From Peach Baskets to a Powerhouse Sport: The History of the Sport of Basketball

Basketball is considered to be one of the most popular sports in the world. Although the United States is known for its love of the sport, it has taken over a variety of different countries and continents too. Although it hasn’t quite taken over national sports in different countries, it always remains as some leader or the other in favorite sports.

Basketball started with very humble beginnings in the Massachusetts. A man by the name of James Naismith was at that time, an instructor at the YMCA. Naismith taught physical education and reported to a man named Dr. Luther Halsey Gulick. Dr. Gulick was the director of the school and asked Naismith to create some sort of game that could be held indoors during the harsh winters. Although this was one important push for Naismith, he had actually already been considering starting up a game on his own. He wanted the game to also be played indoors and wanted it to have the characteristics of a lot of the then famous sports such as football as well as hockey.

In order to come up with the new sport, Naismith studied not just the popular games but also considered a number of games he had read about. Some of the games he considered were played in parts of the world which were actually quite far from the United States, such as New Zealand and Mexico. What he came up with was a relatively simple game that could be played with nine players. Peach baskets were attached to either end of the railings of the school gym. The goal was to get a soccer ball into the baskets. He devised 13 standard rules for the game, some of which are still maintained today.

The new game was a hit and was played by a wide variety of athletes. The major turning point in spreading the sport however was the U.S army. As the sport became more famous within the United States, military men ended up playing the game more and more. As they got shipped out to different locations and the First World War started, the sport was spread to wherever the soldiers went, thus becoming a worldwide sport and no longer just an American one.

The National Basketball League was the first major league for the sport of basketball. It was formed in 1898 and was mainly started in order to ensure that rules and standards were kept. It was also set up to ensure that the game still had a measure of etiquette and the rough play of the times were kept in check. In 1946 another professional league was created called the Basketball Association of America. The two leagues realized that in order to make the sport bugger, they had to go bigger. That’s why in 1949 the two merged to form what is now known as the NBA.

Basketball started out as a simple sport but is now among the most widely played sports in the world and is even a part of the summer Olympics. From a small gym to millions of fans and huge arenas, basketball is indeed one of the biggest sporting forces in the world.