Basketball is not only the best ball game, but it’s also a sport with a huge backstory. There have been many moments in the history of basketball that you probably haven’t heard of.
Basketball requires a great deal of stamina, a pumped-up team spirit, and a lot of skill to beat your opponents and take the game win. Let’s travel back to 1891 to take a look at the beginnings of basketball as a sport and remember the highlights of its history. In this article you’ll find 10 of the most interesting facts, read on and see which ones you weren’t familiar with.
1. BASKETBALL WAS INVENTED BY A GYM TEACHER.
Let’s start with the most familiar to many people fact. Physical education teacher James Naismith invented basketball. It happened in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts. To dilute his students’ boring gymnastics classes, Naismith was forced to invent a new game that ended up having a huge impact on the development of world culture.
2. BASKETBALL WAS PLAYED WITH A DIFFERENT BALL
It’s hard to believe now, but basketball was originally played with a soccer ball. Peach baskets were used instead of our usual baskets, and referees had to remove the balls from them after each score. Baskets with nets appeared only in 1900. At the same time, basketball backboards were invented to protect the ball and basket from interactions with spectators.
3. DRIBBLING WAS BANNED
Dribbling was originally forbidden in basketball. Instead, each player had to shoot to the basket from where he caught the ball. It was not until 1897 that the Yale team used dribbling for the first time as a means of advancing the ball. This element caught on in the game and 4 years later was fixed in the rules.
4. NO LIMITS ON LINEUPS
Originally, there were no clear rules on the number of people on each team in basketball. Naismith wanted the game to be fairly free and anyone could participate. For a while, the default total number of players was 18. Subsequently, basketball came to our familiar 5×5 format and then revolutionized to 3×3 as well.
5. TEN YEARS WITHOUT DUNKS
One of the most spectacular elements of the game, the slam dunk was officially banned before the 1967-1968 season. This restriction lasted until the 1976-77 season. We think it was one of the most boring decades in the history of the game.
6. BASKETBALL WAS A ROUGH GAME
Imagine that until 1910, pushing, holding, tripping, and hitting an opponent didn’t count as fouls. It was in that year that this madness ended with the introduction of the player disqualification rule for 4 fouls accumulated. The number of fouls increased to 5 in 1946, and the following year it became 6.
7. REFEREES HAD A WATCH
Basketball referees not only had to follow the game, but also constantly controlled time, so they carried clocks with them. Only total time was counted, 24 seconds per attack did not exist back then. This innovation came to basketball in 1954 to add momentum to the game.
8. THE 1979 NCAA TOURNAMENT WAS THE BEGINNING OF THE NBA TAKEOFF
Many people know that college basketball in the United States has tremendous audience popularity, but it reached its peak in 1979, when Michigan State and Indiana College played each other in the season finale. And that game is still one of the most popular college basketball games in history. The interest in the game was sparked primarily by the duel between the then very young Magic Johnson (Michigan) and Larry Bird (Indiana). Subsequently, it was this confrontation of players that would become the NBA’s premier game of the 1980s and would take the league to a whole new level of popularity.
9. NO THREE-POINTERS
The indispensable modern element of basketball, the three-point shot, did not appear in the game until 1961. Before that all shots were scored at 2 points and free throws at 1 point. Naturally the playing surface was also very different. Three-point shots were first introduced in East Professional Basketball League games and in 1968 basketball players’ long-range volleys were officially enshrined in the NBA rules.
The three-point shot did not appear in the game until 1961
10. $5,000 FINE FOR PLAYING IN AIR JORDAN
The iconic Air Jordan 1 sneakers were not always popular. The NBA leadership did not like this model in particular in the mid-1980s, when His Holiness Michael Jordan replaced the common white sneaker with a red and black model. The league did not like this turn of events, and Jordan had to pay a $5000 fine for every outing in “out of regulation” sneakers. It is worth noting that Michael himself has not paid a penny, because all fines, which caused a huge stir in the public and were a kind of advertising sneakers, paid Nike.