Basketball History Facts: Learn About The History Of This Sport

Basketball history facts include that Michael Jordan had to pay a fine for wearing the iconic Air Jordan shoes.

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Basketball is a game played between two teams of five players each on a rectangular court.

Each team has to score points by throwing the ball through the opponent's goal - a raised horizontal hoop and a basket net. The primary objective is shooting and scoring through the defender's hoop without allowing the opposing team to shoot through your hoop.

A basketball court could be indoors or outdoors but basketball games are most commonly played indoors. James Naismith had invented basketball to be an indoor sport that was less prone to injuries. A goal from a game is worth two points unless it is scored behind the three-point line where it gets three points. After a foul, play is stopped, and the player who has been fouled is awarded one, two, or three free throws per point. The team with the maximum points at the end of the game wins, but extra time is required if the regular match is a draw.

The five players on each basketball team fall into five play positions. The tallest player is usually standing in the center, the second tallest and strongest is the power forward, the slightly smaller but agile player is the little striker, and the lowest player or the best ball wrestler is the shooter. The point guard executes the coach's game plan, playing offensive and defensive play.

The surface of the ball used in the game of basketball is commonly ribbed. These ribs are usually marked in a contrasting color to the rest of the ball - like the famous orange ball with eight black panels.

If you like reading this article, check out our other articles such as basketball facts for kids and basketball facts NBA.

What are some basketball history facts?

Basketball was invented long ago in December 1891 by Dr. James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts, to condition young athletes indoors during the colder months.

Naismith was a physical education teacher at YMCA International Training School (now known as Springfield College in Massachusetts).

At the request of his superior, Naismith was tasked with developing an indoor sports game that helped athletes stay in shape even in cold weather. The first basketball game was originally played with a peach basket and a soccer ball.

Initially, basketball hoops were installed on the balcony so that spectators often interfered with the game by hitting the ball when the team opened fire. The first basketball hoops were peach baskets that had closed ends. This means that the referee had to remove the ball after every basket.

Originally, the game was designed to be played in two sessions - 15 minutes each - with a five-minute break in between.

On Dec 21, 1891, Naismith finally published the rules for a new game with five basic ideas and thirteen rules. One day he asked his class to play in the Armory Street Square with a soccer ball and two baskets of peaches.

Someone suggested calling it a Naismith game, but then it was suggested, 'We have a ball and a basket, why don't we call it basketball?'

After a lot of chasing, William R. Chase managed to shoot from the middle of the court. In that historic contest, that shoot was the only score. After this, the first official basketball game was played at Springfield College.

Some Distinctive Basketball History Facts

In its early years, basketball was widespread among all YMCA and then became one of the most popular games in high schools and colleges of the U.S.

Professional basketball teams emerged, including the Harlem Globetrotters. This team is still around today, but these professionals mostly benefited from show play without a solid league.

Then in 1946, the BAA (Basketball Association of America) was founded. The first match was played on Nov 1, 1946, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, between the Toronto Huskies and the New York Knickerbockers.

The BAA (Basketball Association of America) merged with the National Basketball League (NBL) three seasons later to form the now-famous National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1949. By the '50s, basketball had become a mainstream game in colleges.

In Springfield, Massachusetts, the Basketball Hall of Fame was established in 1959.

The American Basketball Association, a new organization, was formed in 1967, and until the ABA and the NBA merged in 1976, the ABA briefly threatened the dominance of the NBA. Today the NBA is the largest professional basketball league in the world in every aspect. In terms of talent, popularity, competition, and salary. Many young kids dream of becoming a NBA player.

One of the interesting facts of basketball is that slam dunks were deemed illegal in 1967 due to injury concerns of basketball players. Nine years later, they were legalized again.

Special Basketball History Facts

The game was initially played very differently when basketball was invented with many changes introduced over the years relating to basketball rules and regulations. Take a look at a few more interesting facts on basketball history.

The 1979 NCAA tournament marks the point when basketball became really popular. College basketball remains one of the most definitive and popular sports today, but viewers remember the 1979 Michigan State vs. Indiana College basketball game during the NCAA tournament, which was one of the highest-rated games in the history of the sport.

In NBA history, the longest game ever lasted 78 minutes, and it included six overtimes. It was held on Jan 6, 1951, between Indianapolis and the Rochester Royals Olympians. The Olympians ended up winning the game 75-73.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had a total of 38,387 points and became the leading scorer in NBA history at the time of his retirement age in 1989.

Michael Jordan's shoe became an icon and had a record number of sales. However, according to the NBA dress code, these shoes were not allowed on the court. Every time Michael Jordan wore the shoes he was forced to pay a fine. And after a few times, the NBA decided to allow him to wear the shoes on the court.

In the history of the NBA, the first three-point shot was made on Oct 12, 1979, by the Boston Celtics against the Houston Rockets. It was the same game that marked the debut of Celtics legend Larry Bird.

NBA players' average salary is estimated to be $ 7.7 million, as of 2021.

Coach Paul Westhead is the first coach to win both the men's and women's championships, in NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers and in the WNBA with the Phoenix Mercury team.

The Chicago Bulls won all six NBA finals in which they participated between 1991-98.

As one of the greatest NBA players of all time, Wilt Chamberlain set a one-game points record. In a single NBA game, he scored 100 points on Mar 2, 1962, against the New York Knicks. To date, no player has been able to break his record. Kobe Bryant came close to breaking the record with 82 points in the 2006 game played against the Toronto Raptors.

What about women's basketball facts?

Basketball was initially considered a strength and endurance sport not reserved for women.

On Mar 21, 1893, the first women's basketball in college was played at Smith College, Massachusetts. Back then, it was considered inappropriate for men to watch women exercise, so all doors to the gym were locked. The development of women's basketball in the early years was more structured than that of men's.

In 1905, the American Physical Education Association formed the Basketball Rules Executive Committee.

The rules for women have changed many times over the years. In 1971 there were teams of six players, and the court was divided so that three strikers played on the frontcourt and scored all the goals while the three guards covered the backcourt.

Despite many obstacles, women's basketball is gradually gaining support. In the '70s, the rules for women were changed to reduce the number of teams from six to five, and women were freed from the restrictions on the half-court play. The level of individual skill and competition increased rapidly.

Basketball for women became an Olympic sport in 1976 and in 1978, the National Women's Basketball Association (WNBA) was formed. The WNBA held its first eight-team season in 1997. By 2006 the WNBA had grown to 14 teams. Professional basketball for women is played in the summer months.

Inspirational Basketball History Facts

Every sport inspires us differently, and in many cases, some players become idols for the fans. Let's take a look at some famous stories of well-known basketball players.

Paul Pierce is a legendary Celtic player, but he was once a young newbie basketball player that a lot of people in Boston didn't believe in. In 2000, as he was entering his third year in the league, Pierce was stabbed at a Boston club. The stab resulted in a very deep wound to the sternum that required surgery. Interestingly, while the incident occurred a little over a month before the start of the season, Pierce didn't miss any games that season.

Nancy Lieberman is currently the head coach of Texas Legends, a subsidiary of the Dallas Mavericks NBDL. This made Lieberman the first woman to coach a professional men's basketball team. She is an inspiration for many women who want to make a name in the sport.

Bill Russell has enough NBA rings to fill a small bowl (11) and is a famous NBA player. As a player, he always stepped up his game when it mattered, whether that be late in the game, late in the playoffs, late in the season, and especially in the NBA Finals. The current NBA Finals MVP trophy bears his name. Russell was a victim of racism from an early age and during his time with the Celtics. He supported the Black Power movement and even backed Muhammad Ali when he refused to fight in the Vietnam War. He also became the first African American head coach in NBA history.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for basketball history facts, then why not take a look at Brazil sports facts or ancient Greek sports facts.


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Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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