Most sports develop over time out of games that people begin to play informally. Not so with basketball. The history of Basketball shows that it was a game that was intentionally invented. In 1891, James Naismith was trying to create an indoor sport that his kids at the YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts could play in the brutal New England winter. His kids played soccer and football all during the fall season, but when winter came it was way too cold to play these sports. He wanted them to stay in good shape but he had nothing for them to do. Dr. Naismith combined elements of outdoor games like soccer and lacrosse with the concept of a game that he played when he was a child, Duck on a Rock. To win Duck on a Rock, players threw rocks to try to hit a target that was placed on top of a large boulder. A ball and a hoop are the simple things of the sport that now have players and crazy fans in nearly every part of the world.

Naismith’s class played the first game of basketball using a soccer ball and two peach baskets attached to a balcony ten feet above the floor. There were 18 kids in the class so he divided them in half making nine players on each team. The gym they played in was only 50 feet by 35 feet (Modern courts 94 feet by 54 feet). The final score to the first ever basketball game was 1-0. One of the students made the only goal from about 25 feet out, which was half court in that small gym.

Naismith wrote a set of 13 original rules in December, 1891 and they were published in January of 1892.
1. The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.
3. A player cannot run with the ball. The player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it, allowance to be made for a man who catches the ball when running at a good speed if he tries to stop.

4. The ball must be held in or between the hands; the arms or body must not be used for holding it.
5. No shouldering, holding, pushing, tripping, or striking in any way the person of an opponent shall be allowed; the first infringement of this rule by any player shall count as a foul, the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is made, or, if there was evident intent to injure the person, for the whole of the game, no substitute allowed.

6. A foul is striking at the ball with the fist, violation of Rules 3, 4, and such as described in Rule 5.
7. If either side makes three consecutive fouls, it shall count a goal for the opponents (consecutive means without the opponents in the mean time making a foul).

8. A goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from the grounds into the basket and stays there, providing those defending the goal do not touch or disturb the goal. If the ball rests on the edges, and the opponent moves the basket, it shall count as a goal.

9. When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall be thrown into the field of play by the
person first touching it. In case of a dispute, the umpire shall throw it straight into the field. The thrower-in is allowed five seconds; if he holds it longer, it shall go to the opponent. If any side persist in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on that side.

10. The umpire shall be judge of the men and shall note the fouls and notify the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made. He shall have power to disqualify men according to Rule 5.

11. The referee shall be judge of the ball and shall decide when the ball is in play, in bounds, to which side it belongs, and shall keep the time. He shall decide when a goal has been made, and keep account of the goals with any other duties that are usually performed by a referee.

12. The time shall be two 15-minute halves, with five minutes rest between.
13. The side making the most goals in that time shall be declared the winner. In case of draw, the game may, by agreement of the captains, be continued until another goal is made.

Naismith’s students took the game to their hometown gyms. The original class had students from Canada and Japan as well as the United States so the game spread rather quickly. Just 2 months after the game was invented, teams from different YMCA’s met for the first competitive game. The Central YMCA and the Armory Hill YMCA played the first game. The final score of the game was 2-2, ending in a tie.

Initially, there was no limit on how many people you could have on the court at one time. At some times in early games there were more than 50 people on the court at one time. This made basketball very rough and made it look more like Rugby. By 1900, teams of five became the standard. Jump balls

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Soccer Ball And Only Goal. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from