History Of Basketball

Many of you know that physical education teacher, James Naismith was the inventor of basketball, but did you know that dribbling only became a part of the game 19 years after it was invented?

Or did you know that it took 15 years for early basketball players to think of cutting a bottom in either their peach basket or their net?

In 1891, James Naismith was asked to conjure up a new game for the students at the School for Christian Workers, which is present-day Springfield College in Springfield, Mass. Two teams of nine, with a draft set of 13 rules began what has turned into a multi-billion dollar sport today.

At first, teams had to merely pass the ball to players up the court, and those who were able to sink a shot from whatever distance scored the points. There were no end-to-end drives like you see from today’s top players like Allan Iverson, or Kobe Bryant, because there was no dribbling allowed. It was a much simpler game.

Half-bushel peach baskets were the first nets, and the janitor of the School for Christian Workers was given the new task of retrieving balls from the inside of the basket by climbing a ladder. It wasn’t until 1906 that, after changing to a metal rim with a mesh sack, that they cut the mesh sack to allow the ball to flow through after a successful shot.

  1. The game was considered to be too physically demanding for women at the time, so the game was adapted to make the game simpler. The court was divided into thirds and players had to stay in the area they were positioned in. Players could not hold on to the ball for more than three seconds, or dribble it more than three times. This offshoot of the sport is essentially the game of “Netball” today.
    The game of basketball took off among the young Christian Men’s associations, the armed forces and other colleges. It was a perfect sport for many organizations because of its low cost for equipment and the ability to play indoor in a relatively small area.

A standard set of rules was hammered out by 1915, mostly due to the growth of the sport across the United States. Several regional basketball associations were cropping up, and collegiate competition was borne.

For those keeping track, in 1939 the first National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament was held, with the University of Oregon defeating the Buckeyes of Ohio State University.

It wasn’t long after Naismith’s brainchild was turned into a professional sport. In 1896, a Trenton, New Jersey YMCA team and officials got into an altercation that led to the formation of the National Basketball League. New Jersey sportswriters were the early founders of the first professional league that brought in teams from Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Between 1908 and 1911, a team called the Buffalo Germans won 111 straight games (much like today’s Harlem Globetrotters), and it also saw the rise of the first Celtic teams. These early hoops players were the architects of some of basketball’s early strategy – including the zone defense, and early, organized offences.

Over the next 30 years, several basketball associations came and went, including the National Basketball League, the Basketball Association of America (BAA). The final two leagues, the NBL and the BAA merged in 1948 to create the National Basketball Association.