The History of Basketball spans over 115 years. From the early beginnings of the game, when peach baskets served as the hoops, to the modern action-packed game – basketball has evolved and grown more than any other sport!
Invented in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith, basketball started out as a simple game with only 13 original rules. However, I’d be willing to bet that Dr. Naismith would hardly recognize the game as it’s played today.
There have been numerous changes and modifications to the game over the years: rules, style of play, equipment, court markings, and many others. I have included a basketball time line below to help further illustrate these changes.
The original game of basketball was started with 18 men in a YMCA gymnasium in Springfield, Mass. Since then it has grown into a game that is played by more than 300 million people worldwide.
Dr. James Naismith invented basketball – under the orders from Dr. Luther Gulick, head of Physical Education at the School for Christian Workers. Naismith had 14 days to create an indoor game that would provide an “athletic distraction” for a rowdy class through the harsh New England winter.
Naismith’s invention didn’t come easily. His first intention was to bring outdoor games (such as soccer and lacrosse) indoors. These games proved to be too physical and cumbersome for indoor play.
Becoming frustrated with his lack of success, Naismith recalled a childhood game that required players to use finesse and accuracy to become successful. After brainstorming this new idea, Naismith developed the game of basketball as well as the original 13 rules.
James Naismith was a devoted and creative physical educator who loved sports but shied away from the glory of competitive athletics. As basketball grew in popularity, Naismith never sought publicity or self-promotion. He was a very humble man.
Although he never had the opportunity to see the game become the incredible success it is today, Naismith’s biggest thrill came when he was sponsored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) to witness basketball become an Olympic sport at the 1936 Games held in Berlin.
Dr. Naismith became famous for creating the game of basketball. For his historic and brilliant invention, Dr. James Naismith (whose name adorns the Basketball Hall of Fame) will be forever synonymous with the game of basketball.
To learn more about the life of this amazing man, please visit our James Naismith Biography page.
From these humble and simple beginnings, the game of basketball has evolved into an absolutely INCREDIBLE sport. One that’s fun to play, coach and watch! The history of basketball has many notable and memorable events that have occurred over the past 115 years.
I have compiled a basketball time line which details the most memorable basketball events in the history of the game. Did you know that in 1921 the spelling of basket ball was changed to the modern version of basketball? No? Well, did you know that the foul lane was widened from six feet to twelve feet in 1952? No??
Well then…you better check out our Basketball Time Line to learn more about these and other notable events.
I hope you find this information on the History of Basketball to be both educational and fun. Learning all you can about this great game will help you become a much better player, coach or fan!
Enjoy and best of luck!