Saturday, September 23, 2023

The Birthplace of Basketball

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

Basketball was originally created by James Naismith, a Presbyterian clergyman who taught gym class at YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. He invented the new game to keep the young men occupied indoors during the winter. Taking ideas from rugby and a game he played as a boy, “duck on the rock”, he thought of picking up boxes to throw a ball into. He couldn’t find any boxes, so he used peach baskets. He made up the rest of the rules in about an hour.

His first rule was that the ball can be thrown in any direction with one or both hands. The second was that the ball can be hit in all directions with one or both hands, but never with the fist. The third rule is that the player cannot run with the ball and must throw it from where he catches it. The ball must be held in or between the hands and the arms or body must not be used to hold it. He also said that you should not shoulder, hold, push, hit or trip an opponent.

Naismith defined a foul as hitting the ball with his fist. And if one of the teams makes three consecutive mistakes, that’s a goal for the opponents. The eighth rule is that a goal is scored when the ball is thrown or struck into the basket from the ground and stays there. When the ball goes out of bounds, it can be thrown into the field and played by the first person to touch the ball. The umpire worked with the umpire and his job was to review and record errors so that he could tell the umpire when three consecutive fouls have been made. Another role of the umpire was to judge the ball and decide when play was within the boundaries, to which side it belonged, and keep time. Naismith decided that the game should have two 15-minute halves, with a five-minute rest in between. And the last rule was that the side that scored the most goals within the time limit would be declared the winner.

The game caught on quickly because YMCA graduates traveled a lot and it was an easy game to play indoors during the cold winter. Naismith trained the first major college basketball coach, Forrest “Phog” Allen, who played for him at the University of Kansas and won 771 games as a coach himself. One of Allen’s star players was Wilt Chamberlain, who became one of the first superstars of professional basketball. He scored 100 points in one game.

In 1898, the first professional basketball league was formed. Players earned $2.50 for home games and $1.25 for road games. As of 1994, Juwan Howard, a star player for the Washington Bullets (now Wizards), had competitive offers of more than $100 million over seven seasons. Several National Basketball Association teams have foreign players returning home to represent their countries of origin at the Olympics. The team of American professional basketball players is called the Dream Team and represents the United States during the recent Olympics. Argentina grew in popularity internationally, winning gold in basketball in 2004, the first time a Latin American country has won the basketball honors.

I think it’s really cool that the game actually started with KU because that’s where I’m from and grew up in Kansas City. My father is actually a KU alumni, but he never played basketball with them. He loves to play fetch games with me, and since he had no sons, I was the one he taught. I grew up playing basketball on club teams, but never in school.

I play basketball in the 3rd grade, 2003

Playing Basketball in the 6th Grade, 2007

And I’ve actually always hated watching basketball games because I just wanted to be on the court and play. I remember going to many Midamerica Nazarene University home games because many of the alumni went to get their kids. It’s kind of funny that my history started in the same place as basketball.

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