The History of Basketball The multi-million dollar, money making game of basketball has came a long way since its humble beginning. The sport of basketball was born at a training school in Springfield, Massachusetts. For a century, basketball was played with soccer balls and peach baskets. With outstanding players, evolving rules and records set, basketball has became an international sensation. This sport is enjoyed by people of all financial statuses and has transcended gender barriers. This has allowed some of the players to become legends in their own ways.
Unknowingly a man invented a game that would soon be played ll over the world, his name was James Naismith. Naismith was born on November 6th, 1861 in Almonte, Ontario, Canada. Naismith attended McGill University where he got his bachelor’s degree in physical education. McGill University then hired Naismith as the physical education teacher and director of athletics. In 1980, Naismith moved on to teach at a YMCA in Springfield, Massachusett. Naismith had been faced with the problem of having to make a sport that could be played inside during the long winter months.
He wanted to create a game that took skills, not just strength. Getting some elements from other games, he invented he game of basketball. Naismith nailed two peach baskets on each end of the gymnasium to ten-foot high posts and used a soccer ball as their basketball. Naismith then came up with thirteen rules for the game. First, the ball was to be thrown, or batted, in any direction with one or both hands, but never with the fist. A player couldn’t run with the ball. The player threw it from the spot that he caught it, allowing for a man running at good speed to catch the ball.
Next, the ball was held in or between the hands. No shouldering, holding, pushing, striking or tripping of an opponent was allowed in any way. The first erson to break this rule received a foul and the second would disqualify him until the next goal is made or, if there was proof of wanting to injure the person, they were disqualified for the whole game and no substitution was allowed. If either team had three consecutive fouls, it would be counted as a goal for the opposite team. A goal was made when the ball was thrown or batted from the ground, into the baskets and stayed there.
When the ball was thrown out of bounds, it was thrown into the field and played by the first person that touched it. When this happened, the player was given five seconds to get it to one of is teammates before the ball was turned over to the opposite team. If there was a dispute about who got the ball, the umpire would throw it straight into the field. The umpire was the judge of the men and noted the player’s fouls and notified the referee when three consecutive fouls were made.
The umpire also had the power to disqualify any players according to above rules. The game was played with two fifteen-minute halves with a five minute rest in between. Whichever team had the most goals made at the end of the game won.. Less than one month after Naismith’s game was introduced, his thirteen rules were printed n the school’s newspaper and two branches of the Springfield YMCA met on February 12, 1982 to organize the first game. By 1983, Hartford, YMCA set up a five-team league that drew over ten thousand spectators in just one winter.
As more amatur teams competed for space at their local YMCAS throughout the Northeast, there were other sports and activities that were being shortchanged and complaining, forcing the YMCA officials to limit the playing time. The very first known professional league formed was in 1898 by teams in the Philadelphia area. The National Basketball League lasted until 1903. By 1915, the ame had grown drastically . Tailored balls had taken the place of soccer balls and backboards were being required along with metal rims and long wired baskets with open bottoms.
It was standard for a five-man team and each player was only allowed four to five fouls before they were disqualified. The free-throw line was also set back to fifteen feet away from the baskets. Though the professional game remained in hibernation throughout the Depression years, college basketball began to flourish. Rules changed and the game became cleaner and faster. As the game was becoming more popular, Ned Irish rought the sport further into the spotlight by booking doubleheaders at Madison Square Garden.
Now the game included a laceless ball and uniforms. There were two referees and a ten-second line had been put into place that now forced the teams into play. A three-second rule had also been put into place that would keep players from standing underneath the goal and the elimination of the center-jump allowed the game to become more competitive. The center-jump was something that happened after every goal was made instead of the opposite team automatically getting the ball. This elimination elped speed up the game.
When the National Basketball League finally started operating under the same rules that the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the National Basketball League started attracting college graduate starts. The National Basketball League began to flourish but came to a halt when the attack at Pearl Harbor hit which brought the United States into World War II. Players were assigned to war-time duty. Going from an eight-team league to now operating as a four-team league, the National Basketball League didn’t improve until these men returned from war-time duty. The National
Basketball League really started to change when DePaul University star George Mikan was introduced in 1946. George Mikan was the biggest force the basketball world had ever seen. Mikan decided to stay in his hometown and sign with MBL’s Chicago Gears. Mikan missed the 1945-46 season to finish his college career, and was eligible for the world professional tournament. This event was annual and open to anyone. Mikan was six-foot ten and had thick rimmed glasses. He cleared paths to the basket with nasty elbows and led the Chicago Gears to the semifinals, all while scoring one-hundred points in five ames and winning MVP honors.
Right when the league appeared to be back in place, the owner of the American Gear Company, Maurice White, changed the course when he tried to form his very own league around Mikan. White’s plan failed and Mikan was assigned to a first-year Minneapolis team and led the Lakers to the 1947-48 National Basketball League title. The Basketball Association of America had been formed in 1946, with eleven teams. This league contained more of the bigger cities and better arenas, but it was clear that the National Basketball League had the better players, according to their first wo seasons.
By 1948, the Basketball Association of America was able to greater their status. As the third season was about to begin an announcement was made saying that there were four teams leaving the National Basketball League. This gave the Basketball Association of America a status as the best basketball that money could buy, now with a twelve-team roster. When the basketball season ended, the National Basketball League was no longer in business and six of their teams joined the Basketball Association of America, now giving them a seventeen-team roster. The Basketball Association of
America renamed itself the National Basketball Association. When the 1949-50 season ended, seven teams dropped out, leaving the National Basketball Association with a ten-team roster. A lot of time was spent trying to beat the Lakers, who passed through to five championships in six seasons riding on Mikan’s shoulders. Mikan had an average of 22. 6 points per game in over nine professional seasons. Mikan shocked the world when he announced his retirement after the 1954 championship at the age of thirty andd settled into a law career. George Mikan was a basketball legend to many, many people ight along with a lot of other men.
Mikan was considered to be the “Babe Ruth” of basketball. He was a three-time All-American and two-time national scoring champion at DePaul University. Mikan retired with 11,764 career points on his record. A few years later, another National Basketball League legend was introduced to the Minneapolis Lakers. Elgin Baylor joined the Lakers in 1958 and led them to the first of eight National Basketball Association Finals in 1958-59 season. When Baylor first joined the team, he averaged 22. 9 points per game and won Rookie of the Year honors. Over his first four seasons
Baylor increased his average to 38. 3 points per game. It is said that once he got started scoring, he was unstoppable. All Baylor needed was a little bit of a defensive crack and he headed right to the goal for two points before anyone knew what was going on. In 1959, Baylor broke the National Basketball Association single-game record against Boston when he scored 64 points. From the early 1960’s Baylor suffered from knee problems until the end of his career. Baylor retired with 23,140 career points. Both George Mikan and Elgin Baylor were elected to Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.
A young Elgin Baylor was introduced to the National Basketball Association in 1965. Rick Barry, a six-foot-seven forward studied Baylor’s every move. Boston defensive ace Tom Sanders said, “Barry is a young Elgin Baylor. Rick gives you that quick little fake and then he’s gone. ” Baylor admitted most of his moves have come from Baylor but his shots are completely original. Barry ended his college career in 1965 and was picked by the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the National Basketball Association draft. In 1966, Barry won Rookie of the Year honors with an average of 25. 7 points per game.
Barry made a decision that would forever change his “Golden Boy” image in 1967. Barry agreed to sign to a free-agent contract with the American Basketball Association’s Oakland Oaks. Barry was forced to sit on the side during the 1967-68 season while the National Basketball League and the American Basketball Association went to court. Barry returned to his basketball career in 1968-69 and led the American Basketball Association with a 34 point scoring average bringing the Oakland Oaks to the American Basketball Association championships.
Barry’s best season was the 1974-75 season when he averaged 30. oints per game and led the Golden State Warriors to their only West Coast Championship. Barry retired in 1980 carrying a 24. 8 points in over fourteen years and being known as the only player to lead both the American Basketball Association and the National Basketball Association in scoring. In 1982, another basketball legend with a twenty-foot jump shot was being introduced. Michael Jordan was full of greatness. “Everybody knows he’s going to get the ball, but you don’t know what he’s going to do with it,” said Michael Cooper, a former Los Angeles Lakers Star.
Some called Jordan “a visitor from another planet. ” Jordan had seven consecutive National Basketball Association scoring championships, four Most Valuable Player awards, 1984-85 Rookie of the Year award, 1987-88 Defensive Player of the Year, four-time National Basketball Association Finals Most Valuable Player, three-time leader in steals and was a member of the Olympic Dream Team in 1992. Although Jordan has achieved greatness and has received many awards his best achievement came when he led the Chicago Bulls to the top of the National Basketball Association mountain.
With the help of Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant and John Paxson the Bulls reach the championship. The Bulls became the third National Basketball Association team to win three straight championship titles. Jordan then shocked everyone when he announced his retirement at age 30 in 1993 saying that there weren’t anymore basketball worlds left for him to conquer. For two years Jordan pursued a career in baseball before returning back the the National Basketball Association.