History of Basketball

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The game of basketball has evolved a great deal throughout the years. Basketball was invented on December 21, 1891. The inventor of the game was a Canadian clergyman, James Naismith (Joseph Morse, 1973).

The game of basketball was fashioned from fragments of other games, seeking to eliminate flaws of indoor rugby, soccer and lacrosse. Naismith also borrowed aspects from the children's game "Duck-on-a-Rock," in which children tried to knock off a rock from a boulder by tossing smaller rocks from about 20 feet away (Lauren S. Bahr, 1995).

There has been no question that basketball was first played in the United States. In fact, the first game was played at the International Young Men's Christian Association Training School, now called Springfield College. (Joseph Morse, 1973) Naismith invented basketball as an alternative to the calisthenics and marching his students practiced to keep fit in the winters (Lauren S. Bahr, 1995).

Basketball was a simple game, which consists of a ball and a basket. The very first ball that was used was a soccer ball until 1894 when an actual "basketball" was invented. The basketball was slightly smaller, about 30 inches in diameter (William D.Halsey, 1975). While, the first baskets that were used were two peach baskets that were hung from the balcony of the gymnasium (Frank G. Menke, 1970). By 1906, the peach baskets were replaced by metal baskets with holes in the bottom. These holes were placed in the basket so a long pole could be used to poke the basketball out of the basket. This was better then in the early days, when a ladder was used to climb and fetch the ball out of the basket. Finally, in 1913 a hoop with a net was invented so the basketball could fall freely to the ground (Lauren S. Bahr, 1995). In my opinion, the invention of the hoop and net was a major step in the game of basketball. Due to the free falling ball the game's tempo increased which allowed the game of basketball to develop even more.

In 1893, due to the overzealous spectators interfering with the basketball, the backboard was invented. The first backboard was constructed out of wire mesh, then wood and now it is made out of glass so the backboard does not interfere with the viewing of the game (Lauren S. Bahr, 1995).

Around this time, there was no name for this game. Students wanted to call the game "Naismith Ball," but in did not take. In 1921, a man called Mahn named the game "basketball," and it has been called basketball ever since (Frank G. Menke, 1970).

As the game of basketball was developing, Naismith introduced the 13 original rules for the game of basketball in which 12 out of the 13 original rules were still used up to 1934 (William D. Halsey). The only rule, which changed, was that a player was now allowed to dribble a basketball (Lauren S. Bahr, 1995). The rule of dribbling the basketball was first used in 1896 at a basketball game at Yale University. But at that time, the dribbler could not shoot a field goal (Joseph Morse, 1973). This rule change had many advantages because it allowed for more movement, which caused greater excitement in the game of basketball. But along with many advantages there were also disadvantages as well. The main problem from the rule was that teams would dribble the ball for periods of time while they were leading the game. This was called "stalling," which accounted for many of the low scoring games in the early days of basketball (Frank G. Menke, 1970).

With the introduction of the 13 original rules, Naismith created four fundamental principals which stayed in the game from 1891to 1937. These four fundamental principals stated, players with the ball must not make progress, the goal is above the head of the players, roughness is eliminated and a player may not receive the ball by use of contact (Joseph Morse, 1973).

Through the years of 1891 to the 1940's there were many rule changes as well as...
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