The story of basketball is unique among a group of popular games. There is a lot of debate concerning the origins of soccer. There is also must argument with regards to the invention of chess.
But when it comes to basketball, it is a recent invention and it was created well in the modern age making it very easy to trace back its origins and development from its humble beginnings in an American school and its rise to becoming a global icon of what a good ball game is all about.
This paper will look at the events and personalities concerning its creation and development. The proponents geographical skills will also be put on display by showing basketball’s spreading fame from its place of origin and then throughout the world. A map will be provided below for this purpose.
Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian native went to Springfield, Massachusetts, USA to work as an athletics professional. In the YMCA, a training school for Christian Workers Mr. Naismith was confounded with a sports related problem. Every winter time there is virtually nothing to do. Since mankind has evolved into something better than cave dwelling men, it is now possible to dwell in big heated buildings. The improvements made on electricity and electric lamps added convenience to staying indoors (Bellis, 2007). The only problem is that people cooped up inside a limited space would suddenly feel the pressure of pent up energy.
Naismith’s problem is simple, men under his supervision are restless and uncomfortable during the long and bitter winter months. One author said it best, “The YMCA in Springfield … had a class of 20 year olds that were becoming unruly during the winter when they couldn’t go outside to play baseball or run track” (see BetterBasketball, 2007).
Naismith experimented with two peach baskets and a soccer ball. And then he designed a game that could be played in a relatively small space (Laughead Jr., 2007). Not even Naismith was able to predict that the sport will in such a short time. By 1897 both men and women began spreading the good news of basketball throughout the Canada and the U.S. (see The People’s Media Company, 2007).
Even as early as 1892 there are some college women who tried to master the game. In fact, “The first game between two schools was held in … the University of California against Miss Head’s School, Berkeley … in 1896, the first women’s intercollegiate game took place in San Francisco” (Leeson, 2007).
Peter Portero traced the improvement and diffusion of the sport in America through the hands of its inventor and he wrote that James Naismith went into college hoop coaching, “…for six years at the University of Kansas. One of his protégé, Amos Alonzo Stagg, spread the game to the University of Chicago, and Adolph Rupp (a former student in Kansas) became a successful coach at the University of Kentucky (and then) the college leagues began in the 1920’s” (2007). This only means that the popularity is spreading outwards from its origin at Massachusetts to neighboring regions and going as far as Canada.
There is no doubt that the sport is now considered as a global phenomenon. One only has to be reminded that China, a staunch critic of the U.S. could not help but be infected with basketball mania. A testament to that fact is the coming of Yao Ming to this country and a reciprocal move by the NBA to visit China and their desire to play exhibition games there.