Basketball is one of the most-loved sports in the world thanks to its end-to-end action. The game is non-stop and has created some of the biggest stars on the planet. Michael Jordan is a household name thanks to basketball, but if it hadn’t been created would he still have been a big star? If you’ve ever wondered how basketball was developed, then wonder no more! Here’s the intriguing story of how the exciting sport was invented.
Where it began
In 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts, one gym teacher was trying to figure out how to keep athletes fit during the winter months. They couldn’t train outdoors anymore, so it needed to be something inside. That gym instructor was James Naismith, and he is the man who came up with basketball. He knew it needed to be a non-contact sport as he wanted his athletes to be in top shape after winter, so he started to think about some rules.
A ball sport
This was going to be a team sport, so Naismith needed a ball to be involved. He took a soccer ball and decided the aim of his new game would be to throw it into a peach basket above the gymnasium floor. The team getting the ball into the basket would receive one ‘goal,’ and the play would resume.
It turned out the peach baskets were ideal for catching the balls, but there was a problem, getting the balls back. It wasn’t until several games later that someone cut a hole in the bottom to allow the ball to fall back into the court.
Making the rules
If Naismith was going to have a group of young athletes participate in this game, they needed some rules to follow. There were 13 rules in total drawn up. Players couldn’t unfairly touch an opponent and doing so would result in a foul, if that player made another foul they sat the game out until the next goal.
Players were not allowed to run with the ball initially and had to play it from the spot they were stood in. The other rules were basically the same as the ones we play by today, although there have been many more added since 1891.
The first game
Naismith’s idea seemed a good one, and he gathered 18 players in a 9 vs. 9 game on December 21, 1981. This was the first time the game had been played, and the scoring was much different from what we see today. The first game ended in a score of 1-0.
Naismith then had to decide on a name to call his new game and decided that as they had baskets and a ball, they should call it basketball. The game grew, and in 1946 the first professional league was created, the Basketball Association of America, which later became the NBA.
Basketball was a sport designed to keep other athletes in shape while avoiding the cold winter weather. It grew into one of the most followed and valuable sports in the world, making millionaires out of the stars who play it.