The Story of Basketball

| April 18, 2013 | 2 Comments

The Story of Basketball

By: Adam Arnwine

In early December 1891 , Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian physician of Mcgill University and minister on the faculty of a college for YMCA professionals (today Springfield college) in Springfield, Massachusetts. He yearned for a vigorous indoor game to keep his students occupied while keeping them in top physical form during the harsh, unforgiving winter of New England. Many of his first ideas were denied saying they were too rough or poorly suited for walled-in gymnasiums. He finally came up with a game by altering the game played by the ancient Mayans.

The First Basketball Game



On December 21, 1891, the first basketball game was played. Dr. James Naismith used a soccer ball and two peach baskets to play the game. Frank Mahan, one of his students, wasn’t so happy. He just said: “Huh. Another new game”. However, Naismith was the inventor of the new game. Someone proposed to call it “Naismith Game”, but he suggested “We have a ball and a basket: why don’t we call it basket ball”? The eighteen players were: John J. Thompson, Eugene S. Libby, Edwin P. Ruggles, William R. Chase, T. Duncan Patton, Frank Mahan, Finlay G. MacDonald, William H. Davis and Lyman Archibald, who defeated George Weller, Wilbert Carey, Ernest Hildner, Raymond Kaighn, Genzaburo Ishikawa, Benjamin S. French, Franklin Barnes, George Day and Henry Gelan 1–0. The goal was scored by Chase.There were other differences between Naismith’s first idea and the game played today. The peach baskets were closed, and balls had to be retrieved manually, until a small hole was put in the bottom of the peach basket to poke the ball out using a stick. Only in 1906 were metal hoops, nets and back boards introduced. Moreover, earlier the soccer ball was replaced by a Spalding ball, similar to the one used today.



The First Professional Teams

The first professional league was founded in 1898. Six teams took part in the National Basketball League, and the first champions were the Trenton Nationals, followed by the New York Wanderers, the Bristol Pile Drivers and the Camden Electrics. The league was abandoned in 1904. The Original Celtics are considered the “fathers of basketball”, and were presented as “World’s Basketball Champions.”; the players had to sign a contract to play with them and the Jim Furey, organized matches as a circus, moving daily from town to town. The Celtics became the strongest team, and their successes lasted from 1922 until 1928, when the team disbanded due to ownership problems. The Original Celtics are sometimes incorrectly thought of as forebears of the current Boston Celtics of the NBA; in reality, they share only a name, as today’s Celtics were not founded until 1946, nearly two decades after the demise of the Original Celtics. In 1922, the first all-African American professional team was founded: the Rens (also known as New York Renaissance or Harlem Renaissance). The Rens were the Original Celtics’ usual opponent, and for their matches a ticket cost $1. They took part in some official championships and won the first World Professional Basketball Tournament in 1939. The team disbanded in 1949.

The National Basketball Association

The National Basketball Association or NBA is the current men’s professional basketball league. It consists of 30 teams (29 and 1 in Canada). The NBA is one of the Big Four major sports leagues in North America. The league was founded in New York City on June 6, 1946, as the Basketball Association of America (BAA). The league adopted the name National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1949 after merging with the rival National Basketball League (NBL).


Basketball is adored all over the world and we can all thank Dr. James Naismith for inventing the sport. Basketball is a big part of American pass time and is a fun way to stay in shape.

Category: Basketball, Features, Sports

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  1. Sofia F. says:

    Nice job on the story. It’s obvious that you did your research and put in many facts. This helps build your reputation as a journalist for later in life.

  2. jackson says:

    Well Adam, I thought that you’re article was delightful that had many facts that I never knew about and probably would have never learned if you didn’t do some research and post this!I think that you should have talked a little more about the evolution of the game though and how we’ve evolved from the ancient times to where we are today.
    -Kevin Fleisher 😉

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