Basketball

10 basketball history facts you never knew

10 basketball history facts
10 basketball history facts. Photo/Latestly
  • James Naismith, born in 1861 introduced basketball as an indoor sport during winter
  • Dribbling wasn’t allowed until later in the sport
  • Players used soccer balls at first before the invention of basketball

While looking at 10 basketball history facts, all the honour goes to James Naismith, a Canadian-American behind the invention of the sport.

Born in 1861 and died in 1939, Naismith left the world something precious in the name of basketball. He was a physical education teacher, physician, and sports coach. He the game of basketball and established the University of Kansas basketball program after relocating to the United States.

As the astute scholar that he was, he wrote the first basketball rule book. His life was marked by basketball’s inclusion in the Summer Olympic Games of 1904 and 1936. He saw the game charge up people after the establishment of the National Invitation Tournament in 1938.

That said, here are 10 basketball history facts.

1. INVENTED IN THE 19TH CENTURY

10 basketball history facts

Basketball history facts. Photo/History.com

December 21, 1891, was the date that a physical education teacher invented basketball. Game creator James Naismith was a YMCA International Training School employee in Massachusetts.

As a winter sport for his student-athletes, Naismith came up with a means to keep them moving indoors. His goal was to design a game that the pupils would like playing.

2. USE OF SOCCER BALLS

Among the interesting 10 basketball history facts is that basketball was played with soccer balls in the beginning.  Peach baskets served as the goalposts for the soccer balls. Afterwards, the game’s referee retrieved the balls.

Baskets with apertures at the bottom came in the early 1900s. The referee had to retrieve the ball from the net after every score.

3. NO DRIBBLING

Basketball didn’t have dribbling until the introduction of soccer balls. Players were not permitted to dribble until the early 1920s.

4. THE GAME HAD NO NAME WHEN STARTING

At the time of its inception, the sport did not have a name because it was still in its infancy. It didn’t take long, though, for the sport to become known as it is today.

For a while after the holidays, Naismith athletes pondered naming their sport after its founder, Dr. Naismith. But Naismith wanted a more straightforward name.

He reasoned that if a ball had to be put into a basket, then ‘basketball’ was the obvious choice to name the sport.

5. PLAYERS FACED OFF IN A CAGE IN RESOLVING DISPUTES

Early in basketball history, players would get physical during games. As a result, participants tripped and fell on the game’s audience. Players would face off in a cage to settle disputes to avoid injuring the fans.

However, this adjustment caused other issues. There was an increase in the number of injuries to players in the cages.

6. SLAM DUNK CAME IN 1940

10 basketball history facts

10 basketball history facts. Slum Dunk. PHoto/SBNAtion

The history of the slam dunk is another interesting basketball tidbit you never knew. Robert Kurland was the first person to ever pull off the feat in the 1940s while playing basketball.

You must jump over the net’s rim and drive the ball into the hoop with one or both hands to successfully execute this move.

7. FIRST OFFICIAL MATCH WAS IN 1892

Although Naismith’s students initially played the new game for fun, the first official match was on January 20, 1892. It went down in Albany, New York.

The first basketball game saw nine players take the court. They played on a court that was about half the size of today’s basketball courts. Only one point was scored by these initial players at the end of the game.

Further, there were only two female basketball players playing on an all-male team. During the 1969 NBA draft, Denise Long became the league’s first female player. The San Francisco Warriors signed her as a free agent after her rookie season.

In 1977, Luisa Harris became the first woman to be drafted into the NBA.

8. BASKETBALL TEAMS HAD MORE PLAYERS

Of the 10 basketball history facts is that teams had as many as 50 players. There were, on average, nine players on each team at the time.

It wasn’t until 1897 that the five-player restriction became part of the game’s rules.

9. BASKETBALL’S ORIGINAL TYPED RULES SOLD AT AN AUCTION

Since its inception in the late 1800s, basketball took many changes. At its inception, James Naismith’s game had just 13 rules. He typed them all out himself but his granddaughter uncovered these records in the 2000s.

The documents fetched almost $4 million at an auction.

10. OLYMPIC BASKETBALL BECAME A REALITY IN 1930S

The last of the 10 basketball history facts is that the game became an Olympic sport at the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics. It was very popular at the time.

Naismith, made it to the game and handed out medals to winners. He then died three years later.

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