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History of Basketball in the USA

Basketball, like baseball, is an American invention which has its very first roots in the United States itself, and has, since then, become widely popular worldwide as an international sport. Many sports are hard to trace, like football, boxing, baseball, and others. As a sport develops it goes through many stages and often times they are undocumented and begin at a very early point in history. Fortunately we can trace the birth of basketball in a much more precise and exact manner than with the history and establishment of quite a few other sports.

The father of basketball was a Canadian man named James Naismith. In December of the year 1891 the sport made its very first entrance into the world in Springfield Massachusetts. Naismith was 30 years old and he was an instructor at the local YMCA training school. He was given two weeks to come up with a sport which could be played inside during the winter. He developed the concept of basketball as something of an alternative to football and other sports, after going through many other options. His objective was to make something less injury-prone than other harsher sports, but also to condition youthful athletes while out in the cold. Other sports, like football and lacrosse, all failed to be good options as indoor sports—at least, at the time, of course they can be played indoors now—and eventually he came up with basketball which would result in fewer broken windows. Rather than strength, basketball hinges more on skill, at least that was how Naismith envisioned it.

James Naismith almost did not meet his two-week deadline. On the evening before his time was up his thoughts began to turn towards the creation of basketball and he established the original thirteen rules which made up the sport at the time, many of which are recognizable even today. These rules have been recorded in Alexander Wolff’s book Sports Illustrated 100 Years of Hoops: A Fond Look Back at the Sport of Basketball.

The very first historical game of basketball was on December 21st, 1891. The game was quite nearly called “Naismith Game” but the title was changed to basketball since it involves both a basket and a ball. It took about two decades before backboards, nets, and metal hoops were introduced into the game.

Initially the YMCA was one of the biggest influences which spread the popularity and concept of the game throughout the country. In fact, the YMCA was even responsible for bringing basketball to various places around the globe. The first basketball match which took place in Europe was in the year 1893 and it was arranged by Mel Rideout; meanwhile basketball matches were also introduced to Persia, India, Japan, and China. During the first World War the American Expeditionary Force was largely responsible for getting the game around to people.

In 1898 the first professional basketball league was founded, called the National Basketball League, consisting of six teams. Sadly the league was neglected a short time later in 1904. After this, basketball players competed against one another by means of organized championships. Some of these championships ranked as more important than others, especially those which involved payment. Also of considerable note are the Original Celtics, a basketball team who were called “World’s Basketball Champions” and thought of as the “fathers of basketball.” It is often thought that the present team, the Boston Celtics, spring from the Original Celtics, but this isn’t the case. Many years passed from the time when the Original Celtics dispersed and the Boston Celtics rose up. It is possible that the Boston Celtics were inspired by the Original Celtics, however. The first all-African American professional team were called the Rens, Harlem Renaissance, or New York Renaissance. They were founded in 1922.

Basketball made considerable headway in American colleges throughout the period of its early growth and development. February 9th, 1895 marks the very first recorded game between two college teams. As a matter of fact college basketball actually became even more popular than professional basketball matches. This was primarily due to poor organization on the end of the professional teams which college basketball seemed to have in its favor. Pro basketball teams at this time were referred to as “barnstormers” as they would compete against local teams for payment. For almost 50 years things went on much like this.

Even though the game was not doing as well professionally as it was in the colleges basketball was still very much alive in people’s thoughts and interests. In fact it was among the Ivy League schools that a number of basketball teams were formed and thrived, such as in Princeton, Yale, Cornell, and Harvard. A lot of terms and techniques were even founded in college basketball. The idea of a national college basketball championship was brought to attention on by a group of sports writers in 1938. The National Invitation tournament was formed, where six teams were brought to play against one another. In time the NIT grew in size and it is still in existence even today.

NIT’s eventual popularity and success paved the way for the National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA. The NCAA appeared on the scene only a year after NIT had come along, in 1939. The very first championship tourney resulted in Oregon beating Ohio in a match that was 46-33. The NCAA grew over time in the same fashion as did NIT.

On June 9th, 1946, the Basketball Association of America was formed in New York City. A few years later, in 1949, the BBA merged with their rival the National Basketball League, in turn forming the National Basketball Association, or the NBA. Of course, the NBA has become the most noteworthy basketball league in this current century. A lot of success which the NBA first attracted is largely attributed to a legend named George Mikan. Mikan was 6’10” and he was an outstanding basketball player who conquered the game. Just hop over here to find several great ways to watch basketball and other sports on your television, computer, tablet or phone.