The history of basketball and all the facts about the origin of the game

The history of basketball and all the facts about the origin of the game

Kevin Omuya
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:12 PM

Basketball is among the lucrative sports in the world right now. It has passed the test and is widespread in almost every country but mostly embraced in America. Basketball icons like Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant are examples of the sport's legitimacy. This article provides the history of basketball and all the facts about the game's origin.

History of basketball
Basketball ball going through hoop and close-up (blurred motion)- Fotografa de stock. Photo: Jensen Tug
Source: Getty Images

The new game went from being a regional pastime to a national phenomenon in just a few decades. Following the sport's international success, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) was established in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1932.

History of basketball

James Naismith created basketball in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts. The new game took the United States by storm within a few decades, becoming a widely played indoor sport across the country. Since its success in other countries, the game eventually spawned the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) in 1932.

Who invented the game of basketball?

James Naismith. He was a second-year graduate student and new physical education teacher at the International Young Men's Christian Association Training School.

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Which country invented basketball?

It is the only major sport created entirely in the United States. It was developed at the now-called Springfield College in Massachusetts.

The sport is well-liked everywhere but more so in some places. In sports, America is the most well-liked nation.

How did basketball be invented?

How did basketball be invented?
Euroleague, Alba Berlin - FC Bayern Munich, main round, 2nd matchday, Mercedes-Benz Arena. Photo: Andreas Gora
Source: Getty Images

The Canadian 30-year-old combined his knowledge of rugby, lacrosse, and the tag-and-toss game he played as a kid to invent an entirely new sport. Naismith first performed his skills demonstration on December 21, 1891, when he picked up a soccer ball from the gym floor and started playing without any other equipment.

When was basketball created?

It was invented on December 21, 1891. Eighteen student players first played it.

Who was the first person to play basketball?

He is James Naismith. He was a grad student when he came up with the idea for the game.

Facts on the basketball game

Dating all the way back to 1891, basketball has a rich history despite having undergone many regulation changes since its inception. Below are some of the fascinating facts you may not have known.

When was basketball created?
Artyom Komolov of CSKA Moscow in action during the Kondrashin and Belov Cup final match on September 18, 2022, at Yubileyny Sports Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Photo: Mike Kireev
Source: Getty Images
  • Two teams of five players face off against one another on a rectangular court.
  • Each team's goal consists of a vertical pole with a hoop at the top and a net below it. The game aims to score baskets by shooting towards and going through the other team's ring without letting them achieve yours.
  • While games on the court might be held anywhere, indoor venues are far more common.
  • In most games, a goal is worth two points, but if it is scored from beyond the arc, it is worth three.
  • Play stops when a player is fouled, and they get one, two, or three free throws for each point. The winner is determined by which team has the most points after regulation, and overtime play is necessary for the event of a tie.
  • Each team has five players, and those players are divided into five different play positions. Most teams set their tallest player at the centre, their second-tallest and most robust player at power forward, their third-smallest and most nimble player at little striker, and their shortest and best ball wrestler at the shooter. The point guard is responsible for carrying out the offensive and defensive strategies established by the head coach.
  • Typically, a ball will have ribs on its surface. For example, the well-known orange ball with eight black panels features ribs designated in colour different from the rest of the ball.

Facts on the origin of basketball

An enthusiast, you are likely unaware of many additional aspects of the sport's history. In this primer, we will talk about some of the fascinating past moments in the game.

1. Basketball was invented in the late 1800s

When was basketball created?
The first team consisted of nine players and their coach on the steps of the Springfield College Gymnasium in 1891. Photo: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Naismith developed basketball as a solution to keep his student-athletes busy during the colder months. He intended to make a game that would be fun for the class.

2. Players started out using soccer balls

Before the invention of the basketball, soccer balls were used. Soccer balls were thrown into peach baskets for this game. The game's official had to go and get the balls back.

Eventually, backboards were installed on the baskets. Presente present-daytime uses this configuration. However, since soccer balls were first used, dribbling was not a part of the game at the outset. It was not until the 1920s that dribbles were developed.

3. The slam dunk was created in the 1940s

Which country invented basketball?
Ivan Almeida of SL Benfica controls the ball during the Champions League Qualifiers match between SL Benfica vs Brose Bamberg on September 25, 2022, in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo: Joao Rico
Source: Getty Images

The origins of the slam dunk are just one of many exciting tidbits that many fans are unaware of. Jumping above the rim of the net and pushing the ball into the hoop with one or both hands is an advanced manoeuvre that takes a high level of expertise. Robert Kurland, a player in the 1940s, was the first to slam dunk.

4. Basketball started without a name

Naismith's students debated renaming the game to "Naismith Ball" after the creator following the winter break. However, he preferred a less complicated moniker. The game was the ideal option because, according to the rules, the game's object is to shoot a ball through a hoop.

5. The first official basketball game in history

Who invented basketball?
The inventor of basketball, Dr James Naismith, stands in a field carrying a ball and a basket. Photo: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

When Naismith originally introduced the game to his students, they played it for fun. The first official game was not played until January 20, 1892. In this inaugural game contest, nine players suited up.

6. Players used to face off in a cage

In the early stages of basketball history, players got rough during the games. This led to players falling on spectators who were there to enjoy the game.

To avoid hurting the fans, basketball games were moved to mesh cages. But unfortunately, players started falling into the sides of the cells and were getting injured more often.

7. Two women have played in the NBA

Who was the first person to play basketball?
Jennifer O'Neill of Puerto Rico is challenged by Bridget Carleton at Sydney Superdome, on September 29, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. Photo: Matt King
Source: Getty Images

Regarding participation, there has always been a male-dominated activity—a full half-century between the founding of the NBA and the WNBA.

Two women were chosen onto teams that otherwise consisted entirely of men, even though male athletes dominate the NBA. In addition, these women are the only ones who have ever worn an NBA uniform.

In the 1969 NBA draught, Denise Long was selected first overall. After that, she joined the San Francisco Warriors while the NBA's first female draftee was Luisa Harris in 1977. After that, the New Orleans Jazz recruited her.

8. Teams used to be larger

In the early years, teams used to be much more significant. Currently, each team has five players on the court. A team could have any number of players when the game was first invented. Up to 50 players were in some sections.

9. Basketball became an Olympic sport in the 1930s

How was basketball invented?
Patty Mills of Team Australia goes up for a layup during the second half of the Men's Bronze medal at Saitama Super Arena on August 07, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. Photo: Charlie Neibergall
Source: Getty Images

Due to its widespread appeal, basketball became an Olympic sport during the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. James Naismith was permitted to go to these Olympic competitions. During the match, he had the opportunity to award the medals to the winners.

10. The original typed rules of basketball were auctioned off

Since it was first invented in the late 1800s, the game has changed. When James Naismith first invented the game, there were only 13 rules. Naismith himself typed these guidelines. It took Naismith's granddaughter until the 2000s for her to re-discover these old records.

Compared to other popular sports around the globe, the history of basketball stands undoubtedly one of the most fascinating. Yet, thanks to Naismith, the game's creator, most professional basketball players live comfortably.

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Kevin Omuya
Kevin Omuya is a Content Writer with 4 years of experience who joined Sports Brief in 2022. In 2019 he held a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism & Digital Media from KCA University.