Basketball is one of the most entertaining, popular, and lucrative sports in the world. Played across many different countries, the fast-paced game is a highlight for many people. The National Basketball Association league is the most followed basketball league in the world, and also ranks as the most popular competitive leagues in world sport.
There have been all kinds of stars to come out of the NBA and become big names in other arenas. Players like Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jordan (the first global sports star) helped to elevate the game of basketball and bring it to a global audience. But, the game had much more humble beginnings, as we’re going to see when we explore the history behind the game of basketball.
Inventing the game
The game of basketball was invented in 1891 by a Canadian named James Naismith. He was working as a teacher at the YMCA training school in Springfield when he came up with an indoor game that would keep trainees active during the winter. Deciding to create a game based on skill, and inspired by his youth spent playing Duck on a Rock, Naismith enlisted his wife’s help and came up with the game we now know and love as basketball.
The early style of play
As you might imagine, the early way of playing basketball differed somewhat from the current style of play. In fact, it started off with just two peach baskets and a soccer ball, with the idea being to throw or bat your soccer ball into the oppositions basket while defending your own. The original game contained teams of 9 players, because Naismith’s class contained 18 people, and, as you might imagine, getting the ball back once a team scored was a nightmare!
The first ever game
Of course, basketball was only created so that Naismith could teach it to his class, and help keep them fit over the winter period. But, as you might imagine, the game caught on and wound up being incredibly popular. But, the first ever game was played on 21st December 1891, at the YMCA training school, after Naismith had posted the first-ever set of rules, which he titled ‘13 Rules of Basketball.’ Clearly, the game has come a long way since then, and we can guarantee there are more than 13 rules now.
Formation of the NBA
The NBA was actually formed pretty recently comparatively; formed in New York City in June 1946. The league currently consists of 30 teams – 29 from the United States, and 1 from Naismith’s native Canada. The league was formed by the merger of the Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball League. Players in the NBA are the highest-paid athletes in the world, accounting for average annual salary per player. The sport has certainly come a long way since the YMCA gymnasium all those years ago.
Now you know a little more about basketball, you can impress your friends who watch it with your scope of knowledge. And, any time they give Canada a ribbing, you can point out that a Canadian invented the sport! Basketball is one of the world’s best sports and is only going to grow in popularity over the next decade.