The Fascinating History of Basketball

It was the year 1891, on a cold December day, that basketball came into existence. This immensely popular game was invented by James Naismith, a physical education teacher at a YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. He created this game for his students.

His pupils loved to play soccer and football, but with winter coming it just was not feasible to play any outdoor sports. Since he wanted all of them to stay in good health and continue to get the exercise they needed, he came up with an indoor game that would keep them moving. His idea led him to hang two peach baskets from balconies at opposite sides of the gym and grab a soccer ball. With that, basketball was born!

Nine players were put on each team, since the total class size was eighteen students. Once the soccer ball hit the gymnasium floor, the game began. The ball was bounced and passed between all the players until one student got the soccer ball into one of the peach baskets. This was the first three points ever made in a basketball game!

Now, this original game did not come without its problems. The most serious was the fact that someone had to climb a ladder every time a basket was made to retrieve the ball. This was an easy problem to solve once they thought about it for a bit: they cut holes in the bottom of the peach baskets! Now the ball could fall through and play could continue without the long pause. Occasionally, the peach baskets were replaced with backboards and a metal hoop.

Basketball now began spreading. It started being played in high schools and colleges. Various rules and limits were created for the game so that teams would not be too big, since at one point a university sent over 100 students out to play at once! With organized play and teams, basketball really took off as a serious sport.

In 1949, basketball went pro with the creation of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Although it only had eight teams to start, this association has grown to include thirty teams and millions of fans. For a brief period there was also the American Basketball Association (ABA). Created in 1967, the ABA folded after less than nine years due to financial problems.

So, as you can see, the popular sport of basketball had a very humble beginning. James Naismith, now dubbed the "Father of Basketball", simply created a game that his students could play out of the cold. Nowadays basketball is one of the most widely played ball game drawing in a broad range of audience and players.

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