Author: Anonymous Submitted: 05.08.09 Word Count: 1995
A sport so interesting that it carries away a whole country. Basketball, invented in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith, at a cold winter night, was just intended to entertain Dr. Naismith’s students inside the gym, while the weather didn’t allow them to play outside. Little did he realize that now, over 100 years later, millions of people play it, watch it, cheer for it; basketball would be one of the most popular sports worldwide.
In 1861, Dr. James Naismith was trying to invent a game for his students at the School for Christian Workers in Springfield, Massachusetts, which could be played during the cold New England winters. He combined elements of outdoor games like soccer and lacrosse with the concept of a game he had played in childhood, Duck on a Rock. To win Duck on Rock, players threw stones to hit a target placed on top of a large boulder, so he came up with a game played indoors with a soccer ball and two peach baskets nailed to a balcony railing 10 feet above the floor at either side of the gymnasium that served as goals. It was supposed to be an indoor sport with limited physical contact � and it stayed like this until today.
This game probably had the best start to spread all over the world, because Dr. Naismith’s students weren’t just regular students, but prospective P.E. teachers, and not only from the United States, but also Canada and Japan. Just two months after the game was invented, teams from different YMCAs met for their first competitive game. The Central YMCA and the Armory Hill YMCA played to 2-2 tie. And it didn’t take long for women to figure out that this was a sport interesting for them too. Senda Bereson Abbott read about the “new“ sport Basketball in the newspaper and introduced it to her fellow students at the Smith College in Northampton. And already by 1894, the spring game between sophomores and freshmen was attended by over 1,000 women, cheering for the players.
The basic objective in Basketball is to score points by making field goals or free throw shot and is played by two opposing teams with each five players. The game starts with a jump ball at the center of the court, after which each team tries to recover the ball and to score by making series of passing moves, and shot within shooting range at their designated baskets. On the other hand, the opposing team tries to block players from coming closer to their designated basket and to block their shots to prevent them from scoring and at the same time gain control over the ball themselves. There are two points awarded for each field goal and three points are scored for field goals shot beyond a designated distance from the basket.
13 basic rules for Basketball, written by James Naismith:
• The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.
• The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands (never with a fist).
• A player cannot run with the ball. The player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it, allowance to made for a man who catches the ball when running if he tries to stop.
• The ball must be held by the hands. The arms or body must not be used for holding it.
• No shouldering, holding, pushing, tipping, or striking in any way the person of an opponent shall be allowed; the first infringement of this rule y 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.
• A foul is striking at the ball with the fist, violation of Rules 3, 4 and such as described in Rule 5.
• If either side makes three consecutive fouls it shall count as a goal for the opponents (consecutive means without the opponents in the mean time making a foul).
• A goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from the grounds into the base key 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.
• When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall be thrown into the field of play by the person first touching it. He has a right to hold it unmolested for five seconds. 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 persists in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on the side.
• The umpire shall be the 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.
• 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 account of the goals, with any other duties that are usually performed by the referee.
• The time shall be two fifteen minute halves, with five minutes’ rest between.
• The side making the most goals in the in that time shall be declared the winner. In the case of a draw, the game my, by agreement of the captains, be continued until another goal is made.
But over the years the game developed and changes were made to increase fun and quality of the game for the players. In 1896 wooden backboard were added, so the fans on the balcony couldn’t interfere with the ball and shortly after this, around 1900, the 5-player rule was introduced, because until then, there was no limit to players on the court and games were played with up to 50 players on the court. In 1906, rims with an open net became standard, so the referee wouldn’t have to climb a ladder after each score and it would be easier to determine for him whether the ball had gone through the rim.
But all those rules basically serve only one purpose: to bring people together. Basketball makes the players work together in a small group, all people with maybe different intentions, but one goal � to score -. They have to coordinate the ways that they throw the ball, figure out game tactics to play efficiently and especially do this by using every player on the court. They have got to be determined, because one player by himself would hardly achieve anything but loose, while on the other hand a team has a five times bigger chance to win. Especially children learn to show loyalty and to work together from playing Basketball, since they got to rely on each other and have to trust their teammates to do the right thing. Reflexes are getting trained, thinking process are getting faster, because in a game you have to decide quick whether to dribble out opponents, shot the ball and from where, or if the team would be more likely to succeed if you pass the ball to another player.
There are different types of court dimension on which the teams play. The ones I am going to present are for the NBA Professional league and for High Schools. Since there is more to be expected from NBA players the court is bigger than from High Schools. The dimensions always have to be 94 feet long and 50 feet wide, while in High School it is 84 feet long and 50 feet wide. For all courts the Foul Line is 15 feet away from the front of the backboard and the Key or Lane is 12 feet wide. The 3-point line, or Arc, is 19 feet and 9 inches long, with a straight line extending out 5 feet 3 inches from the baseline in High School and College and for the NBS league it is 22 feet to the center of the rim on the sides, with a straight line extending out 16 feet and 9 inches from the baseline. For all levels of play, the backboard has to be 10 feet from the floor to the top of the rim, while the inner square of the backboard is 24 inches wide by 18 inches tall.
Other differences occur between men’s and women’s Basketball and the “Northeast Style”. Main difference between men and women Basketball is the size of the ball. Men use a ball with a circumference of 29.5 inches to a maximum of 30 inches, while women use a ball with a circumference of 28.5 inches to 29 inches. In the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) there is no 10 second backcourt violation for women and they are allowed to stand farther up towards the shooter on free throws. The Northeast style is a term coined by Eastern Leagues which played games with a focus on speed, passing and aspirations to clean play, because their players were usually shorter and so they were trying to keep to game close to the ground instead of near up the hoop.
To get a brief insight into the terminology of Basketball, I summarized the most important terms about names for the players on the court, moves players can make, and last but not least fouls.
An Assist would be a pass which is followed by no more than one dribble, and leading to a score, while a Block would reject such a shot by hitting it with your hand. Double Dribble is to dribble the ball with both hands or stopping and restarting the dribble, in which Dribble means to advance the ball by bouncing it. When one is fouled in the act of shooting or when a team has more than 7 total fouls in a half, an uncontested shot is taken, called a free throw. Lay-up is a shot which is made close to the basket, usually while on the move. Important for playing Basketball successful is the Man-to-man defense, in which each player is responsible for guarding one specific person and staying with that person all over the court. In case a player has physical contact with another player, a Personal Foul is called, while a Technical Foul can be called on a player or coach for having unsportsmanlike conduct or for “technical” rules, such as having six players in the floor during a game.
Basketball has come far from the first games, about a hundred years ago, but it is still up-to-date and even though it was once considered an inferior sport, today it is the second most popular sport in Europe, right next to soccer, and the second most popular sport in America, next to Football and it is getting an growing hold on sports enthusiasts and is played by over 176 nations. It is a game where it is all about team play and making quick decisions, working together, taking responsibility, show loyalty and be able to rely on your teammates and learn how to trust. It has been over a hundred years since it was invented, but the purpose of the game, as intended by Dr. Naismith, never changes its importance or significance
Naismith, James. Wiliam J. Baker. Basketball: Its Origin and Development. New York: Bison Books, 1996.
Bjarkman, Peter. The Biographical History of Basketball. New York: McGraw-Hill: 1999.
Sporting News. Official Rules of the National Basketball Association. New York: Sporting News: 1998.
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