Basketball: How the Game Started

It all started with a child’s game that the inventor, Dr. James Naismith used to play outside his schoolhouse when he was younger. This game was called duck-on-a-rock, it aimed to knock the duck off the rock by tossing another rock against it.

This then gave Dr. Naismith a concept of a game which he introduced to the students of YMCA Training School in 1891. Due to the cold weather, the trainees of the School for Christian Workers needed a game that could be played indoors and one that wouldn’t use much strength. He then conceptualized a ball game that uses two baskets as goals with both teams competing for the most number of shots.

Apart from the game itself, he also outlined the first 13 rules on playing the game which covers the guidelines, distinction of violations and fouls, and the roles of both umpires and referees, including the duration of each game.

Thus, these events led to the actual birth of the game in December 21, 1881 when it was first played after Dr. Luther Gulick, the head of physical education at the YMCA, gave a two-week allowance for his employee to create a new game.

While the game would be developed in the following years, the students of the YMCA Training School loved it initially. It was even said that Dr. Naismith had a difficult time convincing his students to leave the game after each session.

The game went on to be played in the Olympics in Berlin, Germany where the USA Team beat the Canadian team with a score of 19-8. At this time, there were 22 nations that joined the competition. By 1976, Women’s Basketball was introduced into the Olympics. 

On August 3, 1949 in New York City, the National Basketball Association was formed. But prior to that were the creations of National Basketball League (NBL) in 1937 and Basketball Association of America (BAA) in 1946. The NBA now serves as the largest group in the history of basketball. There are only two leagues left which retained their names since the formation of NBA, the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics.

The first women’s collegiate basketball was splayed on April 4, 1896 in San Francisco’s Page Street Armory where Cal and Stanford met. Unlike the physical and strenuous game we now see in WNBA, the women basketball teams back in 1896 retained their ladylike approach in the game and rules were even modified to accommodate this natural tendency. Stanford then won with a 2-1 score against Cal team.

These events led to the popularity of basketball in our time.