Have you ever thought about what some of your favorite sports used to be like? The game of basketball has significantly changed in ways that you may think is practically impossible. It makes me wonder, how differently did people play this extremely popular game back then, compared to now? My job is going to be to answer any questions or interests that you would like to learn about. Once I am finished, you should have a brief understanding on the differences between basketball of the past and present. Are you ready to be amazed?
What many people do not know about basketball is that only one person had created it all. That one person was a man named James Naismith, born in Almonte, Ontario, Canada. As a gym teacher at the YMCA International Training Center, in Springfield, Massachusetts, Naismith had to come up with a way to prevent kids from being bored during winter classes. Naismith designed the game of basketball on December 15, 1891, using thirteen rules. Out of these thirteen, twelve of them are still in use today. (If you would like to see the original thirteen rules, click here) These were challenging rules to make and it was indeed, a tough task for Naismith, but he prevailed. He designed a game that eventually, was played all over the world, but what was used to play the sport?
Equipment was probably one of the toughest things for Naismith to handle because he was only able to use what he had, which was peach baskets and a soccer ball! Therefore, the first game of basketball was played with these two materials, having there be one peach basket on each end of the gymnasium and players trying to score a goal by throwing the soccer ball into the designated basket. In 1895, the backboard was established so that fans were prevented from playing and also, to make the shots easier for players. In earlier basketball, players were not as safe because the knee pads, ankle braces, elbow pads, and supportive sneakers were not introduced yet. Knee pads may have been used, however, they are not nearly as supportive as they are now. Today, players are still having injuries, even with the amazing equipment given. Just imagine what it was like for players back then. What exactly made this sport as popular as it is today?
There had to be some club or organization that had to expand from time to time to get basketball to where it is today. In 1898, the first professional basketball league, the National Basketball League, was formed in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. However, this was no match for the first major professional basketball league, the American Basketball League (ABL). The ABL was the first league to sign players to contracts and its teams include most of the major cities in the country. In 1931, the ABL had been taken away. In 1939, the National Basketball League was brought. In 1946, the name had changed to the National Basketball Association of America (NBA). An intense battle came in 1967 when a rival of the NBA, the American Basketball Association (ABA) was formed, which included some of the greatest players in the history of basketball such as, Julius Erving, George Gervin, and Moses Malone. However, the NBA just expanded their teams by using the ABA’s teams that were left, which were the Denver Nuggets, San Antonio Spurs, New York Nets, and the Indiana Pacers. Thus, keeping the final name of professional basketball, the National Basketball Association (NBA). The NBA has been trending its popularity ever since it was made and is one of the reasons why basketball is one of the greatest sports we have today.
You now understand the enormous difference in how people played the game back then and how it was originally created. Today, we support James Naismith and thank him for giving the popular sport that many people across the world play each and every day. Naismith taught a lesson that little ideas can be easily transformed into good ideas. The equipment we use today are so helpful; if they were not upgraded with these stronger equipment tools, numbers of basketball players can injure themselves a lot more than they do today. Back then, there must have been some serious injuries. Once basketball was played throughout the nation due to the dynamic creation of the NBA, people are inspired to play the game more and become better at the game each and every day by watching and learning from the pros. Basketball has changed over time more than any other sport in the world. The game has truly evolved.