A History lesson for Basketball fans

A history Lesson from Dave. Dave a concrete coatings and repair expert, as well as an avid basketball fan, has resurfaced many, many Basketball Courts.  That being said, Dave gave us a little insight on the history of the game of basketball.

Most sports that are played around the world today were developed by ‘accident’, and they evolved to become more sophisticated as the game progressed. In this regard, Basketball is different, because it was actually intentionally created by someone.

Basketball was invented in 1891 by James Naismith, who was a physical education teacher at the YMCA Training School (now called Springfield College). His students were bored of just doing gymnastics and callisthenics during the long New England winters, and so James decided to come up with an indoor sport.

Basketball was roughly based on a sport Naismith had played during his childhood, which was duck-on-a-rock. There was basically a target (duck), on an elevated rock, which had to be put down by throwing a ball or a stone at it. So, in its most basic form, there was the principle of Basketball – an elevated target, and a ball!

In those days, Naismith’s students played basketball using a soccer ball, and 2 peach baskets which were nailed to the gym balcony railing, about 10 feet off the ground.

The baskets had no holes at the bottom, so every time someone scored a point, the game had to be stopped for a bit to retrieve the ball. Later on, they made a hole through the bottom of the baskets. The first ever public game of basketball was played in 1892, at Springfield, Massachusetts. It had 18 players, 9 on each team.

Naismith made a list of 13 rules for his Basketball sport:

  1. The ball can be thrown in any direction with one or both hands
  2. The ball can be batted in any direction with one or both hands
  3. Players cannot run with the ball, they must throw the ball from the same spot where they caught it. If a player catches it while running, an allowance will be made so as to decide where he can throw the ball from
  4. The ball must be held in or between both hands. Players cannot use their arms or any other body par for grasping the ball
  5. No shouldering, holding, pushing, striking or tripping is in any way of an opponent is permitted. The first infringement of this rule by a player shall be a foul; the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is made. But if it is clear that the infringement was made deliberately to injure another player, it will result in a disqualification for the whole game. Substitutions are not allowed
  6. A foul is striking the ball with the fist, or a violation of rules 3, 4, or 5.
  7. If any team makes 3 consecutive fouls, it shall count as a goal for the opposing team
  8. A goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from grounds into the basket and stays there. If the ball rests on the edge and the opponent moves the basket it shall count as a goal.
  9. When the ball goes out of bounds it shall be thrown into the field and played by the person first touching it. In case of a dispute, the umpire shall throw it straight into the field. The “thrower-in” is allowed five seconds. If he holds it longer it shall go to the opponent. If any side persists in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on them.
  10. The umpire shall be the judge of the men and shall note the fouls and notify the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made. He shall have power to disqualify men according to Rule 5.
  11. The referee shall be judge of the ball and shall decide when the ball is in play, in bounds, to which side it belongs, and shall keep the account of the goals, with any other duties that are usually performed by the referee.
  12. The time shall be two fifteen minute halves, with five minutes’ rest between
  13. The side making the most goals in the in that time shall be declared the winner. In the case of a draw, the game my, by agreement of the captains, be continued until another goal is made.

Naismith’s students then started playing the game when they went back home for Christmas break. Only 2 months after the game was invented, the first competitive game of Basketball was played between Central YMCA and Armory Hill YMCA.

It didn’t take long for colleges to form their own basketball teams after the sport was invented, especially Ivy League ones, like Harvard, Princeton, etc. The first National Tournament was held in Madison Square Garden in 1938, and Temple was the first National champion. Basketball was played in the Berlin Olympics for the first time in 1936.


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