basketball history

history of basketball

basketball history is a bit complicated as writers made it to be. Often than not, I receive a question that every basketball player who is dedicated wants to know and that question is who created Basketball?

Well today on recreation tipsy, I am going to be specific to these question and tell you who invented this game and how it came into existence for both men and women.

It’s very funny that 90% of the players don’t know the father of basketball and how it came into existence. In as much as it is funny, it’s also important that you get to know the history of your loved hobby, how the game originated from the world go.

Who Invented Basketball game?

The basketball origin dates as far back as December 1891. It is a Canadian man called JAMES NAISMITH that created the game.

The inventor of basketball (Naismith) taught at the YMCA training school located in Springfield, Massachusetts as a teacher. His duty was simply to train the young and youth men and women who loved basketball to attain an instructors height at newly created YMCA centers.

Dr. James Naismith

During December 1891, Naismith was told by the schools high ranking officer of physical education, Dr. Luther .H. Gulick, that he need to create an indoor game that was supposed to keep the youth both men and women warm during the cold and winter months since the cold weather was keeping the class indoors.

Having received this request and instruction with a warm heart, Naismith began his journey to create a whelming indoor game that his class would enjoy while the weather was cold.  He wrote something that explains his game creation ethics many years later in a diary and it reads….

“I felt this was a crucial moment in my life as it meant success or failure of my attempt to hold the interest of the class and devise a new game”

Naismith achieved the creation of a game which focuses on skill rather than strenght with the help of his wife alongside some memories he had back then when he was a child playing ‘Duck on a Rock’.

‘Duck on a Rock’ was a game that allowed its players to throw a rock at some certain target which was placed on the top of a tree stump or large boulder. I hope this solves the question I receive often “what is Duck on a Rock”? from curious individuals.

The end product of Naismith invention today is the game every American whether Black or White love and heart so dearly called BASKETBALL.

How Basketball Was First Played

This game at the beginning required little equipment to play… there was two peach baskets that was hanged 10 feet above from the ground and a soccer-like ball that we refer to as basketball.

Basketball has one objective and that is to work together as a team to throw or bat the soccer ball into an opposition teams peach basket while making a defensive case to prevent a score from happening in your own side of the peach basket from an opposition team.

It’s obvious that you are aware that it’s very hard to get the ball out of the peach basket once an opposing team finally makes a score during the game. People suggested regularly that the ball was been pushed out with a poll while others objected that someone needed to actually climb up in order to bring down the ball.

Whether it was a poll been used or it was someone to climb, the players at those time wasn’t really great shooters. There was not enough play for them to worry too much about! The first game of basketball ever played recorded just one score throughout the game. Surely you will get to know more about the game latter on this post.

Before now, Naismith made the game for nine players on each of the participating teams. You may be wondering why he chooses Nine players at that time, but it was solely due to the number of students in his class as at that time which was just 18 students. What an icon he was.

He (Naismith), didn’t just stop at inventing a playable game but did everything within his power then to also create rules for the game which was Called ‘the 13 Rules of Basketball’.

The First Game of Basketball Ever Played

On the 21st of December, 1891, at the YMCA training school in Springfield, Massachusetts, the first game of basketball was played. It marked a ceremonial starting game as well.

By that time, the gyms was very little. They consisted of fairly 50 feet x 35 feet area which when you make a comparison of the modern and current courts are 94 feet x 53 feet.

On that very great and faithful day Dr. Naismith came to school and knew he was going to make a basketball history that would make the world remember him till eternity.

He went straight to the bulletin board and after a successful posting of the ‘3 Rules of Basketball’ on the board, he decided to map a peach basket to the rail below a balcony on each of the gym ends.

He splitted his 18 students to create two teams once they arrived school that day. The teams had nine players each. The game commenced as he was also teaching them the 13 rules of basketball.

This students at that time was ready to storm a game which was envisaged to change sports till eternity.

Of course bot the students and Naismith never knew this game was going to be very big in a matter of time and so have it gone from indoor to outdoor.

Here are the list of players who got involved in the First game of basketball ever played;

Team 1:
John J. Thompson, Eugene S. Libby, William R. Chase, T. Duncan Patton, William H. Davis, Lyman Archibald, Edwin P. Ruggles, Frank Mahan, Finlay G. MacDonald.

Team 2:
Genzabaro Ishikawa, Benjamin S. French, Franklin Barnes, George Day and Henry Gelan, George Weller, Wilbert Carey, Ernest Hildner, Raymond Kaighn,

The first basketball game ended 1 – 0. And Team 1 emerged winners of that game..

William R. Chase from 25 feet away from the basket scored the only goal of the game… He  became the first player ever to score a goal during a game in basketball history! What a way to write his name in the history..

Naismith’s original rules

An illustration of a basketball game that accompanied Nasmith’s article from The Triangle in 1892 listing his 13 rules.

The rules of basketball were only 13 in number and below you can read them:

  1. You could use one or both hands to throw the ball in any direction you wanted.
  2. The players could bat the ball in their desired direction using one or both of the hands.
  3. Running with the ball is not acceptable in the game. a player could not run with the ball, the ball must be thrown by the player right from the spot he catches the ball. There should be allowance for the player that catches the ball to move.
  4. To start, the ball is to be held between the hands or in the hand. The ball should not be held in the body or arms.
  5. There should not be no tripping or striking, holding, pushing, nor shouldering the opponent in any way as it will be disallowed. Once any player infringes this rule for the first time during the game, it shall count as foul. Should the player repeat the infringement again, it shall disqualify him, pending when a goal is made. Should he be deemed intentional to injure a player for the entire game, he is as well disqualified.
  6. Any player who strikes the ball with his fist, commits foul. This is a violation or rule #3 and #4 as well as it is described in rule #5.
  7. Should both sides commit three fouls consecutively, it shall be counted as a goal for the opponents.
  8. Once a ball is thrown or batted right from grounds into the basket and remain in the basket, it will result in a goal. When the opponent moves the basket and the ball is thrown and rests on the edge, it shall count be seen as a goal.
  9. Should the ball move out of bounds, it should be thrown into the floor and then played by the first person to touch the ball. Should a dispute arise in this case, the referrer shall throw the ball straight to the floor. The “thrower-in” must be allowed for at least five seconds. Should the ball remain longer in his hand, it shall go to the opponent. Should any side remain resolute in delaying the game, the referrer shall call a foul on them.
  10. Umpire should be the judge of the players and he should preside over the game and note the fouls. He should be the one to notify the referee once a foul has been committed three consecutive times.
  11. The referee should be the decision maker for the ball and should make decision as to when the ball is in play, in-bounds, and as well as the side it belongs, and should keep time. He is to detect when a goal occurs and record the goals as they occurs with other official duties assigned to him as a referee.
  12. The game time is fifteen-minutes per halve and there should be a five minutes rests between.
  13. Any side that makes the higher goal during the game time is declared the winner of the game. should there be a draw, by agreement of both sides captains, the game could keep going till another goal occurs and a winner will emerge.

Basketball in American colleges

The early basketball levels featured a lot of activities that was done outside of YMCAs which was seen in colleges in America. The very first and popularly known U.S College that played a basketball against outside visitors or opponents was the Vanderbilt University and the school played against a Local YMCA in the Nashville town of Tennessee which happened on the 7th day of February 1893. Another basketball game happened as a college basketball in Geneva College’s game which happened against the New Brighton YMCA on April 8, 1893 at the Beaver falls, in Pennsylvania. Geneva College won the New Brighton by 3-0.

A game was recorded for the first time between two known college teams and it took place on the 9th day of February in the year 1895. The game featured Hamline University, a school that faced Minnesota A&M. this game ended in favor of the Minnesota A&M by 9-3 and was played under a rule that created space for 9 players per team. The most recent used modern rule that allow five players for each of the teams can be credited to a game between the University of Iowa and University of Chicago. The game took place in the Iowa City on 18th day of January 1896.

The Chicago team consisted of a team which was lead and organized by Amos Alonzo Stagg, who learned the game passionately from Dr. Naismith at the Springfield YMCA, won the basketball game 15-12. (Most sources that we have come across, states that the very first “true” five-on-five intermediate game happened between Yale and Penn in the year 1897, mainly due to the fact that the Iowa team which played Chicago in the 1896 game was really a game that consisted of university of Iowa students, though the school didn’t officially make a well representation of the University of Iowa but was been organized through a YMCA). This game called basketball went rampant on almost all universities and colleges in the countries

The U.S Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) by the year 1897 had taken over basketball oversight activities from the YMCA organization. In 1905 April, representatives of about fifteen Universities and colleges differently took over control of those college game, and created the collegiate “Basket Ball Rule Committee”. In the year 1909, the committee of the game’s rule then became absorbed into a predeceasing body of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The Popular body NCAA Men’s Tournament of Basketball took effect in the year 1939.

First international games

Basketball game developed immediately and almost instantly, after it arrived in Europe. Saint Petersburg witnessed the very first international basketball match in the year 1909. The hosting side being Mayak Saint Petersburg beat a YMCA American team. The very first European event took place in Joinville-le-Pont in the year 1919, very close to Paris and it happened during the Inter-Allied Games event.

A great and famous player called Max Friedman led a United States Future hall of Fame player won against France and Italy. Then Italy won another game against France. This game led the exposure of basketball in the French and Italian territories. During those days games, Italian teams wore a white shirt that had the House of savoy shield enclosed on the shirts and the list of Italian players were;

  • Baccarini
  • Giuseppe Sessa
  • Palestra
  • Bagnoli
  • Pecollo
  • Marco Muggiani
  • Arrigo


Formation of FIBA

The basketball game during its growth face saw an international organizing body formed on the 18th day of June in the year 1932, which is a body which was formed with the aim of coordinating tournaments and teams: on that very day, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Greece, Argentina, Switzerland, Latvia, Romania and Portugal formed the international Basketball Federation (Fédération internationale de basketball amateur, FIBA) Body in Geneva to govern and regulate the game. The organization’s first inclusion decision in basketball was first noticed at the Berlin Olympic Games which took place in the year 1936. The U.S. national team heartily won the first Olympic title. The competition was seconded by Canada who emerged runner-up. The competition happened on an outdoor court which was clay as at then. Later on, the first World Championship took place in Argentina in the year 1950.

The national team of U.S in the first Olympic tournament consisted;

  1. Ralph Bishop
  2. Tex Gibbons
  3. Joe Fortenberry
  4. Carl Knowles
  5. Sam Balter
  6. Francis Johnson
  7. Frank Lubin,
  8. Art Mollner
  9. Jack Ragland
  10. Duane Swanson
  11. Willard Schmidt
  12. Carl Shy
  13. Bill Wheatley
  14. and the trainer: James Needles
  15. Donald Piper
basketball history


This particular basketball league was first seen on the 6th day of june 1946 and formed into a regulatory body called Association of America (BAA) in New York City. The name of this league was later changed in the year 1949 and then became National Basketball Association (NBA) after making a Merge with their rival league called the National Basketball League (NBL). During the 21st century when the game began, it was recorded that NBA was the most better and successful professional basketball league ever played in the world in terms of how popular the league was both in talented players, salary-wise as well as the level of play in the competition.

American Basketball Association

An organization was formed that was known as the American Basketball Association (ABA) as a substitute of the NBA in the year 1967 which was a time when the NBA was gradually gaining lots of attention and popularity. The ABA which can into existence immediately brought its own ethos and style of game as an alternative, and even changed the games rules. The leading player in the league that helped launch a stunning modern style of play was Erving Julius. His playing style was mainly based on leaping and above the rim plays. His strength was absolutely phenomenon and played a vital role in legitimizing the American Basketball Association, Whether it’s the wild promotions, the manner or patterns of play, the color of the ball (blue, red, white, or yellow) or even the three-point shot.

The basketball league suffered lots of low national recognition as earnings were too low, it lead the leaders and organizing bodies to sort a way to curtail the problems the league were facing. A possible solution became Merging with an already established and successful NBA league. The ABA league suffocated into the NBA league in the summer of the year 1976. The ABA also had four very successful franchises which suddenly got incorporated into the older league (the New York Nets, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, and San Antonio Spurs). At this point the three-point shot and aggressive loose style of play as well was adopted and incorporated by the NBA.

African Americans in basketball

With discrimination and racial segregation all over that almost killed and affected the game thoroughly, black American basketball teams (Black Fives) were formed during the year 1904. A lot of all-black teams came into existence during the Black Fives Era, in the cities of Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, New york, and Washington and other cities.

The very first fully organized and independent all-black basketball teams were formed in the year 1906 as amateur teams. The teams which got the recognition included;

  • the smart set athletic club of Brooklyn and
  • the St. Christopher club of new york city

All-black Olympian Athletic League came into existence in the city of New York as amateur team in the year 1907. The league consisted of the

  • Marathon Athletic Club
  • Alpha Physical Culture Club
  • The Jersey City Colored YMCA
  • St. Christopher Club and
  • The Smart Set Athletic Club

In the year 1907, the very first and amazing inter-city history of basketball game occurred between two great black teams known as the Smart Set Athletic Club of Brooklyn who visited their rivals in Washington DC to sort it out with the Crescent Athletic Club.

The Smart Set Athletic Club of Brooklyn which was a full member of the Olympian Athletic league was renamed and known as the first Colored Basketball World’s Champion in the year 1908.

The University of Howard had its very first competitive game against the counterpart in the year 1910.

Both the first all-black professional team and the commonwealth Five team was created in the year 1922. And in 1923 the New York Renaissance was as well created.

History was made in 1939 when the all-black New York Renaissance won the all-white Oshkosh All-Stars in the Pro Basketball Tournament for the world.

The late 1920s saw an African American called Harlem Globetrotters emerge successful with his touring team that won the WPBT back then in the year 1940

Racially, the all-white National Basketball League (NBL) started to make integration in the year 1942 having just 10 black Basketball players that joined two teams, which were the Chicago Studebakers and the Toledo Jim White Chevrolets. Having three black players that achieved a milestone in the period of two years after the League was founded; the NBA got integrated in 1950-51 seasons. A draft was immediately held amid interests in the new season, and the first black player to be drafted by an NBA team became Chuck Cooper. Shortly, Nat Clifton became the very first black basketball player that signed an NBA contract after the draft. The first black player that appeared in an NBA game when his team started its new season before Clifton’s or Cooper’s was Earl Lloyd.

The Harlem Globetrotters began to put their focus on international touring and performances exhibitions that saw comic routine become inclusive after the integration of the NBA. These tours ensure there was enough recognition and popularity of basketball internationally. It as well helped the Globetrotters the maximum reputation they required as Basketball ambassadors.

Modern-day NBA

The popular National Basketball (NBA) is now known for how it has helped in popularizing this game in so many different countries. An unlimited portion of this is simply because of the transcendent skillful players who have played this game for a long period of time. Michael Jordan played a lot of role with his style of play and it helped to make Basketball reach a large international audience, specifically in the year 1992 as United States Men’s Olympic Basketball team was named the Dream Team.

After Michael Jordan’s final championship and his 1998 sudden retirement for a second time, enough space was made for anyone who wanted to become the next basketball skillful player. Kobe Bryant advanced to win the three straight championships that happened from 2000-2002 with the help of Shaquille O’Neal and it happened with Los Angeles Lakers. They helped in popularizing Basketball in many countries around the world, with china one of the top countries that welcomed Basketball with warm arms. In 2009 and 2010, a lot of other championship victories helped raise O’Neal’s Popularity the more. He went on to make an announcement of his retirement in 2015 to take effect in the next season being the 2016 season, by then he must have enjoyed over 20 successful seasons.

LeBron James did all his best to bring alive the game of basketball in revolution. In 2003, he was made the best pick of all in the NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, since then he has done everything within his should to become the new face of NBA League and basketball game across the globe. In 2010, he joined the Miami Heat from the Cavaliers with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in a very controversial decision as the world looked upon it. He further won the championships back to back in 2012 and 2013 before coming back to the cavaliers in the year 2014 and further went on to clinch his third championship in the year 2016. Then on the 1st day of July in the year 2018, LeBron James backed his loads out from Cavaliers and joined the Los Angeles Lakers.

Talking about history of Basketball summary, there are many professional players of international standard who have really helped to make Basketball have a global effect. Yao Ming is another player has been the most noticeable of all players. With the number one overall selection back then in the year 2002 by the Houston Rockets, he got a great reputation as the first Chinese player to be selected. Yao Ming style of play and presence in the NBA helped to draw great attention in all parts of Asia.

The basketball style of play has since evolved beyond skill over the past decades. Specifically in the year 1990’s and 2000’s, Basketball was an important game to men of caliber. By that time, the game of basketball was very slow-paced and players were as well very defensive minded. Teams like Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs have really made team play and ball movement very common. It has since then fades away from this origin pattern of play. The game is now moving the upward trend and most teams are now very concerned in making lot of three-point shootings while taking the offensive route. One great player we know too well is Stephen Curry who is the Golden State Warriors player; he has been absolutely phenomenon in setting trends with his abilities to shoot the ball. Really he has revolutionized and popularize great notion in the youths ability to shoot great shots.


Women’s basketball came into existence in Tandem in the late 1800’s alongside the men’s basketball. Ever since then it has become a popular sporting event in almost all parts of the world ranging from the East Cost of the United States to the West Coast, in an unprecedented amount through the women’s colleges. Netball was the best term used to refer to the “women’s Basketball” from the year 1895 to 1970. It had a parallel evolution that matches the modern women’s basketball. Of all the countries where this sport has been introduced to women, the most popular country its ben played on seems to be the United States of America.

A lot of top national teams from different continental Championships played in the Women’s Olympic Basketball Tournament and FIBA Women’s basketball World Cup. The greatest league in the North America is the WNBA (NCAA Women’s Division 1 Basketball Championship is also a popular league), while lots of great and strong teams from Europe takes part in the EuroLeague Women.

Early women’s basketball history

Women’s basketball started in the fall of the year 1892 in a college called Smith College. A teacher called Senda Berenson who were hired as a director for Physical Culture at the Smith College, taught started teaching basketball to her students and hoped the activities of basketball were going to improve the physical health conditions of the students.

Basketball when it started became the first women’s team sport, closely followed by hockey, rowing, and Volleyball. This game is created as an addition to existing team games as baseball and football. The people who started the game in the early days were in partnership with YMCAs as well as Colleges all over the United States. Women’s basketball drew lots of attention and spread all over the country so quickly.

Berenson took lots of risk that 80% of teachers won’t take in teaching women basketball. The Victorian culture in the nineteenth-century laid emphasis on the Fragility of women and rather prioritized the status of women. However, Berenson expresses a great concern on how women were suffering from “Nervous Fatigue” when they faced a strenuous game. She then began teaching women lots of modified rules for basketball in order to help keep the games acceptable for the women to play at Victorian ideals of gentility and refinement.

She created lots of space for nine women to participate in a game per team and as well had the court divided into three areas or section. Each of this section had three women players assigned to it which was (guard, center and forward), they were as well restricted from crossing from one section to another. Rather to move the ball, they will either have to dribble or pass the ball from section to section. Every player was as well limited to have just three dribbles and in conjunction, had to be in possession of the ball for three seconds.

There was absolutely avoidance of ball snatching from one player or another. After every score, the need for a center jump arose during the game. Lots of the rules that Berenson putted in place had huge variations which went viral across the country through YMCAs and women’s Colleges that had educated mid-range class women who followed the recent trend in men’s basketball sport.

The first and early basketball games were played with soccer balls and peach baskets which were similar to men’s game. Though the outfits and uniforms of women players showed they were from the Victorian culture most times and had to be practical with their styles of play. Even at that, they had the world respect them and the game entirely, because they maintain femininity and dignity through women athletics.

While women of upper-class were beforehand playing sports in their country’s club from the war go and century, they have lots of advantage that helped them participate in games and activities like croquet in full-length skirts and tennis plus corsets. At that time basketball attires like tennis one’s were simply imperfect for the women, so the women had to wear a trouser in the sport for a first time. They were happy with the loose and covered knee length skirts they wore but shortly those pant-like dresses were reverted and changed through using loose bloomers over stockings. Even though the college games for women were forbidden for men to watch, the women’s attire still caught lots of attention and drew public ridicule.

Basically, the first inter-college women’s basketball game occurred on the 4th of April 1896 between two teams which were: Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley. Berenson’s focus of creating this game for women was for fitness and health purpose and so she opposed the inter-college game at the beginning. She taught women were graduating from college were bound to enter the labor market to seek for paid jobs to sustain their lives out of their homes.

So she stressed it was a health-related setback and saw the inter college games as an option that could limit women’s opportunities in the society for equal wages. So many other coaches believed in her approach for lots of century. An athletic foundation called the National Amateur Athletic Foundation was created for women’s branch in the year 1920, and it was an organizing body with the goal to keep women’s sports Non-competitive by discouraging traveling games and awards to women, as well as making a publicity discouragement while placing women coaches and their administrators in charge of women’s sports.

Recent women’s basketball

Australia women’s national basketball team on winning the 2006 FIBA World Championship

Women’s basketball grew steadily in popularity all over the world for almost a decade. The sport drew the overwhelming attention of the international Olympic Committee around 1970s. the committee then added women’s basketball to their official Olympic games sport list in 1976 while in 1936 the men had the debut.

All through 1970s, women’s basketball unexpectedly had a rapid rise in funding amid interest of schools that received federal funding which were in compliance with new state laws that ensured there was no discrimination of human sex in the game. At the college level, basketball was as well gaining lots of attraction and attention under the auspices of the association called “the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women” (AIAW).  The major women’s basketball development happened in the year 1982 as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) started sponsoring women’s basketball. Then the NBA started funding the WNBA in the year 1996 after so many failed attempts at women’s professional leagues in the U.S.

Basketball national championship was first televised in the year 1979. The television collaboration was led by Ivy Kirkpatrick who was a member of Austin State University and the broadcast was between NBC Sports and the AIAW. The only game which got broadcasted on the television was the Title game between the Louisiana Tech University and the Old Dominion University. Old Dominion University won that game. Ever since that game, every other women’s game was televised as an annual event including the Women’s Final Four, this is all about basketball history we have for you now.