1.2 Quick history of basketball

Basketball was created by Dr James Naismith in 1891 as a sport that could be played indoors by young men at the Springfield YMCA in Massachussets.

The game grew quickly and whilst the number of players has reduced to 5 per team, the “basket” is at the same height and the ball is still round! Initially, there were 13 rules and many of them continue into the current rules. Some changes that were not in the original rules are:

  • The backboard:
    the original gymnasium had a balcony, from which spectators could watch the game.The backboard was introduced to stop these spectators from blocking shots!
  • Dribbling:
    the original rules stated that a player had to pass the ball from the spot where they caught the ball. Players soon started to “move” with the ball by dropping the ball, changing position, and then catching it again.
    In 1901 players could dribble the ball once (but could not then shoot) and in 1909 unlimited dribbling was allowed.
  • Screening:
    this was never prohibited under the rules.
    The first screens however were caused by pillars that were supporting the roof and were in the playing area!
  • Basketball nets:
    Dr Naismith used peach baskets as the target, and someone had to climb a ladder and get the ball out after each basket. Thankfully, scores were relatively low
    (the first game was won 1-0).

    The next evolution was to make a small hole in the bottom of the peach basket, so that a piece of wood could be pushed through to push the ball out. In 1901, a net was used (rather than a basket) so that the ball would go straight through!

One of the most popular games in the world

There are currently 215 countries affiliated with FIBA, which is the international body responsible for the growth and development of basketball. This makes basketball one of the most popular sports in the world.

Basketball is both an Olympic (Men since 1936, Women since 1984) and a Paralympic Sport (Men since 1960, Women since 1968). And the newest discipline in the sport (3x3) is played in the Youth Olympic Games and is under consideration to be played at the Olympics.

FIBA conducts The Men’s World Cup the Womens World Championships every four years and World Championships for U17 and U19 Men and Women are conducted very two years.

FIBA has introduced a professional 3x3 world tour, as well as conducting 3x3 World Championships for juniors and seniors.

The first game involved 9 players on each side vying to throw a soccer ball into a peach basket, which was nailed on the wall of the gymnasium, 10 foot (3.048m) from the floor.