With the first four weeks of the season already cancelled and some players having signed contracts outside of the US, the fourth lockout the NBA has experienced is going to take a toll on the season and its fans this year. With that in mind, I wanted to give you some interesting facts about the origin of this sport so many of us love and are missing this year.
Basketball was invented by James Naismith, a physical education teacher at what is now called Springfield College in 1891 when his department chairman, Luther Gulik asked him to find something for the school athletes to do during the winter months
Did you know that basketball, then two words, Basket Ball, was originally played with a soccer ball and two peach baskets? It certainly was and had the school janitor been able to find the boxes that Naismith originally asked him for, there is no telling what shape the basketball hoop would be today or what the game might even be called.
In the early days, somebody was appointed to stand by with a ladder and climb up to fetch the ball out of the peach basket so that play could be continued. The peach basket soon gave way to a metal rim with a closed net and it wasn’t until 1906 that the net was cut giving us the basketball hoop that we know of today.
The original basketball was made of a rubber inside surrounded by panels of leather sewn together. It wasn’t until 1942 that the first molded basketball was introduced, making a huge improvement in the sport. With the ball now a consistent size, shape and weight, play became more consistent as did the ability to develop advanced skills for playing.
But, even today, with regulation hoops and balls readily available, you can still find kids playing pick-up basketball games with all sorts of novel combinations for basket and ball. Some with the hoop set just right so that even the littlest player still has a chance to make a goal.
What did you use for a hoop and ball for your first at home basketball game?