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History Of Basketball

James Naismith, during his stint with Springfield College, a YMCA training school during that time, invented the indoor sport with able support and guidance from the American phys-ed specialist Luther Hasley. · Oct 7, 2021 (written 2005)

The history of basketball dates way back to the year 1891. It was a Canadian physical education instructor by the name of James Naismith who introduced the game of basketball to the world. He was born in Ontario and taught physical education at McGill University and Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts. James Naismith, during his stint with Springfield College, a YMCA training school during that time, invented the indoor sport with able support and guidance from the American phys-ed specialist Luther Hasley.

James Naismith

The game commenced with 18 men at Springfield College in Massachusetts. Naismith was given a deadline of 14 days to create an indoor game that would provide “an athletic distraction” (in the words of Hasley) to the nasty and disorderly class. It was a tough call for Naismith, who had to exercise a lot of patience and infuse positive enthusiasm into the minds of his students to engage in an outdoor game that was to be played indoors in the best way possible. He recalled a game he used to play as a child and improvised on its concept.

Naismith was instrumental in laying down 13 rules for the basketball game. The rules stated that the ball should be thrown in any direction with one or both hands. He made it clear that a person could not run with the ball. The player should throw it from the place from which he caught the ball in the first place. Players had to refrain from using the fist when handling or batting the ball. He had termed shouldering, holding, tripping, pushing or striking in any way of an opponent as a foul in the first instance. If things of this nature happened the second time, the person who caused the infringement of the rule would be disqualified or would not be substituted at all. If any side made three consecutive fouls, it was to be counted as a goal for the opposing side.

Naismith also made it clear that if the ball went out of bounds, it had to be thrown into the field of play by the person touching it. This player had the right to hold the ball for only five seconds. If held longer, the chance to throw went to the opposing side. He gave special importance to the umpire who had to judge the player and report to the referee when players made three consecutive fouls. He defined the time period of the game as being comprised of two fifteen-minute halves with fifteen minutes breaks in between. Naismith concluded that the side making the most goals was to be termed as winner.

Image Description
An indoor basketball game.


The game caught the fancy of the YMCA class and the popularity of the game grew, though Naismith quietly shied away from taking any credit for his invention. He wanted the game to be enjoyed as a recreational activity, but he never imagined that the game would soon develop into a passionate and intensely competitive sport. Naismith’s moment of glory came, however, when he was invited by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) to witness basketball become an Olympic sport at the 1936 games in Berlin. He passed away in 1939 and since then the game has grown in fame and prosperity the world over. In 1959, James Naismith entered the Basketball Hall of Fame (called the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame)

The first formal rules for the game were introduced in 1895. It was not until 1897 that teams of five players on each side became standard in the history of basketball. Iron hoops and a hammock style basket came into existence in 1893. A decade later, open-ended nets came into existence, which did away with the practice of manually retrieving the ball from the basket each time a goal was made. After the end of World War II, there was a need to infuse sports entertainment into the large sports arenas during the times not occupied by pro hockey and college basketball games. This gave rise to the history of basketball in its pure, professional championship format.

Walter Brown of Boston

Walter Brown of Boston introduced professional basketball in the form of the Basketball Association of America in the summer of 1946. The esteemed members of the new league were New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Washington, Detroit, Chicago, Providence, Toronto, St. Louis, and Boston. The league played in big arenas in large cities but the players were not as talented as the ones in the National Basketball League, the recognized league operating chiefly in smaller cities in the Midwest. However, some people from the NBL joined the fray and the strength of B.A.A picked up as college stars and fresh young talent entered the league. The regular season started and the Washington Capitols were the clear winners in the Eastern Division, with the Philadelphia Warriors taking second place and the New York Knickerbockers grabbing the third and final playoff spot.

The Western Division had the Chicago Stags narrowly edging out the St.Louis Bombers with a one-gain tiebreaker at the end of the regular season. The Cleveland Rebels acquired the third playoff spot. The playoff system devised by the league pitted the first ranking teams, the second ranking teams and the third ranking teams against each other in the opening round. The games began with the Stags usurping the Caps in six games and Philadelphia outdoing St. Louis in a three-game showdown of second-place finishers, while New York defeated Cleveland in three games in the third bracket. The Warriors defeated the Knicks to move into the finals with the Stags.

The finals of the first championship of BAA (the present day NBA) opened in Philadelphia with Joe Fulks scoring 37 points, leading his Warriors to a victory against the Stags. Though the Stags won the fourth game, the Warriors won the overall title with an 83-80 victory with a 34-point contribution from Fulks. Howie Dallmar is credited with hitting the winning basket to break an 80-80 tie, with only a minute left before the finish of the game.

A Few Famous Basketball Players

Famous basketball players are players that have become household names. The famous basketball players that many fans revere have all been part of the National Basketball Association. These players have shown amazing skill on and off the court, and they continue to hold fascination for fans and players today. Many players have also been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame too.

Wilt Chamberlain

Wilt Chamberlain, also known as Wilton Norman Chamberlain, has a number of different monikers including “Chairman of the Boards:” a name suggesting his domination over the backboards in the game; “The Big Dipper:” a name suggesting his ability to dunk the ball, and “Wilt the Stilt:” a name referencing his extraordinary physical height. Chamberlain has played for the San Francisco Warriors of Philadelphia, the 76ers of Philadelphia, and the Lakers of Los Angeles. He has even been a team member of the Harlem Globetrotters. It is considered to this day as one of the most dominant basketball players in NBA history. Wilt Chamberlain started out as a rookie player weighing in at 250 pounds but eventually gained weight and while playing for the Lakers weighed in at 300 pounds. He is seven feet one inches tall.

Awards he has won include the Rookie of the Year, the NBA Finals MVP, and he won the NBA scoring championship Award seven times. He is identified as one of the fifty greatest players in the history of the NBA; he earned the most valuable player award four times, and he was the NBA rebounding champion eleven times.

Earvin Johnson Jr.

Earvin Johnson Jr. is otherwise known as Magic Johnson. Now a retired basketball player, Johnson was at one time a point guard for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers. Johnson won high school as well as collegiate championships. He earned the Most Valuable Player Award in his rookie season with the NBA, and won four additional championships while he was a player for the Lakers during the ‘80s. Unfortunately, Magic Johnson contracted HIV and retired in the early 1990s. He returned to the game for a brief period in the year 1992 where he played an All Star Game and won the All Star Most Valuable Player Award. He then retired for an additional four years, before coming back to the game in 1996, playing thirty-two games with the Lakers, and then finally retiring on a permanent basis.

Magic Johnson was a five time NBA Champion. He was named the Most Valuable Player three times during his career, and he was also a Finals Most Valuable Player three times. From 1983 to 1991 he played on the All NBA First Team nine times, and in 1980 he played on the NBA All Rookie First Team. He was also the NCAA Champion in 1979. His number, 32, was eventually retired by the Lakers.

Larry Bird

Larry Bird, otherwise known as Larry Joe Bird, is a former NBA player that has now retired. In 1978, he was drafted into the NBA and he became a team member of the Boston Celtics. For a period of 13 seasons he played as power forward or a small forward and he has teamed up with players like Kevin McHale, a forward, and Robert Parish, a center. In 1992, Bird was forced into retirement due to back-related issues. He was voted to NBAS Fiftieth Anniversary All Time Team in the late 1990s and later inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. From 1997 until 2000 he coached the Indiana Pacers. Three years later he became the President of Basketball Operations for the same team and he remains in this position today.

Larry Bird was an NBA Champion three times; an NBA Most Valuable player three times, and an NBA All Star player twelve times. He was an NBA Finals Most Valuable player twice, an All NBA First Team player nine times, and an NBA All Defensive Second Team Player three times. His number, 33, was later retired by the Celtics. In 1998 he was named the Coach of the Year.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan, also known as Michael Jeffery Jordan, is a businessman and former basketball player. He was a player who was marketed well during his generation and one that helped to make the NBA incredibly popular. He joined the NBA in the year 1984 when he became a team member of the Chicago Bulls. Today his is also one of the owners of the Charlotte Bobcats. Jordan started out his career at the University of North Carolina. Later, in 1982 he played in the Tar Heels’ National Championship. His monikers include “His Airness,” and “Air Jordan,” because of his amazing jumping abilities. To this day Jordan is considered one of the best defensive players in the NBA. In 1993 and 1994, Jordan temporarily retired from basketball in order to pursue a different career in baseball. In 1995 he once again became a member of the Chicago Bulls. He retired again in the late 1990s, but did return for some gaming in 2001 as well as 2003.

Jordan’s achievements in basketball are many; he is a six-time NBA champion, a five time NBA Most Valuable Player, and he was an NBA All Star fourteen times. He was an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player six times, and he was named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1988. He was on the All NBA First Team ten times, the NBA All Defensive First Team nine times, and in 1985 he was named the Rookie of the Year. In 1984 he was named the ACC Player of the Year, the Naismith College Player of the Year, and in the same year he earned the Adolph Rupp Trophy, the John R. Wooden Award, and the Oscar Robertson Trophy. His number, 23, was retired by the Bulls.

The history of Basketball has witnessed a lot of landmark events that have increased the popularity of the game to dizzying heights. It is almost a second religion to the sport-loving people in the US. No doubt, basketball is heralded as a sport that gives a healthy balance to the physical, mental and spiritual state. This is truly the game that keeps you on your toes!