Basketball is a very popular sport, comprising of two teams. Each of the teams has five members and competes against each other for scoring points, by passing the ball through a 10 feet (3 m) high hoop. The team with the maximum points, at the end of the game, wins. Talking about the origin of basketball, the game came into being as far back as the year 1891. Since then, it has evolved to consist of common techniques of shooting, passing and dribbling. If you want to explore some interesting information on the background of basketball, read on.
History of Basketball
It was in the year 1891 that Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian physical education student and instructor at YMCA Training School (now Springfield College) started looking for an energetic indoor game. The purpose of the game was to keep the students in shape, even during the winter months, when they were unable to indulge in any major outdoor physical activity. One day, an idea struck him and he pegged a peach basket on a 10-foot (3.05 m) elevated track. At the same time, he wrote some basic rules for the game and called it ‘basket ball’.
Initially, the basket retained it bottom and the ball had to be retrieved after making a goal. However, with time, as some inconvenience was noted, a hole was made at the bottom of the basket. Till 1906, peach baskets continued to be used and finally, were replaced by metal hoops with backboards. Soon, some more changes were made to the hoop and ultimately, it evolved to the one we see today. The first official basketball game was played in the YMCA gymnasium, on 20th January 1892, with nine players.
It was by 1897-1898 that a team of five members became a usual practice. The entry of women into basketball was noticed around 1892, at Smith College. It was Senda Berenson, a physical education teacher, who modified Naismith's rules and paved way for women’s basketball. She also played a major role in organizing the first women’s collegiate basketball game, on 21st March 1893. With time, basketball spread throughout USA and Canada. By 1895, the game was being played at several women's high schools.
The first intercollegiate women's game was played in April 1896. The year 1901 saw Berenson becoming the editor of A.G. Spalding’s first Women's Basketball Guide. By early-1900s, frequent injuries started to occur during men’s basketball games. This prompted President Roosevelt to suggest the formation of a governing body for college basketball. The result was the creation of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS), which was later (1910) renamed as National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Amateur sports clubs, colleges and professional clubs for basketball started opening. In the years before World War I, the Amateur Athletic Union and the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States competed for control over the rules of the game. The first men's national championship tournament, the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball tournament was organized in 1937. The next year saw the first national championship for NCAA teams, the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) in New York, being organized.
National Basketball Association
In 1946, the Basketball Association of America (BAA) was formed. Its main aim was to organize top professional teams and thus, promote the popularity of the professional game. The first game, under the association, was played in November 1946, in Toronto, Ontario. The two teams were those of the Toronto Huskies and New York Knickerbockers. Basketball Association of America became National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1949 and today, it is the top professional basketball league in the world
The International Basketball Federation was formed in 1932. The eight founding nations of the federation included Argentina, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Romania and Switzerland. Since the federation started with only amateur players; its acronym was FIBA, with ‘A’ standing for amateur. Basketball made its entry into Olympic Games only in the year 1936. The first final was won by United States, after defeating Canada.
In 1950, the first FIBA World Championship for men was held in Argentina. The first FIBA World Championship for Women was organized three years after the men’s one i.e. in 1953, in Chile. Women's basketball was added to the Olympics in the year 1976. It was in the year 1992 that professional players were introduced in Olympic Games, after FIBA dropped the distinction between them and amateurs. Today, basketball has become one of the most popular games, played worldwide.