Tuesday, December 29, 2009

History of Basketball


I just finished reading a blog entitled, "Don't know much about history" written by Joanne Jacobs. She is also the author of a book called, Our School.

In honor of Joanne's blog, I'll write about the history of basketball. Do you think that's what she had in mind?

Basketball was invented in 1891 by physical education teacher James Naismith at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts. The assignment "to invent a new game" was issued by his boss, Dr. Luther Gulick, head of physical education at Springfield College. He generously gave Naismith 14 days to create a game to keep rowdy students occupied and fit during the harsh New England winter. What he wanted was a good game that could be played indoors and would give the boys a great workout as well.

In the beginning, basketball had only 13 rules. (Perhaps he invented a rule a day and rested on the last day.) The game was played in a gym and 9 players from each team endeavored to shoot a soccer ball into peach baskets hung up on two opposite ends of the gym. Ten years later a hole was cut in the bottom of the peach basket so that a player wouldn't have to fetch the ball from the basket after a player scored. Clearly there were no Michael Jordans or Kobe Bryants back then.

For a great historical overview of the history of basketball see the Cactus News Online article, History of Basketball.