The History of Basketball
Basketball has been a part of American pastime throughout the many generations, but it wasn’t always loved and accepted by the American people. Throughout the many challenges that the game of basketball faced it still overcame adversity and turned into something so beautiful and successful. The evolution of American basketball can be read as a "text" to reveal the character of American popular culture during the 20th century. Through an analysis of the history of basketball, a generational "image" of the American people will be assembled. This paper will go over the ways in which popular culture, 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, Dr. James Naismith, for Springfield College that was at the time the YMCA training school for professionals. At Springfield College, James Naismith, with the help of Physical Education Specialist Luther Halsey Gulick, invented the game of “Basket Ball” in 1891. 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 and 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 YMCA’s all over the country. The first official game was played in January 20, 1892 with 9 players, on a court that was about half the size of a modern-day NBA 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 YMCA’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 were the first to accept the sport at their schools by 1896 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 and 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 revolutionizing the country 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 $2.50 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 Lebron James, or even Kobe Bryant. In the years before WWI, the Amateur Athletic Union and the Intercollegiate Athletic Association seeked 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....
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