The History Of Basketball At The YMCA

The history of basketball began with its invention in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts by Canadian physical education instructor James Naismith. It was introduced as a sport less prone to injury than football. Naismith, was a 31-year-old graduate student when he created indoor sport to keep athletes exercising indoors during the winters. The game was established fairly and quickly, and by the 20th century, it became popular. 

Basketball firstly progressed in the United States and then in other parts of the world. After basketball established itself in American colleges and universities, it was adopted as a professional game. In 1946, American National Basketball Association was established which later on became a multi-million-dollar business. On the other hand, basketball became an integral part of American culture. 

Early History

Basketball as it is known today was created by Dr. James Naismith in December 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts. It was to keep the young athletes indoors during the winter. He was a physical education instructor at YMCA International Training School, also known as Springfield College. At the request of his boss, Naismith was commissioned to create an indoor sports game to help athletes stay in shape during the cold weather. 

The game consisted of fishing baskets and a soccer ball. Naismith posted 13 rules for the new game. He divided the class of eighteen into two teams of nine players each and set out to teach them the basics of the new game. The objective of the game was to throw the basketball into the fruit baskets that were nailed to the lower balcony of the gym. 

Whenever a point was scored, the gameplay was stopped so that the janitor could pull out a ladder and retrieve the ball. After some time, the bottoms of the peach or fruit baskets were withdrawn. As a result, the gameplay was not stopped to retrieve the ball. The first public basketball game was played on March 11, 1892, in Springfield, Massachusetts. 

Original Rules by Naismith

Original Rules by Naismith

There were only thirteen rules of basketball by James Naismith

  1. The ball can be thrown in any direction with one or both hands. 
  2. The ball can be hit in any direction with one or both hands. 
  3. A player cannot run with the ball. They must throw it from where they catch it. It must be taken into account for a player who catches the ball while running at a good speed. 
  4. The ball must be held in or between the hands but the arms or the body cannot be used to hold it.
  5. Supporting, pushing, holding, hitting, or tripping an opponent’s person in any way is prohibited. The first violation as of the rule by any player will count as a foul. The second will disqualify the player until the next basket is scored. If it appears that it was intentionally done to injure the person, the player will be disqualified throughout the match and no substitute can enter the game. 
  6. A foul is hitting the ball with the fist. It violates rules 3, 4, and 5, as above-mentioned. 
  7. If either team commits three consecutive fouls, the score of one basket or goal will be given to the opponent team. 
  8. A goal will be scored when the ball is thrown or struck from the ground in the basket and remains there. If the ball lies on the edge and the opponent moves the basket, it will be considered a goal. 
  9. When the ball goes out of bounds, it will be thrown onto the and played by the first player to touch it. In the event of a dispute, the referee will throw the ball directly onto the field. The pitcher is having five seconds to do so. If you hold it longer, the ball will be given to the opponent. If a team persists in delaying the play, the referee will penalize them for a foul. 
  10. The umpire will be the male judge, take note of the fouls and notify the referee when three consecutive fouls are committed. 
  11. The referee will be the judge of the ball. He will decide when the ball is in play, to which side it belongs, and the inbounds. Also, he will keep the time of it. He decides that when the goal has been scored and counts the score along with any other role played by the referee. 
  12. The time will be fifteen minutes with five-minute breaks in between. 
  13. The team that scores the most goals during the game period will be declared the winner. If the game is a tie, the game may be continued until another goal or basket is scored. It is done with the captains’ agreement

Interesting Facts About James Naismith and Basketball

  • The name of basketball was originally two words such as Basket Ball. 
  • Naismith was not a US citizen when he invented the game. Until 1925, he did not obtain US citizenship. It was some 14 years before his death. 
  • Some people refer to Naismith as the first person to develop the football helmet. 
  • The first basketball used to play the game was not a basketball but a soccer ball. 
  • Naismith founded a basketball program at the University of Kansas.
  • He got his medical degree after leaving Springfield.
  • The tallest basketball player to ever play the game is Sun Mingming. He is 7ft 9in tall. 
  • The smallest basketball player in the history of basketball is Muggsy Bogues. He is 5ft 3in. 
  • The oldest continuously operating team in the NBA is Sacramento Kings.
  • The first official rules of basketball were published in January 1892. In this year, YMCA Trenton, New Jersey formed a basketball team and claimed the national champions in 1896. 
  • The first registered women’s basketball team played the game in 1894. In the team, Naismith’s wife was one of the players. 
  • The first professional basketball league was founded in 1898.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Olympic track star Jesse Owens and baseball legend Jackie Robinson played on the YMCA basketball courts throughout their lives. 

YMCA, US Army Spread Development

YMCA, US Army Spread Development

The YMCA has played an important role in spreading basketball in the United States, Canada, and around the world. In 1893, Mel Rideout organized the first European festival in Paris, in Montmartre. At the same time, Bob Gailey went to Tientsin, China, Duncan Patton to India, C. Hareek in Persia, and Genzabaro Ishikawa in Japan.

In 1914, World War I broke out and in 1917; the United States Army began fighting in Europe. During World War I, the American Expeditionary Force took basketball everywhere. Along with the troop, there were hundreds of physical education teachers who knew how to play basketball. During this time, Naismith spent two years with YMCA in France. 

Basketball – History At The YMCA

The history of basketball dates back to 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts. It was started by a Canadian physical education instructor named James Naismith. He was commissioned to bring up a game that was less prone to injury than football. The purpose of this game was to keep the athletes in shape during the winter season. This indoor game was the best way of exercise while it was cold outside. 

If James Naismith was alive today, he would be happy to know that how much it has grown over the period and simple in rules and gameplay. All the credit goes to his imagination that now it is played on an international and national level.