THE ORIGINS OF BASKETBALL
The year--1891, The place, --Springfield College, Springfield Massachusetts. Dr. james Naismith, rugby coach at the school, was given two assignments to complete. First, he was to find or invent a sport that athletes could play between football and baseball seasons. Second, he was to find a way to keep order in a class of competitive young men who were getting bored with the usual excerises and gymnastics.
He came up with the beginnings of a game that borrowed from rugby, soccer, water polo andother popular sports of the day. The school janitor was asked to find some boxes to be used as goals, but, unable to find suitably sized boxes, he suggested peach crates instead. Basketball's first game on record took place on December 21, 1891, between two teams of nine players each. As a former soccer player, he incorportaed rules and play techniques from that sport, and added a few new ideas. Hastily jotting down a dozen general rules, the first game of basketball was begun.
Minor competition started almost immediately, but basketball wasn't taken seriously as a sport until after the end of World War I. By this time the game had changed considerably since Dr. Naismith's original game. Dribbling had become the standard method of offense by 1896. Double dribble was outlawed in 1898, but dribblers were not allowed to shoot the ball until 1915. Backboards were added in 1895. In 1897 the number of players on a team was settled at five, after experiments with seven and nine players proved to be unworkable.
Onehundered years have passed, and basketball has changed from a diversion to entertain bored students, to one of the most popular sports in the world. Teams from all across the U.S. now compete in one of the most exciting meetings in sports today. From its beginnings as a student diversion, to today's March madness--basketball has come a long way.
--From the SNES NCAA Final Four Basketball instruction manual.