  • The shot clock is not reset when the offensive team commits a technical foul.
  • For kicked ball violations, if the violation occurs with 14 or fewer seconds remaining on the shot clock, it shall be reset to 15 seconds. Otherwise, there shall be no reset (the time remaining shall be used).
NCAA Women

Time Outs — Number and Duration

  • 2 time outs in first half, 3 in second half, one per overtime period
  • All time-outs must last 60 seconds
  • Time-outs do not accumulate
  • 6 "regular" time outs per regulation time (with some restrictions — some mandatory timeouts for TV are built into the 6), 2 regular timeouts per overtime period
  • Regular time outs are 60 seconds in duration, except the first two timeouts in each period and the extra mandatory timeout in Quarters 2 and 4, which are 100 seconds
  • Time outs do not accumulate into overtime
  • One 20 second timeout per half and each overtime period.
  • Maxiumum 3 regular timeouts in the fourth period.
  • If a team has 2 or 3 regular timeouts remaining when the fourth period or overtime period reaches the 2:00 mark, those will change to one regular timeout and one 20-second timeout. (Thus, a team may never have more than 1 regular and two 20-second timeouts in the last two minutes of a game.)
  • 2 "regular" timeouts per half (one of those timeouts will generally be charged as a mandatory timeout), 1 per overtime period
  • The first regular timeout in the first and third period and the first two regular timeouts in the second and fourth period are 120 seconds in length. All other regular timeouts are 60 seconds in length.
  • Unused regular time outs do not accumulate from half to half, nor into overtime
  • One 20 sec timeout in each half and OT period; can carry one over from 1st to 2nd Half or 2nd Half to OT (never more than two allowed in OT period).
Electronic Media Game:
  • 4 30-second time outs and 1 60-second time out per game
  • A maximum of 3 30-second time outs and one 60-second time out may be carried into the second half
  • One additional 30-second time out is added per overtime period (any timeouts remaining from the second half may be carried over into overtime)
  • First 30-second time out of the second half is extended to the length of a media timeout.
  • If coach requests 2 consecutive 30-second timeouts, players may sit on the bench, so long as the request is made when the first timeout is granted. (Normally, players must remain standing and on the floor during a 30-second timeout.)
  • Time outs that are not Electronic Media timeouts may be shortened.
Non-E.M. Game:
  • 4 "full" time outs per game (75 seconds, warning horn after 60 seconds has expired), add one per overtime
  • 2 - 30 sec timeouts per game (can be used any time)
  • All time outs are cumulative
NCAA Women

Time Outs — How To Call, When Allowed, Privileges

  • Must be called by the coach through the scorer's table
  • Time out granted on next stoppage or, if asked for in time, after the next field goal scored against (a mercy rule of sorts).
  • No time-outs granted once a set of free throws has started — Exceptions: If the last free throw is successful, the team scored upon may be granted a timeout; if the free throw is followed by possession at centre, either team may be granted a timeout before the throw-in.
  • Ball is advanced to centre in the last two minutes of the 4th quarter (or OT) when a timeout is called by the team with the ball entitled to a throw-in in the back court (including after a successful field goal by the opponents). High-level competitions will promote the ball to the top of the 3-point arc in the offensive zone as of October 2010
  • Called from the floor by players anytime a player on their team is in control of the ball, or whenever the ball is dead (once you are scored upon, you are deemed to be in control, so no time-outs after you score a basket as is possible in the NCAA)
  • The Head Coach may also request a time-out from an official.
  • A player may not call timeout if both of his/her feet are in the air and any part of his/her body has broken the vertical plane of the sideline, baseline, or midcourt line
  • Ball may be advanced to front court (the 28' line, in specific) in some situations after calling a full or 20 second time out late in the game
  • Called from the floor by players or the coach anytime a player on their team is in control of the ball, or whenever the ball is dead, including after a field goal or free throw scored by either team.
  • A time out shall not be recognized if an airborne player's momentum carries them out of bounds or into the back court.
NCAA Women

Jump Ball, Held Ball, Alternating Possession

  • On all held ball/jump ball situations during the game (including the beginning of most periods), teams alternate receiving the ball ("alternating possession"), with the team not gaining possession of the initial (tossed) jump ball being the first recipient.
  • First half begins with a jump ball; alternating possession at the beginning of all other periods.
  • The shot clock shall not be reset if the offensive team retains possession of the ball through the alternating process.
  • On all held ball/jump ball situations during the game, play resumes with a (tossed) jump ball
  • If the offence retains possession after a jump ball, the clock is reset to 5 seconds or remains the same if there were more than 14 seconds on the clock. If the defense commits a violation during the jump ball, the clock is reset to 14. If the defense gains possession, the clock is reset to 24 seconds.
  • First period and any overtime begin with a jump ball; periods 2, 3, and 4 start with possession based on team winning opening tip (2 and 3 to loser of tip, 4 to winner). Throw-in is treated like a throw-in after a successful basket (player may run baseline and/or pass to teammates out of bounds).
  • On all held ball/jump ball situations during the game (including the start of the second half), teams alternate receiving the ball ("alternating possession"), with the team not gaining possession of the last (tossed) jump ball being the first recipient
  • The game and any overtime period start with a jump ball; alternating possession at the beginning of the second half
  • If the offensive team retains the ball due to the alternating process, the shot clock shall not be reset.
NCAA Women


  • A "substitution opportunity" begins when the clock is stopped and the ball is dead (i.e. after a whistle or after a field goal in the last two minutes). It ends when an official steps into the circle to toss a jump ball or an official steps into the lane to administer free throw(s) or the ball is at the disposal of a player for a throw-in. One major effect of this is to disallow subs between free throws.
  • Either team may sub on any foul, jump ball, time out or [new in 2004] violation that creates a substitution opportunity.
  • If the last free throw is successful (or is followed by possession at centre), either team may substitute (limitations regarding subs for the shooter have been eliminated; now similar to NCAA).
  • After a basket in the last two minutes, the team scored upon may initiate a substitution (the player(s) must be there before the basket is scored). If only the team that scores wants the substitution, it shall not be allowed.
  • Referee's stoppages are explicitly included as substitution opportunities for either or both teams.
  • Subs permitted by either team when the clock is stopped and the ball is dead. Exception: Subs not permitted after a successful final free throw or field goal (in the final minute(s) of a period). In many cases, the player must be in the 8' box (near the centre of the scorer's table) at the time of the stoppage in order to come into the game.
  • Subs are not allowed during a referee's stoppage (e.g., delay of game warning, stopping play due to an errant ball).
  • During free throw activity, subs are permitted after the first free throw in a multiple throw penalty, but not thereafter (i.e. not between the second and third throws, nor after a successful final throw). "Sub for the shooter" is not generally permitted.
  • Subs by either team permitted when the clock is stopped and the ball is dead, including after a successful free throw. Exception: Substitutions shall not be permitted in the last 59.9 seconds of the second half or any extra period when the clock is stopped (a) due to a successful field goal, (b) to correct a timer's mistake, or (c) due to an inadvertent whistle.
  • No restrictions on which team must initiate subs, even after a successful final free throw.
  • In situations where two or three free throws are awarded, substitutions are held until just prior to the final throw.
NCAA Women

Player Fouls

  • Foul out on 5 (personal + technical)
  • All fouls involving contact with an opponent, even when play is stopped, are personal fouls
  • Foul out on 6 personal or 2 technical fouls
  • Fouls committed while the ball is dead are technical fouls.
  • Foul out on 5 (personal fouls + non-administrative technical fouls)
  • Fouls committed while the ball is dead are technical fouls.
NCAA Women

Team Fouls (Penalty or "Bonus" Free Throws)

Note: In all rules, if a shooting foul occurs, or any other foul that would lead to free throws regardless of the foul count, the normal penalty shall supersede any penalty related to foul count.

  • Penalty (2 shots) is awarded on any team foul after the 4th of each quarter (i.e. on the 5th) unless the foul is an offensive foul; overtime is an extension of the 4th quarter.
  • Team fouls include all personal fouls and player (not coach) technical fouls.
  • Penalty (a total of 2 shots) is awarded on the 5th team foul in each quarter (on the 4th in OT), or on the second in the last two minutes, whichever comes first.
  • Team fouls include personal fouls by defensive players and any loose ball fouls (i.e. offensive fouls and technical fouls are not team fouls).
  • "Bonus" (1 free throw, plus another free throw if the first is successful) is awarded on the 7th, 8th and 9th foul of each half; the penalty is increased to two shots (often called "double bonus") on the 10th and subsequent fouls; overtime is an extension of the second half.
  • Team fouls include all personal fouls, all contact and unsporting technical fouls, and all technical fouls to anyone on the bench.
  • Note: No free throws awarded on an offensive foul (this is now in line with all other rules listed here; prior to the 2002-03 season, this rule only applied to the player in control of the ball).
NCAA Women

Technical Foul — Penalty

FIBA 2 free throws and possession of the ball at centre; no possession at centre if the foul occurs before the first half (game would still start with a jump ball).
NBA 1 free throw per technical foul; play resumes at the point of interruption; foul is charged to individual in question (and automatic fine assessed)
NCAA Men 2 free throws, play resumes at point of interruption.
NCAA Women 2 free throws, play resumes at point of interruption. Technical fouls for excess time outs shall be penalised by two free throws, plus loss of possession of the ball.

Goaltending/Basket Interference

All rules disallow players from touching the ball on its downward flight toward the basket if it still has a chance to go in. Reaching through the basket to play the ball is also a violation. The major differences centre around what happens when a shot hits the rim and may or may not go in.

  • Once the ball strikes the rim, any player can play the ball (i.e. swat it away or tap it in).
  • Once the ball is in the basket, the offence can no longer violate.

    Note: The alley-oop play, once illegal in FIBA, was legalised in 1994.

  • An imaginary cylinder exists that has the basket as its base. Touching the ball while any part of it is in this cylinder (and still has a chance to go in) is a violation.
NCAA Women

Zone Defence

FIBA Legal
NBA Legal, however a defensive player may not stay in the lane (a.k.a. key, restricted area) for longer than three seconds if he is not actively guarding an opponent (penalty: technical foul, shot clock reset to 14 if necessary)
WNBA Legal
NCAA Women

Free Throw Activity

Note: In all rules, the shooter of the free throw must wait for the ball to strike the rim before they can touch or cross the line.

  • Maximum 5 players on the lane (3 opponents of shooter, 2 teammates)
  • All spots designated (i.e. if left vacant, may not be filled by opponent)
  • Players on lane leave on release of throw, others must stand behind free throw line extended & 3 point line and wait for ball to strike rim
  • A shooter violation overrides all other violations. Similarly, if the free throw is good and the shooter did not violate, all other violations are ignored and the throw counts (one of my favourite FIBA rules).
  • Five seconds to attempt the free throw (not strictly enforced)
  • Bottom four spaces must be occupied - a delay of game warning can be issued if they are not
  • Maximum 5 players on the lane (3 opponents of shooter, 2 teammates)
  • Players occupying lane spaces are prohibited from extending any part of their bodies into the space in front of an opponent until the free throw is released
  • Players on lane leave on release of throw, others must stand behind free throw line extended & 3 point line but may also leave on release of throw
  • A violation by any member of the shooting team can cancel an otherwise valid free throw
  • Ten seconds to attempt the free throw
  • Maximum 6 players on the lane (4 opponents of shooter, 2 teammates)
  • Bottom two spots must be occupied by opponents of the shooter; right to spots alternate along the lane; 3rd spots on the lane (normally occupied by opponents of the shooter) may be filled by a teammate of the shooter if the non-shooting team chooses not to fill it.
  • Spots closest to the shooter (4th lane spots) may not be filled.
  • Players on lane leave on release of throw, others must stand behind free throw line extended & 3 point line and wait for ball to strike rim
  • A violation by any member of the shooting team can cancel an otherwise valid free throw
  • Ten seconds to attempt the free throw
NCAA Women
  • Maximum 6 players on the lane (4 opponents of shooter, 2 teammates)
  • All spots designated (i.e. if left vacant, may not be filled by opponent)
  • Spots closest to the basket (below "the block") are not used (players fill the second, third and fourth spots from the basket).
  • Players on lane leave on release of throw, others must stand behind free throw line extended & 3 point line and wait for ball to strike rim
  • A violation by any member of the shooting team can cancel an otherwise valid free throw
  • Ten seconds to attempt the free throw

Minor Differences

Player Numbers

FIBA: Only the numbers 4-15 may be used in international competition (in exhibition or domestic play, any one- or two-digit number is acceptable)

NCAA: 00, 0, 1-5, 10-15, 20-25, 30-35, 40-45, 50-55; not both 0 and 00 on the same team;

NBA, WNBA: any one or two digit number; not both 0 and 00 on the same team.

Ball Over Backboard

FIBA: The ball is still in play if it passes over the backboard in either direction, providing that it does not hit a basket support

NBA, WNBA, NCAA: Ball is out of bounds if it passes over the backboard in either direction (NBA/WBNA wording is "passes behind the backboard")


NBA/WNBA rule is a little more liberal than the current NCAA and FIBA rules when a player is coming to a stop. The NBA/WNBA rule is identical to the pre-1994 FIBA rule; in essence, once you have come to a legal stop, you always have a foot to pivot with. NCAA and current FIBA rules can leave a player without a pivot foot. As well, if you land with a staggered stop (i.e. one foot, then the other, with one foot clearly in front of the other), the back foot is the pivot foot in NBA/WNBA. In NCAA/FIBA, the first foot to touch is the pivot.

Injured Player

FIBA: Referee stops play at an appropriate time to deal with injury (slightly different times in FIBA and NCAA). If an injured player is entitled to free throws and must leave the game, the substitute shall attempt the throws.

NCAA: Referee stops play at an appropriate time to deal with injury (slightly different times in FIBA and NCAA). New in 2009–11: In Men's play, if an injured player is entitled to free throws and must leave the game, the opposing coach selects the player (from the four remaining on the floor) to take the throws unless it is due to an intentional or flagrant foul. (Women's play: Same as FIBA.)

NBA, WNBA: Team must call 20 second or full timeout to stop for injured player. If an injured player is entitled to free throws and must leave the game, the opposing coach selects a player from the shooting team's bench to take the throws unless it is due to a flagrant foul (penalty 1 or 2).

Closely Guarded Player / 5 Second Violation

FIBA: Player holding the ball for 5 seconds, actively guarded within one metre, anywhere on the court

NCAA: front court only, holding or dribbling the ball (not a combination of both) for 5 seconds, within 6'/2 m (Women: 3')

CIS Men 2006: Player holding the ball for 5 seconds, actively guarded within one metre, front court only.

NBA: No closely guarded rule; Illegal to dribble with your back to the basket for 5 consecutive seconds while you are between the baseline and the free throw line extended.

WNBA: No rule

Backcourt Violation("Over and Back") / Front Court & Back Court Status

If you are standing with the ball and have one or both feet touching the back court, you have back court status. If you are dribbling from backcourt to front court, all three points (dribbler's feet and the ball) must be in the front court, otherwise the ball retains back court status. New in 2008: This is now the case for all rules (FIBA change).

FIBA: Player who establishes a new team control while airborne and then lands in the backcourt has not commited a violation. Also, team control exists on a throw-in, so if the ball is thrown in from the front court to a player with back court status, it would be a backcourt violation.

NCAA: An airborne player who is the first to secure control of the ball after a jump ball or throw-in may land with one or both feet in the back court without violating. On a throw-in, a player may legally throw the ball directly to a teammate in the backcourt.

NBA, WNBA: Same as FIBA. Additional exceptions made for frontcourt and midcourt throw-ins in the last two minutes (WNBA: 1 minute) of the 4th period and throughout overtime made directly to the backcourt, an airborne player securing the ball in jump ball situations, and in loose ball situations.

8 (or 10) Second Violation

Once a team gains control of the ball in the backcourt, it has either 8 or 10 seconds (as specified below) to proceed to the frontcourt (i.e. the ball gains frontcourt status).

FIBA: 8 seconds. Count is not reset if possession is retained because of an out of bounds violation, an alternating possession throw-in, fouls of equal penalties, or offensive injury.

NBA, WNBA: 8 seconds. Count is reset if the defence kicks or punches the ball, is assessed a technical foul, or is issued a delay of game warning; or if play is stopped due to a player bleeding. For purposes of this rule, the ball gains front court status on a pass when it crosses the plane of the centre line.

NCAA Men: 10 seconds. Count ends (without penalty) if the ball becomes dead (e.g., if the defensive team deflects the ball out of bounds).

NCAA Women: No time limit (other than the shot clock).

Number of On-court Officials

FIBA: A three-official system will be used for World and Olympic Championships, and may be used for other championships; mechanics similar to NCAA.

NBA, WNBA: A three-official system is used (different mechanics than NCAA/FIBA).

NCAA: Either two or three officials.

Rebounding Own Shot

NBA, WNBA: Violation to be the first to touch ones own shot if it doesn't hit the rim or backboard (i.e. an "air ball").

All others: Legal (referee must judge that it was a try for goal, as poorly executed as it was ;-)

Ball Size

As of September 2004, all Women's rules (FIBA, WNBA, NCAA) use the so-called Size 6 ball (previously, FIBA had used the same ball size for men and women). All Men's rules continue to use the larger ball.

Instant Replay

NBA, WNBA: Triggered automatically (no discretion); used to determine good field goals at the end of period as well as time remaining in period when the foul occurs with 0:00 on the clock; used to determine severity of foul in Flagrant 2 (ejection) instance and any other factors that may have caused same; used to assist with identifying and penalizing players in an altercation; used for game clock malfunction at the end of a period; used to determine status of 2- or 3-point attempt (whether made or shooter fouled) when officials are in doubt. Anything at the end of the game that will not affect the outcome is not reviewed.

NCAA: When available, shall be used to determine good field goals at the end of period as well as time remaining in period when the foul occurs with 0:00 on the clock (same as NBA); shall be used to determine who left the bench during a fight (and if a fight occurred); may be used (discretion of officials) in specific ways related to Free Throws (e.g., shooter, number of throws), Scoring (2 or 3 point goal, scorer errors), Timing (clock malfunction, game clock or shot clock operational errors — specific limits apply), or to determine if a flagrant foul has occurred (new for 2009–11: can also reduce the penalty to intentional foul after review).

FIBA: No rule.

Deliberate/Hard Foul (not leading to ejection)

FIBA: Called Unsportsmanlike Foul. To be called if player is making no effort to play the ball or if it is a "hard foul." New in 2008: If there is no opponent between the offensive player and the basket and the player is fouled from behind or on the side, it is unsportmanlike.

NBA, WNBA: Called Flagrant Foul — Penalty 1. To be called if contact is "unnecessary." A clear-path-to-the-basket foul is not considered a Flagrant (1) foul, but the penalty (2 free throws + possession) is the same.

NCAA: Called Intentional Personal Foul. Similar interpretation to FIBA (except no specific clear-path foul, just fouling from behind). Contacting a thrower-in is an Intentional Foul.

Charging Fouls under the Basket

FIBA: Implementing a 1.25 m (4'1.2") no-charge semicircle for High-level competitions starting in October 2010 (for "medium" levels in October 2012). No rule until that time.

NCAA Men: New in 2009–11: Secondary defender must establish position in front of backboard and rim.

NCAA Women: No rule.

NBA, WNBA: 4' (1.22 m) no-charge semicircle.

Piechart of the Infographic


Making Sense of Dreams


Fallout Television Transmission Difficulty


The Last Thing You'll See...


5 Sidekicks Who Got Screwed By History

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It would be a pretty hard sell convincing you that without Robin, Batman would be nothing more than an insomniac running around Gotham in his footie pajamas. Or that without that screaming ninny Willie, Indiana Jones would have found himself on the business end of a crocodile's gaping maw. Because those statements are obviously stupid.

But that's not the case with these lesser-known, real-life sidekicks who, for one reason or another, got shafted by history.

#5. Walt Disney's Sidekick, Ub Iwerks

Ub Iwerks was a Missouri-born animator and Walt Disney's oldest and closest friend. He was also the guy who invented Mickey Mouse.

You read that right. Before there was Disney, the multi-billion-dollar global conglomerate, there was just Walt, the young man kicking around at someone else's animation studio, and his buddy Ub, the guy doing the grunt work. Ub's first success as Walt's go-to guy was the creation of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit:

Which happened to look like Mickey Mouse, if some sadistic bastard had hung Mickey up by his ears for a week and a half. Unfortunately for Disney, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was actually owned by Universal Studios, and Universal Studios decided itdidn't need Walt's involvement to keep this scrappy character going. So Walt asked his BFF Ub to whip up an Oswald 2.0:

Did everyone just look like Charlie Chaplin back then?

Iwerks not only conceptualized Mickey Mouse, he animated Mickey's first cartoon, all by himself. In fact, because Disney was shorthanded, Iwerks ended up animating Mickey's first five cartoons, plus the first Silly Symphonies. And Disney was so appreciative of his friend's work that some of those first cartoons' titles read like this:

Notice how Iwerks' name is bolded and bigger than Disney's.

So why have we never heard of him? Apparently, because Iwerks was shy and didn't have a very good sense of humor. Believe it or not, back in those days people thought Mickey Mouse was hilarious. Like, pee-your-pants, snort-milk-out-of-your-nose hilarious. And even though Iwerks was recognized as one of the most technically talented animators in the field, he just wasn't all that funny.

"I cannot breathe for my vigorous laughter!"

So when he left Disney to start his own studio, it flopped like a wet bologna on a lube-covered Slip-N-Slide. Walt could replace Iwerks with new animators, but Ub couldn't replace Walt's sense of humor. Eleven years after leaving Disney, he came back to the studio, but this time around, he spent his talent concentrating on solving more technical problems, like how to integrate archaic live-action racial stereotypes with blatantly offensive animated animals.

In the end, Disney himself said his friend's personality was the reason no one had ever heard of him. Iwerks was too shy to promote himself, and no one makes it in Hollywood without a little bravado. As a result, when people all over the planet see the face of one of the most recognizable characters in the history of human culture ...

And also, some broad in an ugly dress.

... they think one word and one word only: "Disney."

#4. The Wright Brothers' Sidekick, Octave Chanute

Despite having a name that sounds like a musical garbage compactor, Octave Chanute was one of aviation's earliest champions. Already an old man and a retired engineer in 1890, he began tinkering with flying machines as his second career, publishing the very first history of aviation before anyone had actually taken flight. Which, coincidentally, inspired us to publish The History of the First Blow-Job Powered Hovercrafts, but that's another story.

One with alligators.

More importantly, Chanute developed collaborative relationships with his contemporaries, freely sharing knowledge with the hopes that someone, anyone, would finally get a plane up in the air. One of those aviators, Percy Pilcher, actually took Chanute's design of the first triplane and built one but tragically died in a glider accident days before he could test the plane out. Which was a shame, because over a hundred years later, some British university students reconstructed the plane and flew it for over a minute. Which means that Octave Chanute probably designed the world's first functioning airplane, four years before the Wright brothers flew theirs.

So, one year after Chanute designed a plane that would have flown had it been tested, the Wright brothers contacted him for advice. Octave not only gave them beaucoup advice, he practically became their champion for the next few years. He publicized their experiments, visited them, exchanged hundreds of letters with them and pretty much legitimized their work to the rest of the aviation community.

Oh, and they modeled their glider after his designs.

Also, we're not sure, but we think KFC may have stolen his image for Colonel Sanders.

And as a measure of their thanks for all his help, the Wright brothers became intensely secretive about their methods and designs, patenting everything and scrambling to secure government contracts before anyone stole their ideas. While Chanute did everything he could to promote the work and efforts of others, even investing up to $100,000 of his own money in his and others' experiments, the Wrights subscribed to the "gotta get mine" philosophy of aviation innovation.

And for that, Octave Chanute practically disowned them. In 1910 Chanute died, beloved within the aviation community, unknown outside it. Meanwhile, the Wright brothers got so famous that 100 years after their biggest flight, they were played by the Wilson brothers in the 2004 Jackie Chan vehicle Around the World in 80 Days.

It could probably have been worse, but we're not quite sure how.


#3. Edmund Hillary's Sidekick, Tenzing Norgay

We're starting to suspect that being a success is five percent inspiration, and 95 percent not having a ridiculous-sounding name. Too bad for Tenzing Norgay, the Sherpa guide of famous Mount Everest climber Sir Edmund Hillary, that one of those elements was not in his favor.

Where do you even buy a suit like that?

In 1953, Norgay joined John Hunt's 400-member strong Everest Expedition as one of the 20 Sherpa guides. And it was a good thing, too. Tenzing had already attempted to mount Everest in six previous climbs so he was by far the most experienced of the climbers, and was chock-full of lifesaving tidbits that came in handy as the expedition wore on. Like the time he saved Edmund Hillary from certain death when Edmund fell into a crevasse and Tenzing quickly used an ice ax to secure his rope. From that moment forward, Sir Edmund Hillary made Tenzing Norgay his mountain buddy of choice.

The two were such a good team that it was a no-brainer when Hunt picked them to do the last little climb to the summit. In fact, the only picture of their feat was taken by Hillary of Norgay at the top:

... because Tenzing didn't know how to use a camera and the summit of Mount Everest was no place to get a photography lesson. For their success, Sir Hillary was knighted, given India's highest civilian honor, put on the New Zealand five-pound note and made an honorary citizen of Nepal.

Tenzing got a medal and India's third-highest civilian honor. And you've almost certainly never heard his name.


So why don't you know about him? You would, if you were Indian or Nepalese. Over there, Norgay was a national hero. He spent the next 22 years after the climb as the field director of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. Which wasn't so bad a gig for the illiterate son of a yak herder.

And while Time magazine did throw him a bone and put him on the list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century, when we in the West think of "Everest" we think "Edmund Hillary," and when we think of Tenzing Norgay, we think "What is that? An STD?"

Is that the name of the weird hat he's wearing?

#2. John Wayne's Sidekick, Yakima Canutt

Yakima Canutt was a real-deal cowboy, the kind who grew up on a ranch and busted broncos for fun. He was also a major hit on the rodeo circuit, a war veteran and an expert horse rider. But it wasn't until he began wintering in Hollywood between rodeo seasons that he found his true calling: as a best boy. Just kidding -- Yakima was a really good stunt man. By the time talkies rolled around, Yakima had logged onscreen time in 48 movies and was staging scenes as much as he was acting in them.

His butt-chin was the stuff of legends.

In 1932, he met a little-known actor named John Wayne. A cowboy bromance was formed. Canutt not only doubled for Wayne on his trickiest stunts but he also taught him how to fall off a horse without dying and how to twirl a gun real fancy-like, and together they developed realistic punching techniques for the camera. But more importantly, John Wayne pretty much tailored his on-screen persona after Yakima. Everything that we remember about John Wayne -- his walk, his slow, long drawl and stilted speech, even the way he stood -- were all ripped right off of Yak Canutt.

Yak Canutt, seen here diving into horses.

This isn't some kind of conspiracy theory. The Duke was the first to admit it:

"I spent weeks studying the way Yakima Canutt walked and talked. He was a real cowhand. I noticed that the angrier he got, the lower his voice, the slower his tempo. I try to say my lines low and strong and slow, the way Yak did."

So Canutt not only taught Wayne the skills he needed to be a believable cowboy, but he was the real-life John Wayne. He invented all of the mannerisms that John Wayne would use in every freaking role he played. Wayne became one of the most famous actors of all time; Canutt was forgotten.

Seriously, spend more than 10 minutes on your book cover, guy.

#1. George Washington's Sidekick, Baron von Steuben

The hilariously long-named Friedrich Wilhelm August Heinrich Ferdinand von Steuben was a Prussian-born soldier who actually could have doubled for his future boss, George Washington:

Seriously, those two could have pulled off some Parent Trap-level shenanigans:

Except that von Steuben didn't speak a word of English, so that would have been pretty hard to do. And it's also probably why you've never heard of him.

In 1777, after over 30 years in military service and eight years of fooling people into thinking he was a baron, von Steuben was introduced to American legend Benjamin Franklin, who in turn recommended him to Gen. Washington. And when Franklin made that introduction, he made sure to let Washington know that the fake baron was also a lieutenant general (which he was not). The record is unclear, but we're pretty sure von Steuben also bragged about his score of 2400 on the SATs and how MIT was totally offering him a full ride. Washington was duly impressed.

At this point, you'd think that this non-English-speaking George Washington look-a-like fraud was probably knee-deep in shit he was ill-prepared to handle, but you'd be wrong. Within months of arriving in America, he rose from drillmaster to inspector general of the Continental Army, wrote the army's drill manual and taught soldiers how to not defecate all over their own campsites, how to actually use a bayonet for something other than a shish kebab skewer and how to march, stand, use their muskets correctly and pretty much how to be an army that could defeat the most powerful military force in the world. Two more things: 1) He did all this for free, and 2) He was probably gay.

... and now the Steuben Monument makes sense.

So what happens to a foreigner who saves America? Untold riches? The adoration of millions? All the Cristal you could shake a stick at?

Not quite. Congress gave him land (there was plenty to go around after stealing so much from Indians and former royalists) but refused to pay the money he had been promised when first volunteering. It took the intervention of Washington and Franklin to persuade Congress to provide the Baron with a bankruptcy-saving pension. And even then, the guy still died in debt and pretty much forgotten.

It wasn't until America's involvement in World War I, when everyone got in a tizzy over the German Hun, that some German-Americans resurrected Steuben's memory as proof of their American patriotism. And also to set up some sweet future parades for truant egomaniacs:

"It was all worth it!"

You Don't Go On Facebook For a Week...

The Staggering Size of the Internet

The State of the Internet INFOGRAPHIC

The Internet is a big place. How big? Try gigantic. The infographic above, from the folks at Focus, attempts to visually represent some of the mind-boggling numbers that defined the Internet circa 2010 — the result is certainly pretty, but still not very easy to wrap your head around.

How, for example, does one simply imagine the 2 billion videos being watched on YouTube each and every day? How is it possible that 35 hours of video can be uploaded to the site every minute? What do 36 billion photos look like? Ask Facebook; that’s how many photos are uploaded to the site each year. (More than seven times as many have been uploaded to Flickr in that site’s entire existence, by the way.)

These numbers aren’t necessarily easier to comprehend in infographic form (107 trillion e-mails?!), but they’re definitely easier to take in. If you’re not a visual learner, however, the graphic seems to be mostly based on a post earlier this month from the Royal Pingdom blog, which lists all those stats in plain text.

Do You Suffer From Social Anxiety?

Incidental Comics.

Neighbor Noise Checklist

The United States of Awesome

Counter-Infographic of the Day: Ilya Gerner responds to Pleated Jeans’s heavily debated “United States of Shame” with a map outlining each state’s strongest suits. (Embiggen.) Click here for a breakdown of the data behind each (arguably) awesome trait. [ilyagerner / buzzfeed.]

All Hail 81atron!

Imagine the strength and power of a robot plowing through the opposing team to score the winning touchdown... That's science!

All Hail 81atron

Catch of the Day

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? No one.

Tee of the Day: “Catch of the Day” by TeoZ. Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? No one. (RAA: One day only!) [thanks dibby!]

Subtle Trap


Protect Yourself With An Emergency Porn Kit

As a historic blizzard continues to hammer the Midwest, many are finding themselves stranded and without an internet connection, unable to access even the most basic pornography. Protect yourself. Keep Emergency Porn Kits in your home your home, car, and office. While an Emergency Porn Kit won’t provide you with the endless variants of hardcore sex you’re used to, it will be enough to save you from going through a disaster entirely pornless.

Constructing Your Own Emergency Porn Kit

Step One: Find a sturdy box large enough to hold several print magazines in addition to anal plugs and vibrators. Note: Vibrators should be battery operated. Check battery life every six months.

Step Two: Purchase pornography magazines. There are numerous publications which cater to the strange racially-charged pornography you are constantly watching online. TIP: For those used to masturbating solely to pornographic videos, waving still images of fucking back and forth can give the illusion of movement.

Step Three: Pack lubrication. Otherwise you’ll end up needing to tab into your emergency food supplies for anti-chafing solutions.

Step Four: Make a list of all the people you slept with in your early twenties. One of the most useful tools in surviving a long-term porn outage is harnessing the power of memory.

Once your Emergency Porn Kit is finished make yourself some hot cocoa, lie back, and bring on the snow!

Thank You For Suing Taco Bell

Print Ad Campaign of the Day: Taco Bell responds to an Alabama law firm’s class-action lawsuit alleging their “meat mixture” is only 35% actual beef with a full-page ad in today’s Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and New York Times, thanking their critics for suing them. [huffpo.]

Your Barista is Rorshach



Communicate if Your Government Shuts Off Your Internet

Words To Live By of the Day: Courtesy of “Tut-Ankh-Anon.” [reddit.] See Also: Wired How-To: Communicate if Your Government Shuts Off Your Internet.

Scenario: Your government is displeased with the communication going on in your location and pulls the plug on your internet access, most likely by telling the major ISPs to turn off service.

This is what happened in Egypt January 25 prompted by citizen protests, with sources estimating that the Egyptian government has cut off approximately 88 percent of the country's internet access. What do you do without Internet?

Step 1: Stop crying in the corner. Then start taking steps to reconnect with your network. Here’s a list of things you can do to keep the communication flowing.

Preventative measures

Make your network tangible

Print out you contact list so your phone numbers aren’t stuck in the cloud. Some mail services like Gmail allow you to export your online contact list in formats that are more conducive to paper, such as CSV or Vcard, and offer step-by-step guides on how to do this.

Broadcast on the radio

CB Radio: Short for "Citizens Band" radio, these two-way radios allow communication over short distances on 40 channels. You can pick one up for about $20-50 at Radio Shack and no license is required to operate it.

Ham radio: To converse over these radios, also known as "Amateur radios," you have to obtain an operator's license from the FCC. Luckily, other Wired How-To contributors have already explained exactly what you need to do to get one and use it like a pro.


Set up a phone tree: According to the American Association of University Women, a phone tree is "a prearranged, pyramid-shaped system for activating a group of people by telephone" that can "spread a brief message quickly and efficiently to a large number of people." Dig out that contact list you printed out and follow the steps on the AAUW website to spread the message down your pyramid of contacts.

Enable Twitter via SMS: Though the thought of unleashing the twitter fire hose in your text message inbox may seem horrifying, it would be better than not being able to connect to the outside world at all. The twitter website has full instructions on how to redirect tweets to your phone.

Alex Jones and infowars.com have a telelphone number for people to listen to his radio show by phone in case the internet goes down, or if you don't have internet. The phone in listen line is 512-646-5000.


If you need to quickly send and receive documents with lengthy or complex instructions, phone conversations may result in misunderstandings and delivering the doc by foot would take forever. Brush the dust off that bulky old machine, establish a connection by phone first with the recipient to make sure his machine is hooked up, then fax away.

Getting back online

While it might be relatively easy for a government to cut connections by leveraging the major ISPs, there are some places they wouldn't get to so readily, like privately-owned networks and independent ISPs.

Find the privately-run ISPs

In densely populated areas, especially CBDs and city suburbs there are multiple home WiFi networks overlapping each other, some secure some not. If there is no internet, open up your WiFi by removing password -- if enough people do this it's feasible to create a totally private WiFi service outside government control covering the CBD and you can use applications that run Bonjour (iChat on Mac for example) to communicate with others on the open network and send and receive documents. **needs more clarification

If you are a private ISP, it's your time to shine. Consider allowing open access to your wi-fi routers to facilitate communication of people around you until the grid is back online.

Return to dial-up? o_O

Ad-Hoc Networking

Most wireless routers, PCs, laptops, and even some ultra-mobile devices like cell phones have the ability to become part of an "ad-hoc" network, where different "nodes" (all of the devices on the network) share the responsibility of transmitting data between one another. These networks can become quite large, and are often very easy to set up. If used properly by a tech-savvy person, such networks can be used to host temporary websites and chatrooms. There are many internet tutorials on the internet for ad-hoc networking, so feel free to google some.

Apple computers tend to have very accessible Ad-Hoc functionality built in, including a pre-installed chat client (iChat) that will automatically set up an Ad-Hoc "Rendezvous" chatroom between anybody on the network, without the need for an external service like AIM or Skype. Ad-hoc network hosting functionality is built in to the Wifi menu.

Windows computers have several third-party Ad-Hoc chat applications available (such as Trillian) and setting up an Ad-Hoc wifi network is almost as simple as on a Mac.

Linux operating systems, of course, have plenty of third-party apps available, and most distros have Ad-Hoc network creation support built in.

Get satellite access

You can have very, very slow internet if you have something similiar like an Iridium phone, which would allow you to do dial-up at 2400 baud, which at least gives you email. This will also work when your government has shut down GSM and telephone access, and will work pretty much anywhere on the planet. If you're in the right place, get yourself KA-SAT access (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KA-SAT) which is satellite broadband and will not be routed through any Internet exchange certain local governments may monitor or block (unless that government is part of EU or err... uncle Sam.

Packet Radio

Back to the 90s: there do exist short wave packet radio modems. These are also excruciatingly slow, but may get your email out.

Jeffy, Where's Bin Laden?


I Wish...

Flying Superheroes