Center (basketball)

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Vlade_divac.jpg
Vlade Divac playing for the national team of the former Yugoslavia

Template:Basketball Positions The center is one of the standard positions in a regulation basketball game. The center is normally the tallest player on the team, and they are generally preferred to have a great deal of muscle and body mass as well. A typical center is 6'10" (2.08 m) or taller.

In many cases, the center's primarily role is simply to be very large, and to use his size to score and defend from a position close to the basket. A center who possesses size along with athleticism and skill constitutes an unparalleled asset for a team. Shaquille O'Neal of the Miami Heat is noted both for his enormous proportions, standing 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m) tall and weighing 330 lb (150 kg), as well for his mastery of elegantly simple post maneuvers. Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets stands 7'6" (2.29 m) tall but has mobility and shooting touch normally associated with much smaller players.

There has been occasional controversy over what constitutes a "true center." Some have argued, for instance, that Ben Wallace, while highly effective at center, is actually a power forward playing out of position, mainly because his 6'9" (2.06 m) height makes him considerably smaller than most centers he faces. Likewise, some would say that Tim Duncan, although listed throughout his career as a power forward, is actually a center, because of his size and style of play. However, these are highly subjective judgments. What is likely true is that, because there are currently so few people who meet the ideal size requirements of an NBA center, teams will sometimes find it necessary to play an individual at that position who would be more effective as a power forward.

Notable centers currently playing include Shaquille O'Neal, Yao Ming, Ben Wallace, Dikembe Mutombo, Vlade Divac and, in Europe, Arvydas Sabonis. Great centers of the past include George Mikan, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Walton, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Robert Parish, David Robinson, Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Patrick Ewing.de:Center (Basketball) it:Centro (pallacanestro) zh:中锋

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