The History of Basketball
This paper will go over the ways in which popular ultra, American identity, and basketball combine and reflect one another. “Basket Ball” was a big part of the Lost generation, which was where it was first introduced by a P. E. Teacher, Dry. James Mainmast, for Springfield College that was at the time the YMCA training school for professionals. At Springfield College, James Mainmast, with the help of Physical Education Specialist Luther Halley Click, invented the game of “Basket Ball” in 1891.
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His inspiration came from a game he used to play as a young kid where he would try to knock a rock off an object by using another rock to knock it off ND from that the game of basketball came about and evolved to what it was at the time. Who knew that with one idea you can create something that would change history as we know it. The first set of rules were created in 1892, where the object was for the teams of nine players to dribble a soccer ball on a court of unknown dimensions and to score points you would have the make the ball in a peach basket that was 10 feet from the ground.
What seemed like such a simple game back in the day quickly grew in popularity by both men and women in Yam’s all over the country. The first official game as played in January 20, 1 892 with 9 players, on a court that was about half the size off modern-day NAB court. In 1893, iron hoops and hammock-style baskets were introduced to the game since the peach baskets were not durable. At the time, basketball was a very intense and rowdy sport and even though the Yam’s discouraged the game, that didn’t matter to anybody watching or playing the game.
Around 1895, the first backboard was introduced to prevent the fans from interfering with game since the baskets were usually hung on top of balconies. While the sport was growing rapidly, U. S. Colleges ere the first to accept the sport at their schools by 1 896 for both men and women. The history of college basketball set off and the first men’s game took place on January 18, 1896 when the University Of Iowa invited student athletes from the University of Chicago for an experimental game, which the final score of the game was: Chicago 15, Iowa 12.
For the women the first official college game was in April of 1896 where it was a 9 on 9 between Stanford and Berkeley, in which Stanford won its’ first inter-collegiate game over Berkeley 2-1. At the time, men were boycotted from women’s games ND were not allowed to watch the games because it wasn’t considered socially acceptable. Later on in 1897, they officially set the standard for teams of five and it stuck from there on. Basketball was revolutionize the county and was so popular that in 1898, the first professional league, National Basketball League, was formed in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and players would make $2. 0 for home games and $1. 25 for away games. That is so crazy to think that players got paid that much back in the days, to now where the players are getting multi-million dollar contracts like Lebanon James, or even Kobo Bryant. In the years before WWW, the Amateur Athletic Union and the Intercollegiate Athletic Association seeded control over the rules for the game to change the game and make it less violent. In the years to come, the game of basketball would forever change into something so big no one at the time would ever think it would become.
With WWW escalating in Europe, the threat of it expanding throughout the world, many men including professional basketball players joined the military since they weren’t exempt from it at all. As the US. Entered WWW, the shortage of athletes quickly grew and brought an end to two basketball agues, which were the Interstate Basketball League and the New York State Basketball League. Many leagues failed as well because of the attendance was so small for games that the fans were occupied with the war so the sport’s popularity during the early sass’s.
There were only a few leagues that flourished and stayed around during the war like the New York Celtic, and the Barnstormers, but the Harlem area was the place where basketball gained the most popularity. It helped give the African Americans a sense of importance and also brought the racial tension down because Harlem was here some of the first interracial games were played between the blacks vs.. Whites. The Harlem Renaissance also gave birth to the New York Rene, who were the first fully black team and the Harlem Globetrotters, who are still around to this day.
The New York Rene changed Americas game of basketball forever when they began to play white teams since it drew more crowds especially with the whites and it gave them the opportunity to show that they were the best in the nation. December 20, 1 925, the Rene recorded their first victory over the white world champions, the New York Celtic. Once WWW need, the professional basketball leagues started back up around 1919-1920. During the G. I. Generation, basketball was only second tier sport and was only attended if there wasn’t a hockey game or football game.
Since the attendance was so low it forced many teams, and leagues to shut down monthly, and only a select few were able to stay around, which were the New York Rene, New York Celtic, Spa’s, and the Germans. When people thought all was lost and basketball could be the thing of the past, everything changed in 1 925, when the American Basketball League was created. This league was dad up of only a select few teams that were owned by small corporations like Firestone and Healy Motors and were pretty successful for the next couple years, but with the Great Depression starting most of the teams disbanded.
They tried to keep the league alive while in the middle of the Great Depression, but it just wasn’t successful since Americans didn’t have the money to enjoy such luxurious things like a basketball game. The last straw was when the Stock Market Crash of 1 929 eventually hit the league so hard they finally had to stop play during the seasons of 1 931-32 and 1932-1933, nice money was so scarce and those who had it held it tight. Yet during these hard times, somehow basketball still managed to Sunnis.
The result in making no money meant that the players sometimes had a shortage in uniforms or even basketballs and would have to play with half flat basketballs. The sass’s didn’t really affect or change the game in any major way, but did add its’ own aspect to the game. After stopping 1933-34 season, the BAL decided to resume play again, but still faced low attendance from Americans, since they were more focused on eating and paying bills more Han they were on watch a basketball game.
One event that had a huge impact on basketball was the Dust Bowl in 1935, which was a huge storm that covered five states and was so bad that many people had to abandon their cars. The storm was so bad that a Regional Tournament at Garden City and Hays, in Kansas, had to suspend play because the dust was so bad that the visibility even with the lights made the games impossible to play. They also wanted didn’t want to endanger their players’ health. As the leagues were slowly suffering one team had a great importance on American race and social equality, the New York Rene.
This was the first all-black professional team that was actually very dominant in their time that in one season alone they went 1 12-7. Even though they were successful they weren’t accepted socially or professionally because of their race. This didn’t bother them at all and they kept doing what they do best, which was winning and with that eventually helped push social equality. The New York Rene helped make way for another all-black team to surface, the Harlem Globetrotters. The difference between these two was that the Rene played serious and the
Globetrotters, formed by Abe Aspersion in 1 927, were flashy and all for entertainment. These two teams weren’t really rivals, but when they played each other the games were memorable. One Of those games was in the third round of the 1 939 world professional basketball tournament in Chicago, where the Rene defeated the Globetrotters 27-23. The Rene would end up winning the tournament by defeating the Oshkosh All-stars 34-25. Even though the Rene weren’t remembered as much as the Globetrotters, their importance and impact on social equality could be the main reason they were around.
With the failure of the American Basketball League arising it actually helped another side of basketball to gain popularity during the go’s, which was college basketball. In the late 1 ass’s was when Intercollegiate Athletic Association changed its’ name the National Collegiate Athletic Association or what know as the NCAA. The new name of the NCAA also came with new ideas to boost popularity and help change the game of basketball. This generation was when March Madness and National Invitation Tournament was first born and soon to be one of Americans favorite events in the history of the US.
Now many professional leagues were not afraid of the NCAA because amateurs were only eligible to play for 4 years and so they didn’t fear that it would affect them in anyway. One historic event in this time was in 1 936 when James Mainmast was invited to watch basketball become an Olympic sport in Berlin. In 1937, the mediocre line was created to speed up the game and the National Basketball League was again created by three corporations: General Electric, Firestone and Goodyear. Both the N.B. and the BAL were trying to appeal to different types of Americans whether they were the rich or just farmers and blue collar workers.
In 1939 the father of basketball, James Mainmast, passed away before actually seeing the game grow into what it has today. Around this time was when the first basketball game was televised in February 28, 1940 at Madison Square Garden between Fordham and the University of Pittsburgh. These leagues were still struggling with the poor economy and as well the threat of World War II happening. They had to shorten the amount of games from 33 to 1 6 in their seasons as well as for the playoffs in the 1940-1941 season. When the next season came about both leagues hoped that this would be the season Of change and hat there would be more success.
They began seeing more profit as well as the NCAA in the month of November and play since teams were equal and the games were more competitive. Everything was going great until Monday December 8, 1941 when people woke up to read the newspaper and saw that Japan had attacked the US Navy Fleet stationed at pearl Harbor. This was when the US had no choice but to enter WI , and with that the leagues temporarily stopped play since many players enlisted for the war. Weeks later they tried to resume play but it really didn’t catch the eye of many
Americans since they were so preoccupied with the war, and the N.B. was the only league to really have any success at all. It wasn’t until 1945-1946, when WI finally ended with the LOS victorious once again, the birth of Basketball Association of America, which was a key piece to the creation of the “NAB. ” The silent generation was an era where once WI was over people were able to go back to living normal lives and try doing the things they would before the Great Depression. One of those things that Americans would go back to doing was being able to have the luxury of watching basketball games.
Also owe that many soldiers were done with the war they were now able to have a chance of playing basketball, increasing the talent and players in all leagues including the NCAA. Bob “the Houdini of the hardwood” Couch was one of the players that was dominating the college level for Holy Cross with his flashy style and George Manikin was another major player for the Chicago Gears in the BAL. With that and many other things, came a huge boost in the economy that looked very promising for America and its’ state of well-being.
While the N.B. and the NCAA were flourishing with success, the BAL still had a tough mime and since success was on their minds, the BAL owners of the major cities and one Canadian owner decided to create a league in 1 946 to compete with the N.B. and the BAL. And with that the Basketball Association of America was formed in hopes of being around for a long time. This was the first league to attempt to play mainly in large arenas in major cities. The BAA would pay their players $2,000 a season and another $2,000 if they won the title at the end of the season.
The teams for the league were the Washington Capitols, the Philadelphia Warriors, New York Knickerbockers, Providence Steamrollers, Toronto Huskies, Boston Celtic(The Original Celtic), Chicago Stags, SST Louis Bombers, Detroit Falcons, Cleveland Rebels and Pittsburgh Ironies. The season was 60 games long and the playoffs were setup like the other leagues to where the division winners got a first round bye like the N.B., and the playoff seeds went by overall record not division standings like the BAL had. The Philadelphia Warriors won the first BAA title beating the Chicago Stags in an intense 5 games in 1946-season.
The 47-48 season saw the most growth for the N.B. compared to the other leagues and some teams changed heir names as well. One of the teams that changed their names was the Detroit Gems that moved to Minneapolis and then renamed themselves the Lasers. Also they picked up George Manikin, a big man, who was the most dominate player of his time, ultimately leading the Lasers to the Championship easily defeating the Rochester Royals in 4 games. Around this time some of the rules had been changed like instead of having 5 fouls per game it was now 6 and also the team roster was increased from 10 to 12.
While things started changing, the BAL was on its’ last leg just holding on for ear life since many of the leagues’ teams disbanded or left to the BAA. In the 48-49 season four teams of the N.B., which were the Minneapolis Lasers, the Rochester Royals, the Fort Wayne Colleen Pistons and the Indianapolis Statutes moved to the BAA. August 3, 1 949 was the year when the BAL finally faded and the N.B. was losing many teams, so the BAA agreed to merge with the remaining N.B. teams creating the National Basketball Association. The new league had seventeen teams at the beginning located through many large and small cities.
African Americans still hadn’t made their ay into the professional leagues even though there were teams like the Rene and the Globetrotters were playing against white teams. That all changed in 1 950 when the first African American, Chuck Cooper, was drafted by the Boston Celtic and others joined him as well that year like Nat Clifton, who signed with the Nicks, and Earl Lloyd, who played for Washington. Earl Lloyd was the first African American to play in an NAB game. The racial tension was still around, but players like these eventually paved the way for racial equality as well as acceptance.
During 1953-1954, the NAB downsized heir franchises from seventeen to eleven and then finally to eight teams, moving each team to a major city. Each player would be a paid $5,000 a season and since it wasn’t a lot the players would usually find other work in the postseason. Professional basketball was a rapid rise in the sys, but college basketball was on a whole other level and that’s where all the fans were. In 1954, NBC paid $7,500 for the first national broadcast rights to an NCAA title game which in today’s dollars would’ve been right around $60,000.
The NAB had some TV exposure on the Demount Network, but at the time it was a second-tier sport compared to college basketball or any other sport for that matter like baseball, and football. Some of the reasons why the fans were turning to college basketball were because they were turned off by the NAB and the way game was changing. The Lasers were a dominating force winning 5 of the 6 seasons and championships from 1949-1954. Even with the league changing its’ rules the Lasers was still the best, but it made the game harder to watch since they had a lack of rules that would limit fouls and the stalling.
The games became more like a rough-housing, dragged out game that came more like a free-throw shooting contest. The way the players played the game, holding the ball for the whole game, upset the fans since they paid to see an entertaining game and instead it was the opposite. The game’s image was being ruined by this and another thing that didn’t help either was when a basketball player, Jack Nominal, was caught gambling on his own team, which was the first time something like this had ever happened in pro basketball.
He was banned from the sport by Commissioner Maurice Foothold, but the damage was done to the sport and something had to be done to get the fans back. 954-1955 was the turning point for the NAB when they signed a contract with NBC for one season after the Demount Network folded. Even with TV exposure the NAB was slowly failing because of the way the game was played. One of the games that had a chance for some TV exposure was the Nicks vs.. The Celtic, which ended in a 95 foul game, embarrassing the Nab’s image and was switched even before the game was over.
It wasn’t until the owner of the Syracuse Nationals, Danny Biasing, introduced the idea of the 24 second shot clock as well as the foul limit in hopes of bringing the fans back. The team foul limit was stated as only a certain amount of fouls could be committed in a single quarter, and after the limit was reached any foul after would result in free throws. These concepts really saved professional basketball and changed the way the game was played for the better. Now that the players couldn’t hold the ball for the whole game, scoring went up dramatically making the game a lot more entertaining to watch.
On April 29, 1956, Bill Russell was drafted by the Boston Celtic, marking the beginning of what would be an amazing career for him. He was so good that he was MAP and rookie of the year in the same ear, something that has only been done by one other person later on, West Ensued. In the 1959 NAB Draft, another NAB legend, Wilt Chamberlain, was drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors. These two players dominated the game for the next 10 years and could be considered the first rivals of the game that helped put the NAB on the map, helping to popularize the sport to levels never seen before they were around.
With the breaking of the color barrier the NAB was dominated by black stars like Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, and Oscar Robertson. There were some white stars as well including Jerry Lucas and Jerry West. 1 959 was also the year that the Basketball Hall of Fame was founded in Springfield, Massachusetts. 1960 was another significant year when the USA basketball team won the Olympics behind Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, Jerry Lucas and Walt Bellary. In the 1962-63 season Bob Couch, a legendary white player, retired as well as Coach Red Reproach who won a record 9 titles with the Celtic.
Another historic event was on March, 2 1962 when Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a game over the New York Nicks and no one would ever beat this record to this day. As the NAB grew more and more with huge success as attendance was higher than it has ever been as well television ratings. With that the increase in revenue was massive especially in television and with more money coming in; problems between the owners and players started arising. This historic event would soon change the wages of professional basketball players forever. That would give rise to the Baby Boomer generation and the NAB would soon rise to the top.
During the Baby Boomer generation, in 1963-64 the Nab’s television exposure was rapidly increasing and the revenue was increasing as well and his created problems for the players as well since they felt they should get a cut of the profits that were being made. Going into the All Star Game in Boston, players complained about their low wages, extended traveling and no pension at all. Two hours before the game started the All-Star players let Commissioner Walter Kennedy know that they wouldn’t play the game if there was no pension plan implemented with the owners.
As if that weren’t the only problem, BBC said that if the players didn’t play then they would scratch the whole TV contract. That didn’t give the commissioner much of a hooch and he then told the players that he would construct an agreement to make it happen. This was literally the first victory for the Nab’s Player’s Association as well the first player’s union victory in American sports history. The NAB Players Association was also the first union to create the collective bargaining agreement with the owners Of the league. This resolved many problems for the players of the time, but there was still a problem with racial equality.
With the sys being a time of integration, it was still a divided nation and while the American fans of the NAB were mainly white, the game of settable was growing with more and more flashy black stars every day, creating a problem. Regardless of the problem the NAB still succeeded with attendance of games topping 2. 5 million and with that the BBC signed a contract worth $4 million for a five-year TV deal. TV exposure was a big part of the game evolving it and having a huge part on the player’s salaries as well as keeping the league afloat.
Many teams like the Minneapolis Lasers and the SST. Louis Hawks relocated to from small market cities to Los Angels(Lasers), and Atlanta(Hawks). There wasn’t really a justified explanation how their TV exposure would change by moving there, but I’m pretty sure now there is no need for explanation. In 1967 the NAB faced a challenge with two leagues being created, which were the BAL and the ABA Even though the BAL only lasted about a year and a half because they didn’t get the promotion and sponsors they needed, the ABA created the most challenges for the NAB and its’ success.
George Manikin Was the first commissioner for the ABA, and they landed Rick Barry as their first player to sign with the Oakland Oaks. The ABA had eleven franchises, trying to lure the NAB players away and the rookies out of college. The difference between the NAB and ABA was that players from college couldn’t enter the NAB until they finished 4 years of college and the ABA had no such clause.
This difference right here was a major factor for star college players that didn’t want to stay in college for that long and since they were rejected by the NAB they would end up in the ABA One example would be Spencer Handhold from University of Detroit, who tried to leave college after his second year of college but was rejected by the NAB because of their clause and the ABA immediately claimed him. The NAB saw this as a huge advantage or the ABA and signing away top players so they had to do something. During this time in 1969 the NAB created its now famous logo with Jerry West being the iconic image on it.
In 1971 after many talks and negotiations the two leagues came to an agreement and a merger was formed where the NAB would take ten of the eleven franchises and in result the ABA would drop its antitrust suit against the NAB. In 1 972, Julius “Dry. J” Irving was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks for the ABA league, and would soon be thought of to be a main reason for the merger for his style of play and flashy dunks. When everything seemed to go right the Player’s Association were against the merger, and filed a lawsuit known as the Oscar Robertson suit that lasted five years.
Spencer Haywood eventually went to the NAB after being in the ABA for a year, even though they didn’t usually take players that didn’t finish four years of college, being signed by the Seattle Supersonics. In 1 974, Utah drafted big man Moses Malone straight out Of high school, ending the ban on drafting high school players or even players that haven’t played four years of college. With the Oscar Robertson suit still lingering on and the ABA enticing NAB layers to join their league, making their league very successful, the NAB had to do something quick.
By the summer of 1976 the NAB got sick and tired of waiting for this all to come to an end and so an agreement was reached. Only four ABA franchises joined the NAB, which were Denver, New York, San Antonio, and Indiana. Each franchise had to pay $3. 2 million to enter the league, and couldn’t receive any TV revenue for three years or take part in the 1976 draft. In the agreement the NAB also agreed to get rid of the reserve clause and allow free agency in the league and with that salaries began to increase rapidly even more. The NAB hoped with this resolved that they could go back to normal, but they were in for another surprise.
Teams were being added by team by the expansion and the merger, and even some of the big stars took the stage, but all was not well the league. The Nab’s contract with BBC expired and they didn’t want to renew another one so the only choice they had was to go with CBS. The only downfall was that they wouldn’t promote their league like BBC did since college football and the Wide World of Sports had more of the focus, both having higher ratings than the NAB The NAB was falling in darkness with drugs becoming a huge problem in the sport, with drugs, and fighting occurring often.
The sys were known as the “Cocaine Era” for the NAB In 1977, a game between Lasers and the Houston Rockets, a fight broke, and Houston Rudy Atomization ran towards the huge brawl, only to be met with a fist in the face by Lasers Kermit Washington. Atomization was in the intensive care for two weeks with a broken jaw, nose, a fractured face, and skull from hitting the ground so hard he could taste his spinal fluid. What also didn’t help the league was that Washington was black and Atomization was white. Attendance was dropping fast as well as television ratings, hurting the Nab’s image once again.
It was so bad that the CBS would tape delay Nab’s games, and playoffs, meaning most people saw these games on after midnight. One important event that gave the NAB some hope would be on September 7, 1 979, a new cable television network called ESP. had its debut. It was a 24 hour sports channel with a program that came on nightly called Sportscaster that showed highlights from different sports, which definitely helped out the NAB the most by far. In he 1979-1980 season the three-point line was introduced, giving the game a new and exciting identity that took some time to get used to.
This season also saw the arrival of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, who would set the tone for fame and stardom in this decade. These two players would also be another great rival of their time in the NAB. The league would endure a dark age and it wouldn’t be until the sys that they would be able to come back from this and change its image altogether. Now that the merger was in full effect the NAB could finally focus on what it set out to do and only kick up from here. With the sys and sys being an important part for the game of basketball and its’ growth, this was only the beginning of what was known as Generation X.
The early sys came with NBC signing the NAB from CBS for $750 million over four years. The Nab’s popularity was on an unexpected rise after the merger, but there were still the problems lingering from the sys that were faced like, drugs, players’ wages, and the image of the NAB. It wasn’t until 1983 that the NAB and the players’ union signed a collective bargaining agreement. This now introduced two key components to the game, which the first was the alarm cap. This eliminated any franchise to buy a championship as well as drag someone’s contract out like Magic Johnny’s contract when he was got $25 million over 25 years.
That is insanely ridiculous especially because it was rare to see any player play for that many seasons period. It also helped to level the playing field to where each team now had a fair chance at signing a star player for their franchise in hopes of winning a championship. The second component that was introduced was a new drug policy that consisted of the “Three Strikes” method. The first strike was suspension, the second loud be suspension and the teams’ option to waive the player, and if there was a third strike then it would be a ban from the game forever that could be reviewable by the league after two years.
They hoped by implementing this new policy that this would slowly rebuild their image into something positive again. While the NAB was still trying to rebuild its image, the rivalry of superstars Larry Bird and Magic Johnson would help them to recover for the next decade with their entertaining battles. The Lasers and Celtic would be the two most dominant teams in the go’s, with the Lasers winning 5 championships and the Celtic winning 3. Now between the two players Bird and Magic would win six Maps in the sys as well.
They were the superstars of the time, but as their dominance remained, one man would soon surpass everyone to becoming a legend and the best player ever to play the game of basketball. This man would be Michael Jordan who would be drafted 3rd overall by the Chicago Bulls in 1984 after what would be now know as the most controversial 2nd pick of Sam Bowie by the Portland Trailblazers. Before even joining the NAB he already inked a deal with Nikkei to market his own brand of shoes and that as something that had never been done before.