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History Of Basketball

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One of the greatest sports in the world is goes by the name of basketball. This great game was invented by James Naismith December of 1891. James Naismith was a physician from Canada and attended McGill’s University in Montreal, Canada. After working as McGill’s Athletic director he went to Springfield, Massachusetts. He introduced the game when he was an instructor at the Young Men Christian Association Training School in Springfield. He created the game because he needed to think of something the kids would be able to play during those cold winters, in a small area. He wanted to come up with something where you wouldn’t have to be the strongest but have to have to be skilled.

The game involved elements of football, soccer, and hockey the first game was actually played with a soccer ball. The goals were made of wooden peach baskets placed on the wall. Teams consisted of nine players but by 1897-1898 teams had then consist of five players. The game spread threw the nation, Canada and even certain parts of the world. It became popular even outdoors with servicemen playing it in other countries during War World II.

In 1893 and 1895 many U.S. colleges adopted this great sport. The first college games were played at New York City’s Madison Square Garden in 1934. By 1950 college basketball was becoming very huge and paved the way for more interest in basketball being played on the professional level. Formed in 1898 the National Basketball League was the first professional league formed. Unfortunate this professional league only lasted for five years. The leagues break-up spawned a numerous unorganized leagues throughout the northeast United States.

In 1926 British immigrant by the name of Abe Saperstein recruited five black basketball players from the slums of Chicago. He was able to get them two games a week at the Savoy Ballroom on the south side of Chicago. Abe Saperstein became the owner, coach, chauffeur, and sixth man on his team which was called the "Savoy Five." When the dance floor to the ballroom became a roller skate rink the team had lost its home court. Since basketball wasn’t a big attraction at the time there was not much work. Also for a team of black players it was especially hard to find games since they were banned from professional competition because of racial prejudice. Saperstein then changed the name from the Savoy Five to the Harlem Globetrotters. Yet in fact none had ever been outside of the country let alone ever placed a foot in Harlem.

During the depression was especially hard for the Globetrotters, for at the end of a day’s work they would only make ten dollars. And the ten dollars they that made would have to be spilt 9 ways. The Globetrotters would travel anywhere to play anyone. Their skills were becoming so good that it would scare off all competitors. To get more people to watch their games game’s they would have to add comedy routines into the game. By doing so this would be the trademark for the Globetrotters. In their games they would do things such as hide the ball under their jerseys. They would charade other sports also even dribble into the stands and begin to sell concessions.

While a player from the opposite team would be shooting a free throw he could find himself either having his jersey pulled or even having a bucket of water dumped on top of his head. If accused of a foul a referee would find one of the Globetrotters leaping into his arms or on his knees begging for mercy. Even with all this happening the ball would still be moving. Some would never be able to understand how difficult this is to do. It takes a lot of skill and practice to be able to master the skills they would show throughout each one of their games.

In 1936 the Berlin Olympics hosted the first medal giving basketball tournament. There were 21 teams that competed for the gold. The first team to win would of course be the United States. The U.S. defeated Canada with 19 points to their 8. This game was played was played outside on a muddy clay field. This marked the beginning of the U.S. dominating in Olympic Basketball.

As for professional basketball leagues in 1937 Goodyear, Firestone, and General Electric started up the National Basketball League. This league was formed by industrial teams sponsored by companies and even independent teams. Mostly all these teams were based in the Midwest. Now after World War II ended there was a move to establish a true nationwide league. This lead to the Basketball Association of America being born. Now in 1949 this year was the end of the National Basketball League and its remaining teams joined the Basketball Association of America. With all the teams combined the National Basketball Association was formed.

For colleges Ivy League schools such as Yale, Harvard, Cornell, and Princeton formed some of the earliest college leagues. A group of basketball writers in 1937 from New

York decided to have a basketball tournament. This is how they would name the college national basketball team. This tournament would the 1 invitation tournament and was held at New York’s Madison Square Garden. This event took place in 1938 and the tournament winner with Temple becoming the first national champion team. A group of coaches felt that this tournament should be more centralized so they started their own tournament. It was the year of 1939 when they did so only a year after the original tournament. The tournament that these coaches started up was then taking over by the NCAA. It eventually grew into what we call today March Madness.

Now with the National Basketball Association the Boston Celtics was the power house and ruled the league. They were able to do so with their star center by the name of Bill Russell. He helped the Celtics lead the league through the late 1950’s to the 1060’s. Bill Russell was able to dominate on the court with his abilities to get rebounds and block shots which initiated fast breaks. This would be the start of something great for the Celtics, for the year that Bill came to the team they would have the best record in the National Basketball Association with 44 wins and 28 loses. This would also be the first year the Celtics would win a national championship. It wouldn’t be the last for the Celtics would win the next 11 championships out of 13.

By the 1960’s professional teams from coast to coast would play in front of crowds by the millions every year. While Bill dominated on the east coast with Boston there was another player on the Los Angeles Lakers that would help them dominate on the west coast. His name was Wilt Chamberlain who was traded from the Philadelphia 76’s.



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