History of Basketball

A Canadian doctor, William Naismith, invented the game of basketball in January 1892, to provide an indoor winter sport for the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. He wrote basic rules and nailed up two peach baskets at either end of a large room. Of his original 13 rules, nine have been kept but changed somewhat. Since basketball used so few players, YMCA members were upset that more men could not use the gym together. Teams started thinking of renting their own halls. This led to the professional teams.

The first game used nine players per team and a soccer ball. The number was changed to 5 in 1897 and has stayed at that same number ever since. The name basketball was suggested during this first game. The first professional game was between the Trenton YMCA and The Brooklyn YMCA. It took place in Trenton, New Jersey in November 1896. Players were paid, and admission was charged.

The National Basketball League was organized in 1898 with six teams from Philadelphia and New Jersey. Other leagues soon started, but most didn't last very long. In 1901, colleges began forming basketball teams. There were many injuries in the games. President Theodore Roosevelt urged the colleges to set up a governing body which would make rules and regulations. They did this in the summer of 1910.

At first, not all the pro teams were in leagues. Some traveled around the country to play with various other teams. These independent teams were called barnstormers. After World War I, the Furey brothers brought innovations to basketball. They introduced zone defense to the game. They also put in place the idea of a player having a contract with one team and not roaming off from team to team.

By 1913, there were at least four sets of rules, including those made by colleges, YMCA, and professional teams. In 1915, the YMCA, Amateur Athletic Union and the colleges together decided to make their own rules. The Rules Committee was renamed the National Basketball Committee of the United States and Canada. This committee was the only rule-making body until 1979. In that year, colleges and high schools broke away and apart to write their own rules.

Basketball was not a very popular sport in America until 1925 with the creation of the American Basketball League. The teams were mostly sponsored by major corporations. They had to disband for two seasons during the Great Depression. However, the 1935-1936 season was a much better one for the league because the economy was improving.

In the early years, scoring was low and the games moved slowly. However, the NBC instituted new rules of play during the 1930's. The center jump following each goal was eliminated. A line was drawn across the middle of the court and the offensive team had only 10 seconds to get the ball beyond it or lose the ball.

Coaching made changes also. Stanford University coach Luisetti brought in the one-handed shot in the 1930s. In the 1950s the jump shot came along. 'Fast break' was another offensive tool invented by the coach at the University of Rhode Island. The offensive team pushed hard and fast down the court.

After World War II, basketball began to grow, especially with the advent of televised games. Some superstar players greatly improved the viewing and attendance for basketball. It grew in four different directions: high school and college teams, professional basketball, women's basketball and international basketball. The NBA, National Basketball Association, was founded in 1949 for pro basketball teams.

A: New York City
B: Chicago, Illinois
C: Springfield, Massachusetts
D: Trenton, New Jersey

A: American Red Cross
C: Salvation Army
D: Amateur Athletic Union

A: Lone wolves
B: Barnstormers
C: Basketball rogues
D: Basketball loners

A: Strong charge
B: Fast charge
C: Fast break
D: Fast push

A: 1939
B: 1922
C: 1929
D: 1949

A: Woodrow Wilson
B: James Madison
C: George Bush
D: Theodore Roosevelt

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