Basketball is among the most beloved and celebrated sports within the professional sports fraternity. It has an extensive history dating back to 1891. Back when basketball became recognized as a sport, the rules were significantly different than they are today. While basketball is extremely popular and lucrative for most professional players, it is one of the most demanding sports.
To succeed in this formidable sport and outscore your opponents, you must have excellent skills and high endurance. Team spirit is perhaps another crucial skill set. Since its inception, basketball has been played at the amateur and professional levels on all continents and is particularly popular in North America and Asia. It is also featured on many reputable betting sites, almost as much as traditional casino games on platforms like Vegas online casino.
The biggest league in basketball is the NBA, where the likes of Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson found their fame. While there is so much technicality to learn in basketball, there is more to it than the NBA All-Star weekend. After all, if you are a diehard fan, you likely already know all the basics. Here are some fun facts to add to that.
It was initially played with a football
However odd this might sound, early basketball players initially used a football and a peach basket. Back then, referees would retrieve the soccer ball from the basket every time a player successfully made a basket. The famous string basket as you know it today was officially introduced in 1900.
After a while, the backboard behind the hoop was attached to the basket. The point of this addition was to stop fans from blocking a player’s shot.
Dribbling was forbidden
Today, dribbling is a significant part of basketball play. That hasn’t always been the case, as it was not part of the original game. Once a player had possession of the ball, they were expected to throw it over to another team member to keep the competition going. After a few years of dribble-free basketball, dribbling was first introduced to basketball in 1897 by a college basketball team.
In the beginning, players were limited to one bounce when passing the ball around. After four years, dribbling was officially adopted by the sport.
Basketball was a pretty rough sport
In its beginning stages, basketball was a tougher sport than today. The main reason for this was that the rules back then were much different than they are now. As a good example, whenever the ball crossed court bounds, the referee would hurl it into the court. Whichever team got their hands on it first had possession.
This rule resulted in players racing to get the ball, which usually ended in everyone scrambling around the court and sometimes sustaining injuries. Fortunately, by 1923, it was altered to make basketball much safer for everyone.
James Naismith invented basketball
Most basketball fans have no idea who invented the sport. James Naismith is credited with inventing basketball in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts. He came up with it after being asked to create an indoor winter activity for the students by his superiors at the YMCA. At the time, Naismith was a PE teacher.
He is the author of the original basketball rule book, in addition to developing the basketball program at the University of Kansas.
The Slam Dunk Contest
This is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the NBA Skills Challenge. The term “slam dunk” is used when a player jumps above the rim while shooting the ball down through the net, using one or both hands. This phenomenon was initially formally called a dunk shot.
In 1972, an American commentator, Chick Hearn, first used the term “slam dunk” at an LA Lakers game, and it stuck, replacing the formal word. It is believed that Robert Kurland was the first player to shoot a slam dunk back in the ’40s.
Pushing, shouldering, holding, and striking or tripping opponents were not allowed in basketball. Surprisingly they were not considered fouls either. In 1910, a rule was passed, disqualifying players that committed these four offenses. In 1946 these fouls were increased to five and then six a year later by the Basketball Association of America.
Basketball has not always had the three-pointer
The Three-Point Contest is another fan favorite. It is officially called a three-point field goal. A three-pointer is made from beyond the three-point line, the arc surrounding the basketball hoop on the court. If you shoot from here, your team earns three points.
It has not always been included in basketball and was introduced when the rules changed after the 1979-1980 basketball season.
Establishment of smaller squads
In modern basketball, both teams have five members actively playing on the court at any given time. When the game was invented, though, there were no limits on team sizes. So, in the beginning, teams could forward any number of players. Sometimes, they even had up to 50 players sending in nine players per session.
All that changed in 1897 when the association introduced the five players per team rule.
Basketball is very entertaining, and it has significantly evolved since its inception. If you are a huge basketball fan, then knowing more about the game apart from the current NBA stats is refreshing. You now know how some things have changed during its existence.