In the late 1800s, the much-loved sport of basketball was born when a recent college graduate took on the challenge of inventing a team-based game that could be played outdoors as well as indoors under artificial light. It may not necessarily closely resemble the sport we have come to know and love today but it points to its rich history and, perhaps most importantly, its journey to becoming one of the most popular and widely consumed sports in the world. If you are a life-long basketball fan, continue reading to familiarise yourself with the ways in which it has evolved over the years.
The size of the team
In its early years, there were no universal rules and regulations regarding how small or large basketball teams must be. It was, after all, a sport that was initially designed to be played by anyone and everyone. In the following years, a number of trials took place that experimented with teams of as many as 50 players and as little as nine players with 18 students originally turning up to the class within which it was invented. In 1897, however, as the sport was gaining traction across the country, teams of five players became the norm. It was also decided that players were not to be allowed to re-enter the game if they had been previously removed for whatever reason, but this decision was eventually reversed in 1920. It was 1945, however, as the sport was attracting the attention of sports fans throughout the world, when players were finally able to re-enter the game as many times as was necessary.
The rise of online sports betting
In the past decade, the sporting industry has been given a digital overhaul with online sports betting now an increasingly popular pastime for sports fans all over the globe. It may have materialised offline in in-person sportsbooks but with some of the newest sites in the online casino world also offering sports betting, it quickly took off. It may also surprise you to know that some of the newest sites allow you to not only bet on basketball games but a wide range of sports including football, tennis, rugby, cricket, boxing, and horse racing so you can keep up to date with your favourite players and boost your winnings at the same time. The rise of online sports betting has also led to the sport achieving greater accessibility and flexibility across the globe as fans benefit from engaging with their favourite sport in more ways than ever before.
The look of the basket
If you are a recent basketball fan, you may be surprised to learn that the sport was originally played with peach baskets or, essentially, 18-inch square boxes that were commonly hung from the balconies of the running tracks of the vast majority of indoor facilities at the time. This did, however, tend to delay progress as baskets had to be emptied and the ball retrieved after every goal by someone already standing on the running track or with a ladder. They were also usually hung at a height of around 10 feet, and this is one of the few rules that still stand today during both amateur and professional games. It was 1892 when they were replaced by woven wire rims and 1893 when they were once again replaced with cast iron rims. In what continues to be one of the most prolific milestones within the wider sport of basketball, open-ended nylon nets were approved for widespread use in 1912 and eliminated the need to retrieve the ball. It also led to a freer-flowing game from start to finish with greater speed, rhythm, and, perhaps most importantly, opportunity to score for players.
The design of the ball
If you have ever played basketball, you may be familiar with its familiar orange and white colourway and design. It may, therefore, surprise you to know that the first basketball games were played with soccer balls. It quickly became apparent, however, that they were unsuitable for dribbling and general ball handling and, in 1894, were replaced with the basketballs we are familiar with today. In 1905, it was decided that individual teams would determine which basketballs they want to play with. In the years that followed, a number of changes were subsequently made to ensure they were fit for purpose including making them larger, lighter, and generally easier to handle, with men’s basketballs today measuring 30 inches in circumference and women’s measuring 29 inches.
The way points are scored
In addition to the size of the team, the rise of sports betting, the look of the basket, and the design of the ball, the way points are scored has also drastically evolved over the years. In its early years, a point was awarded to a team for a goal or three consecutive fouls on their opponent. In 1894, free throws were first introduced with both made field goals and made free throws counted as a single goal. In 1896, a number of changes were introduced and, as a result, a made field goal was now worth two points as opposed to one. It was 1961, however, when the three-point shoot was invented, 1967 when it was introduced to the international basketball scene by International Basketball Federation and 1977 and 1980 when it was eventually adopted by the National Basketball Association and National Collegiate Athletic Association respectively.
In the years since basketball was first invented in the late 1800s, it has undergone a number of dramatic changes to become one of the world’s most popular and widely consumed sports. It has also rapidly grown and developed during this time to cater to a growing number of sports fans spanning several eras. It is the size of the team, the rise of online sports betting, the look of the basket, the design of the ball, and the way points are scored, however, that have had the greatest impact on the ways in which the sport is perceived worldwide.