Let’s Bounce Into Basketball’s Past

history of basketball

The history of basketball is pretty incredible. It’s gone from a DIY idea in some Massachusetts school to a multi-billion dollar sensation around the world.

Come with us as we look at some key points in the sport’s amazing past.

Thank you Dr James Naismith for kick-starting the history of basketball

Ever heard of Dr James Naismith? Well if you’re a basketball fan, you have a lot to thank him for.

This man invented basketball. The story goes that in December 1891, Naismith was working as a physical education instructor in the YMCA International Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts.

His boss asked him to come up with an indoor game to keep his students in shape during the winter. And boy did he rise to the challenge.

He got a could of beach baskets and a soccer ball. He nailed the baskets to the gym balcony and wrote 13 rules for the game. There were nine players on each team and, by all accounts, they loved it.

There was one issue though. Every time a point was score, the janitor had to come over to get the ball out of the basket. Eventually, they cut the bottom out of the basket so his job was a little easier.

On 11 March 1892, the world’s first public basketball game took place in Springfield.

What should it be called?

Naismith’s name almost became legend in the history of basketball. When it came to naming the game, some people thought it should be called Naismith Game after its creator. But instead they picked the more practical Basketball.

Metal hoops and Spalding balls enter the history of basketball

By 1894, Naismith realised the soccer ball they were using really wasn’t fit for purpose. So he contracted Spalding to make the first ever dedicated basketballs.

And in 1906, they introduced metal hoops and backboards. These two innovations in the history of basketball made the game a little more familiar to what we now today.

It’s fun to play at the YMCA

The history of basketball started in a YMCA training school and the organization was instrumental in spreading it far and wide. In the late 1800s, the YMCA held basketball matches in France, China, India, Japan and Persia.

And during the First World War, the YMCA went with the troops and played basketball with them too.

History of basketball gets organized

As the popularity of basketball grew and grew, it soon became clear that this was even bigger than the YMCA.

There were moves made to professionalize the sport. In 1898, the National Basketball League was formed as the first professional league. Six teams took part in the competition, with the Trenton Nationals winning the first title.

Although it only lasted until 1904, this is an important part of the history of basketball. A number of leagues followed, including the Eastern Basket Ball League, the Metropolitan Basketball League and the American Basketball League.

Make way for the NBA

Today’s basketball fans are all over the NBA. Originally called the Basketball Association of America, they were founded in 1946. And then the National Basketball Association name change happened in 1949 after a merger with the National Basketball League.

Almost as soon as it started, the NBA was the most important basketball league in the world. And that’s by almost any metric you can think of, from popularity to salaries.

The NBA is home to some of the biggest teams in the history of basketball, including the Chicago Bulls and the Lakers. And the action on the courts is still as hot as ever.

If you want to place bets on the NBA, one of our favorite places to do that is bet365. They’ve got a great range of basketball markets and cool features like parlays and bet boosts. Plus new customers can use this bet365 bonus code.

And if you’re based outside the USA, this guide to North American sports might interest you…

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