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Basketball Titles For Essays About Change

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Basketball is a handball game usually played by two teams of five players. The objective is to get the ball through a hoop mounted high on a backboard at each end. It is a very popular sport worldwide, played with a round, orange ball that bounces. Basketball players mainly use skills such as dribbling, shooting, running, and jumping.

The game is played between men's teams or between women's teams. Basketball has been played in the Summer Olympic Games since 1936. The shot clock rule started in 1954. The first basketball game took place in 1892, where the court was half the size of what it is today.In 1891 the game was invented by Jim Naismith.

History[change | change source]

In early December 1891, James Naismith, a Canadian physical education teacher at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts invented an indoor game called basketball. He invented the sport to keep his students from becoming bored during the winter. Naismith wrote the basic rules and then nailed a peach basket onto a 20-foot tall pole. Unlike modern basketball hoops, the bottom of the peach-basket was still there, so after a point was scored, somebody had to get the ball out of the basket with a long stick. Over time, people made a hole at the bottom of the basket so the ball could go through more easily.

The score of the first game of basketball ever played was 1 - 0. There is a sculpture in Springfield, outside where the first game was held. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is also in Springfield.

Since the rules hadn't been formally written, there was no maximum number of players then, unlike today. This also meant that there were no set rules to the game; Naismith only observed and changed the rules accordingly.

Rules[change | change source]

The aim of basketball is to score more points than the other team, by shooting the ball in the basket. Baskets can be worth 1, 2, or 3 points. You get points by shooting the ball into the opponents' basket. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Equipment[change | change source]

The court, where the game is played, is a rectangle, and at both end lines there is a goal called a "hoop" in the shape of a circle basket with the bottom cut out.

In each game of basketball these things are required:

  • Basketball
  • Basketball court
  • Basketball hoop and backboard

Teams[change | change source]

Basketball is played with two teams, with 5 players from each team on the court at one time. The maximum number of players on the bench differs by league. In international play, a maximum of 7 players are allowed on the bench, resulting in a roster of 12 players. The NBA has 13-player rosters; college and high school teams have 15-player rosters. When a player wants to substitute for another player on the court, they let the score bench know. The referees will signal for the player waiting to come into the court. The player that went into the game is now playing and the player that was playing is sitting on the bench.

Playing regulations[change | change source]

A game of basketball is made up of four quarters, each ten (or in the National Basketball Association, 12) minutes long. At the start of every game the referee throws the basketball up in the air, and one player from each team tries to hit it to their teammates, that is called a "jump ball."

At the start of each quarter the team who has the possession arrow pointing towards their hoop gets the ball. Then the arrow is switched, and the next team gets the ball next quarter.

After four quarters, the team who scores the most points wins. If the two teams score the same number of points, there is a five-minute "overtime" to see who can score more points. "Overtime" can be played over and over until one team finally scores more points.

While playing the game, players on one team try to stop players on the other team from scoring. Each normal score is worth two points; however, if a player throws the ball into the hoop from behind the large arced line on the court, called the "3-point line," the score is worth three points.

If a player does something illegal in the game, it is called a "foul." If a player fouls someone on the other team who is shooting the basketball, the player who was fouled gets to shoot "free throws" from the "foul line". A free throw is a shot that no one is allowed to try to block. Each successful free throw is worth one point.

If a player fouls an opponent who is not shooting, the other team gets the ball, and can throw it in bounds from the sideline. Players can do three things with the ball: "dribble" (bounce) the ball, "pass" the ball to a teammate, or "shoot" the ball at the hoop. The player with the ball tries to keep the ball and not let the other team get it.

Once a player commits five fouls, he is no longer allowed to play in the game, and a player on the bench must go in the game immediately.

Officials[change | change source]

In a game of basketball, there are a number of officials who are not from either team, who are there to help. Officials are important to the game, and help it run efficiently. Here is a list of some of these people:

  • Umpire There are either one or two umpires in a game of basketball. It is the umpires' job to make the game more fair by enforcing the rules of the game. The umpires take into consideration the spirit and intent of the player before making any call. In the NBA and WNBA, the term "umpire" is not used; the person who has this role is called the referee.
  • Referee The use of this word varies between rule sets.
    • Under the rules of FIBA (the worldwide governing body for the sport), the NCAA (U.S. college basketball), and NFHS (U.S. high schools), there is one referee in a game of basketball. He is the "head" umpire. The referee has all the jobs of the umpires along with a couple more responsibilities. He is also the one that makes the final decision for most problems and is the one who throws the ball up for the tip off the start of the match.
    • The first ever recorded female referee is Isabelle Johnson from Melbourne.
    • The first ever recorded male referee is Campbell Grech from Melbourne.
  • Time Keeper There is one timekeeper whose job is to keep track of the time and to tell the umpires when time for each quarter has run out. He is also in control of adding the scores onto the scoreboard.
  • Scorekeeper There is one scorekeeper whose job is to keep track of and record all points scored, shots attempted, fouls made and timeouts called.
  • Assistant Scorekeeper There is one assistant scorekeeper in a game of basketball. his job is to assist the scorekeeper, by telling him the players who score points, and to hold up a number for each foul called, showing everyone the number of fouls the specified player has for the game.
  • Shot Clock Operator There is one shot clock operator and his job is to keep resetting and holding the device when needed or told to by an umpire. This person needs to have good reflexes and quickness, as he has to quickly reset the timer when the game resumes.

Fans and media in North America will often use "referee" to describe all on-court officials, whether their formal titles are "referee", "umpire", or "crew chief".

Basketball terms[change | change source]

There are some basketball terms that players have to understand when playing the game. Here are some terms:

  • Draft pick is an eligible player selected to play for one of thirty teams in the NBA
  • Free throw is a basketball throw from the free-throw line from either personal, technical, unsportsmanlike or disqualifying fouls. Each free-throw made is worth one point. The amount of free-throws attempted are determined by the following:
    • missed field goal and a drawn foul will result in 2 free throws
    • made field goal and a drawn foul will result in 1 free throw
    • missed 3-point attempt and a drawn foul will result in 3 free throws
    • made 3-point attempt and a drawn foul will result in 1 free throw
    • unsportsmanlike foul will result in 2 free throws and the same team's possession. (In all North American rule sets, this foul is called a "flagrant foul", with the same penalty.)
    • technical foul will result in 2 free throws and the same team's possession. (In the NBA and WNBA, technical fouls result in 1 free throw instead of 2.)
  • Field goal is any made shot in normal play. Field goals are worth 2 points, unless the shooter was outside the three-point line, in which case it is worth 3 points.
  • Personal foul is any contact, committed by a player of the other team, thought, by the umpires, to have caused a disadvantage.
  • Technical foul is a violation of certain basketball rules. They include:
    • fighting or threatening to fight with another person
    • entering the basketball court when it is not a substitution time
    • a player being out of bounds (away from the court) to gain an advantage
    • having too many players play on the court
    • refusing to sit on the bench
    • returning to play when a player is disqualified (loses his privileges to play)
    • yelling and/or swearing at another player or an official
  • Rebound is the act of catching the basketball after a shot has been attempted, but missed.
  • Assist is to pass a teammate the ball, which then the teammate immediately shoots into the basketball ring successfully. 2-3 dribbles are allowed after catching the ball for assist to be counted.
  • Steal is to take the ball away from a person who is dribbling, shooting or passing without physically touching the person (committing a foul).
  • Turnover is when the team that controls the ball loses control and the other team gains control.
  • Walkover is the automatic victory of a team if the opposing team withdraws, is disqualified or there is not any competition at all.
  • Substitution is the act of replacing a player from the court to an another player sitting on the bench.
  • Double dribble is when a player dribbles the ball and picks it up and then dribbles it again without having shot or passed it. Dribbling the ball with two hands is also a double dribble. If a player double dribbles, the ball is automatically given to the other team.
  • Carry is when a player physically turns the ball over with their hands whilst dribbling it.
  • Travel is when a player in possession of the ball moves both feet without dribbling the ball. If a player travels, the ball is automatically given to the opposing team.
  • Shot clock is a clock designed to limit the time a team has to shoot a basketball. The shot clock is different in different leagues, but it is usually between 24 seconds and 35 seconds. After time runs out, the ball is automatically given to the opposing team unless they shot, before the clock runs out, and hit the rim or the ball enters the basket.
  • Substitute (subs) is when a player on the bench swaps for a player on the court. The player on the bench is allowed to play and the player sits on the bench.
  • Jump ball happens at the start of every game. This is where the ball gets thrown up from the centre circle and one person from each team jumps for it, aiming to hit it to one of his team mates.
  • Alternating possession At the start of the game there is a jump ball. Whichever team "wins" the jump ball gets the arrow pointed towards their goal. Each time the rules mention it the ball gets given to the team who is trying to score in the direction of the arrow and the arrow gets turned.
  • Clutch is a shot made at a difficult moment in the game, usually when the shot clock is about to run out or the team, losing by 1 or 2 points, suddenly wins the game, because of the clutch shot.
  • Backcourt violation is when a player crosses the half-court line and walks backwards over the line while in possession of the ball, or passes to another player who is behind the half-court line. Note that this rule does not apply if a defensive player taps the ball, and it goes beyond the half-court line, and the offensive player retrieves it in the "backcourt".
  • 3-second violation is when a player stands in the lane (an area marked by the big square in front of the basket) for more than 3 seconds. The offensive team that commits a 3-second violation will lose the possession of the ball. The defensive team that commits a 3-second violation will receive a technical foul.
  • 8- or 10-second violation is when the team with the ball fails to advance the ball past the center line within the allowed time. The offensive team will lose possession. The allowed time is 8 seconds in international play, the NBA, and WNBA, and 10 seconds in college and high school play for both males and females. Women's college basketball was the last level of basketball to add this violation, only doing so for the 2013–14 season.

Positions in basketball[change | change source]

In professional basketball teams, each player has a position. A position is a job or role that a player has to take part in to play the game. If everyone is doing their job correctly, the team is usually successful.

  • Asher Ferozdin (AF) (100) - the best player on the court ever in the whole wide world
  • Point guard (PG) (1) - point guards are responsible for leading the team on offense. They have to take the ball out (to dribble the ball halfway across their team's court side into the opposing team's court side) and plan an "attack" or "play" - to pass the ball to a player and he passes on to another player and so on till a player shoots the basketball. Point guards can be small, but they have to be very fast and possess good ball-handling. But the most important thing for the PG is a wide view. PG should control the game when on offense. That's why PG is called 'the coach on the court'.
  • Shooting guard (SG) (2) - shooting guards generally are a little bit taller and slower than point guards. They have to make good shots from far distances (like three-point lines).
  • Small forward (SF) (3) - small forwards are generally taller than both point guards and shooting guards. They are the team's most versatile player, doing everything from rebounding and assisting to scoring.
  • Power forward (PF) (4) - power forwards are usually one of the strongest players who play inside the 3 point line. Their job is to receive rebounds from under the basket and score in the opposing team's basket, although it is unusual for a power forward to score most points for the team.
  • Center (C) (5) - Centers will usually be the tallest player on the team. They score close to the basket, rebound and block shots on the defensive end. They also start the game in the tip off.

Other positions, more usual in professional basketball teams, are used in basketball.

  • Swingman - a basketball player who can play both small forward and shooting guard positions.
  • Stretch four (also cornerman) - a basketball player who can play both power forward and small forward positions. The term "stretch four" comes from the concept of a power forward ("four") capable of "stretching" a defense with outside shooting ability.
  • Point forward - a basketball player who can play both point guard and forward (either small forward or power forward) positions.
  • Forward-center - a basketball player who can play both forward (usually power forward) and center positions.

Variations[change | change source]

There are many types of basketball. Some are for people with disabilities, others are played more by a specific group.

Wheelchair basketball[change | change source]

In this variation, the players are all seated in a wheelchair. This is often played by people who cannot walk or are unable to play able body basketball. The rules are altered slightly, but the game follows the same general concepts.

Other websites[change | change source]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Basketball.
  • FIBA, Fédération Internationale de Basketball / International Basketball Federation
  • IWBF, International Wheelchair Basketball Federation
Dec 13, 2012
  • Dana O'NeilESPN Senior Writer

The significance was not lost in the moment. When Jerry Harkness extended his hand to Joe Dan Gold before the ball was tipped, the glare of the popping flashbulbs nearly blinded both men.

People understood then what was happening, what it meant that Gold, a white basketball player from Mississippi State, was shaking hands with Harkness, an African-American player from Loyola (Ill.) on a March day in 1963 in East Lansing, Mich.

Just five months earlier, with U.S. marshals and federal troops on hand to quell the rioting, James Meredith enrolled at the University of Mississippi, integrating the school only 90 miles from MSU's campus.

Less than a month after the game, Martin Luther King Jr. would write his famous "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," an influential essay that spread across the nation.

In between the two seminal moments in civil rights history, a team from Starkville snuck out of town, defying a state injunction to play a basketball game against a team with a largely African-American roster.

Nearly 50 years later, that NCAA tournament regional semifinal game between Mississippi State and Loyola has been all but forgotten, rendered a footnote to our racial, social and athletic history. The significance that was present in that moment has eroded over time.

Thanks largely to the movie Glory Road, everyone knows about Texas Western's meeting with Kentucky, in which Don Haskins' team, with five African-American starters, beat Adolph Rupp's all-white Wildcats for the national title.

Many, in fact, consider it the beginning of the end of racial barriers in college basketball.

Except it wasn't. That game was in 1966, three years after the Ramblers beat the Maroons (as MSU was known at the time) in a seminal stop on their way to a Cinderella national title.

"When those flashbulbs went off -- boom, boom, pop, pop -- you felt the history of it right there," Harkness said, "but I don't think many people even know about it now. That game, if you ask me, was key. I felt like it was the beginning of things turning around in college basketball. I truly believe that. I just don't know how many other people know about it."

Not many, it would seem, including the current generation of players who enjoy a melting pot of hardwood, thanks to the bold actions of these two teams. They simply don't know about the game -- "I'd never heard of it before you brought it up," said Virginia Tech's Erick Green, echoing the sentiment of many players, coaches and fans.

This weekend in Chicago the two schools will try to change that when they meet for the first time since 1963 to celebrate the Game of Change. The schools will honor the surviving members and, on Friday, Loyola will host a screening of a documentary about the game. And at Michigan State, a plaque now commemorates the game outside of Jenison Field House, where the two teams met a half-century ago.

It is long overdue recognition -- sadly too late for many who have passed away -- of some of college basketball's most courageous pioneers.

But to truly matter, the story of the Game of Change, many believe, needs to continue to be told.

"In 1966, I had to leave George Washington Carver, an all-black school for first through 12th graders, and was bused to a white school," said Minnesota coach Tubby Smith said of his days growing up in Maryland. "That shapes and molds who you are. This game, it shaped and molded an entire generation.

"I worry today. What will shape and mold people? The changes, they're so subtle now. That's why I think we have to constantly educate and share this story, so people can connect the dots from where we were to where we are today."


The irony is, before the game began, even the central figures didn't grasp its importance.

They were as tunnel-visioned as players are today, concerned about one thing and one thing only:

"We just put on our tennis shoes and went to go play," said former Mississippi State player Bobby Shows. "I don't think anyone was aware of what it meant at the time. We just wanted to go play."

Playing, at least in big games, had been a big problem for the Maroons for years.

Mississippi State won the SEC championship in 1959, 1961 and 1962, but each year, the Maroons watched Kentucky represent the league in the postseason, victimized by an unwritten but largely enforced Mississippi rule that prohibited state schools from playing against integrated teams.

That year, 1963, Loyola was 24-2 and ranked third in the country. The Ramblers, with four African-American players on their roster, beat Tennessee Tech by 69 points, setting up a regional semifinal against Mississippi State.

"The biggest thing at the time," said Harkness, a two-time All-American, "is we didn't know if they were coming."

Neither did Mississippi State.

Gov. Ross Barnett, an avowed segrationist, made no secret of his stance concerning the game: The Maroons were not to leave.

But buoyed by an angry fan base that was tired of seeing its team stay home while Kentucky competed, and an equally fed-up coach in James "Babe" McCarthy, Mississippi State president Dean Colvard vowed to let his team play.

"It had begun to look as if our first major racial issue might pertain to basketball rather than to admissions," Colvard later said. "Although I knew opinion would be divided and feelings would be intense because of the unwritten law, I thought I had gained sufficient following that, win or lose, I should take decisive action."

The state, backed by the university board, wouldn't cede so easily. Sen. Billy Mitts, a former Mississippi State student body president and cheerleader, convinced a judge to issue a temporary injunction to prevent the team from leaving.

But in perhaps the best end-around in sports history, Colvard directed McCarthy to head for the Tennessee state line and stay in Memphis while he traveled to Alabama for a speaking engagement to prevent the injunction from being served. The next day, an assistant coach ferried the freshmen and some of the reserve players to a private plane as decoys and, when they saw that the coast was clear, called for the rest of the team to join them.

"That was the nerve-racking part," Shows said. "We didn't have our coach. We didn't have half our team. We didn't know if we were going to be able to play the game. But it wasn't us boys. Don't build us up. It was Dr. Colvard and Coach McCarthy. Those two men had the backbone."

The plane carrying the players arrived in Nashville, where McCarthy and athletic director Wade Walker had flown into from Memphis. Reunited now, the MSU traveling party flew a commercial flight to East Lansing.

Meanwhile in Chicago, the Rambler players were quickly getting an idea of what they were up against. Hate mail arrived in the dorms -- some directly from Ku Klux Klan members.

Loyola had been through its own racial strife before. Coach George Ireland loved showing up Southern teams and already had taken his squad to New Orleans and Houston, where they were met with less than warm receptions. In New Orleans, the black players had to stay with other black families, sequestered from their teammates, and in Houston, fans spewed vitriol and hate from the stands.

But this -- printed letters arriving directly in the dorms -- was worse.

"That was personal," Harkness said. "They know where you are, where you live. It was frightening."

Ireland eventually had the mail forwarded directly to him, and on March 15, the two teams made history.

"God bless those kids," Shows said. "We had no fans there, but someone played our fight song. I'll never forget that."


So what really happened in this game?

Nothing and everything.

No riots or fights. No drama.

Loyola won 61-51 and went on to win the national title, upsetting two-time defending national champion Cincinnati at Louisville's Freedom Hall in front of a crowd that included, Harkness remembers, native son Cassius Clay.

Mississippi State returned home to a surprisingly warm reception from fans. Shows remembers the plane flying over the highway and seeing bumper-to-bumper traffic below, with throngs of people driving to the airport to greet the Maroons. A postgame newspaper survey found that Mississippians were overwhelmingly in favor of letting the team play the game.

Colvard kept his job, as did McCarthy. For a time, the players and participants were rightly feted. Harkness went with Jesse Jackson to listen to Dr. King speak, and was stunned at the number of people who knew about his game.

"We did it together," Harkness said. "To me, that's why it's so important. We showed you could do it together, without a fight."

The game didn't usher in dramatic change immediately. The SEC wouldn't welcome its first black basketball player until 1967, when Perry Wallace played for Vanderbilt, and it wasn't until 1968 that an African-American earned a football letter in the league.

But small change happened, a subtle attitude shift that was as important as the sweeping changes that would come down the road.

"My dad was pretty much a segregationist until the latter part of my college career," Shows said. "He wasn't Ku Klux Klan or anything, but he used the N-word in the house. He didn't know any better. But he was 100 percent in favor of me playing in that game. He wanted me to have a chance, and after it was over, I can't remember him ever saying anything derogatory after that."

Three years later, Texas Western beat Kentucky, the first champion with five African-American starters. That they beat the signature program of the era -- and more significantly Rupp, a man who did not dress an African-American in a UK uniform until 1970 -- gave history its more dramatic story arc to better tell the tale.

In 2006, that story came to celluloid life via "Glory Road," educating an entire generation in the process.

Comparatively, Loyola and Mississippi State's more subtle and peaceful role in integrating the game is remembered in small pockets. Tubby Smith knew about it when contacted by ESPN.com, as did Shaka Smart, a self-proclaimed history buff.

But for the most part, the game dropped off the historical radar.

Less than a year ago, the Bulldogs named Rick Ray as their head coach. He is the first African-American to hold the position at MSU, and, until he was told about the Loyola game, he had no idea about the role his new employer played in desegregation.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

"From our side of things, the college basketball standpoint, this game is equivalent to the march on Washington, or to Little Rock. How powerful is that?"
-- VCU coach Shaka Smart

"I never heard about this game before, but it shows you how basketball can bring people together. I never really put sports into the equation [of civil rights] before. I never thought how it would be affected.''
-- Temple sophomore Will Cummings

"Our game now, it's black players, white players, foreign players. That's what makes our game so special. If this game hadn't happened, would it be different?''
-- Virginia Tech senior Erick Green

"I knew about Ernie Davis and Jim Brown and Jackie Robinson, but I'd never heard of this game. For people to have the courage that these players did, it pretty much means everything.''
-- Syracuse senior Brandon Triche

"I'm always trying to find more things for our team than just basketball, to teach them how to be good citizens and good people. Now we have this opportunity to use this game as a teaching tool. It's so critical to who we are and to our game today.''
-- Mississippi State coach Rick Ray

"Loyola and Mississippi State were on the leading edge of integration and on the forefront of social justice. You can't say enough about what this game has meant.''
-- Loyola senior Ben Averkamp

"When I was growing up, I was taught that everyone was equal. This game shows you how much we've changed and evolved. It's so powerful when you realize what human beings can accomplish when they work together.''
-- Minnesota sophomore Andre Hollins

"I am honored and privileged to be a part of this game. This game opened doors for everyone.''
-- Mississippi St. freshman Gavin Ware

"It's great to be at a school like this, where you not only are living in the present but you can look back at the past and see the things your school has done. For Michigan State to have hosted that game, it's so unique and so important. It make me even prouder to be a part of this school.''
-- Michigan St. sophomore Travis Trice

"Those coaches and those administrators made that choice; they made a choice to do the right thing. They were sending a statement at the time, that it was time to move beyond. The most powerful thing we have in this country is the ability to change.''
-- Minnesota coach Tubby Smith

"I hate to say it, but before I took over here and heard about it, I had no idea. Zero idea," Ray said. "And when you hear, it makes you feel so badly not knowing about something so significant."

According to the most recent Racial and Gender Report Card completed by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, 60.9 percent of the college basketball population is comprised of African-American players.

More than 20 percent of the Division I head coaches are African-American. The importance of the game between Mississippi State and Loyola, then, is evident.

So why don't people know?

The lazy answer is to say that kids simply don't care, that the hyper-privileged athletes of this generation can't appreciate, let alone imagine, what Harkness and others went through.

That's simply not true. Ask players about it, educate them, and they are keenly interested.

"For a game like that, not to be highly publicized, for people to never hear of it, that's a shame," said Syracuse senior Brandon Triche. "It pretty much means everything -- to sports, to our culture."

Gavin Ware grew up in Starkville. The Mississippi State freshman knew of his state's role as both a blockade and a violent road to the Civil Rights movement.

What he didn't know is that his state, and more, his school, did something positive.

"I was shocked when I learned about this game," he said. "For a team to play an integrated school, to bypass all of those naysayers that said they couldn't play, that's something that we should never overlook. That's something this school can be proud of."

The lessons, if taught properly, can go even deeper.

In today's world of big business and big money, it's sometimes hard to find a meaningful reason for sports' existence. This game, plenty point out, serves as a reminder of what sports can do -- bring people together, across cultures and in defiance of what is expected to do what is right.

"The interesting thing about a game like this is, at the time, there were a large group of people that truly believed they were right, that these games should not occur," Smart said. "Fast-forward to 2012, or even 20 years ago, and people know that's just ludicrous. That's the exciting thing, the effect that sports can have."

Smart, along with his fellow coaches, admit it is on them to educate their players better, to carve out a few minutes when the opportunity presents itself to tell them about the history of the game and not just how to win the next game.

Current Loyola coach Porter Moser did just that recently. The Ramblers played at Michigan State last weekend and when the game ended, he and his team left the Breslin Center and went to Jenison Field House, site of that first game.

But the Ramblers and Bulldogs, who will square off at 8 ET on ESPN3, have an edge on everyone else. Playing this game has forced their coaches to educate the players on its meaning.

It's everyone else who needs to catch up.

"You can't teach or share what you don't know," said Smith, who was the first African-American head coach at both Georgia and Kentucky. "But we need to invigorate coaches like myself to bring this story to our team, to bring it back to people's attention. We shouldn't let people forget this game."

Perhaps after this weekend, they won't.

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