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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Celebrate Basketball Day

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Celebrate Basketball Day with these facts about basketball history

World Almanac for Kids

Basketball was invented in December 1891 by the Canadian clergyman, educator, and, later, physician James Naismith, then an instructor at the Young Men's Christian Association Training School (now Springfield College) in Springfield, Mass. Naismith formulated the game on the request of his superior, Dr. Luther H. Gulick (1865-1918), that he organize a vigorous recreation suitable for indoor winter play. The game took over elements of football, soccer, and hockey, and the first ball used was a soccer ball. Teams had nine players, and the goals were wooden peach baskets affixed to the walls. By 1897-98, teams of five became standard. The game rapidly spread nationwide and to Canada and other parts of the world, played by both women and men; it also became a popular informal outdoor game. U.S. servicemen in World War II popularized the sport in many other countries.

Many U.S. colleges adopted the game between about 1893 and 1895. In 1934 college games were staged in New York City's Madison Square Garden for the first time, and college basketball began to attract much interest. By the 1950s it had become a major college sport, thus paving the way for a growth of interest in professional basketball.

The first pro basketball league, the National League, was formed in 1898 to protect players from exploitation and to promote a less rough game. One of the first and greatest pro teams was the Original Celtics, organized about 1915 in New York City. They played as many as 150 games a season and dominated basketball in the 1920s. The Harlem Globetrotters, founded in 1927, a notable exhibition team, specializes in amusing court antics and expert ballhandling.

In 1959 the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame was founded in Springfield, Mass. Its rosters include the names of great players, coaches, referees, and others who have contributed significantly to the development of the game. See Basketball Hall of Fame, Naismith Memorial.

By the 1960s pro teams from coast to coast played before crowds of millions annually. Since the 1980s the NBA has become one of the most popular sports organizations in the world, due in part to the marketability of a number of high-profile star players.

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