General Purpose: The development of basketball.
Specific Purpose: To inform my audience about the sport of basketball and how it evolved
to be one of the world's most popular and widely viewed sports.
Thesis: Basketball’s great history, great players and great teams have revolutionized the
sport into an international sensation.
1. Basketball was invented in December 1891 by the Canadian educator, and physician
James Naismith. Naismith introduced the game when he was an instructor at the Young
Men's Christian Association Training School ,which is now Springfield College in Springfield,
Massachusetts. The request of his superior, Dr. Luther H. Gulick, he organized a vigorous
recreation suitable for indoor winter play. The game involved elements of American
football, soccer, and hockey, and the first ball used was a soccer ball. Teams had nine
players, and the goals were wooden peach baskets affixed to the walls. By 1897
teams of five became standard. The game rapidly spread nationwide and to Canada and
other parts of the world, played by both women and men; it also became a popular informal
outdoor game. U.S. servicemen in World War II (1939945) popularized the sport in many
other countries. In 1934 the first college games were staged in New York City's Madison
Square Garden, and college basketball began to attract heightened interest. By the 1950s
basketball had become a major college sport, thus paving the way for a growth of interest
in professional basketball. By 1949 two subsequent professional leagues, the National
Basketball League and the Basketball Association of America merged to create the
National Basketball Association (NBA).
2. Of the thousands of men who have played in the NBA over the past six decades, most
have been forgettable. Many have been excellent at one or two skills. Some have been
champions. Only a small group have become legends. The Boston Celtics, led by their
center Bill Russell, dominated the NBA from the late 1950s through the 1960s. Wilt
Chamberlain, a center for the Los Angeles Lakers, was another leading player during the
era, and his battles with Russell were eagerly anticipated. Kareem Abdul
Jabbar, also a
center, came to prominence during the 1970s. Jabbar perfected his famed "sky hook" shot
while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers and dominated the opposition.The NBA suffered
a drop in popularity during the late 1970s, but was resuscitated, principally through the
growing popularity of its most prominent players. Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics, and
Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers are credited with injecting excitement into the
league in the 1980s through their superior skills and decades long rivalry. During the late1980s,
Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls rose to stardom and helped the Bulls dominate
the NBA during the early 1990s. Michael Jordan is known world round as “Air Jordan”.
He acquired this nickname by jumping from the free throw line and dunking. This simulated
that he was “flying” through the air. By breaking countless records, winning many NBA
titles and being known world round as the best basketball player there ever was, he has
forever changed the game of basketball. A new generation of basketball stars, including
Lebron James of the Miami Heat and Kevin Durant of the Oakland Thunder, have
sustained the NBA's growth in popularity.
3. So legendary are the teams that comprise the Top 10 Teams in NBA History. The
teams were selected in 1996 by a panel of media members who regularly cover the NBA.
Voters were asked to select the top 10 teams in NBA history, without ranking them, as
part of the NBA at 50 celebration during the '96
97 season.The 10 teams selected averaged
66 wins per season and all went on to win the NBA Championship. Three teams were
selected from the 1960s, one from the 1970s, four from the 1980s and two from the 1990s.