Sports: James Naismith and Players Essay

Submitted By sommyt123
Words: 1666
Pages: 7

Basketball today is a rim-rattling, slam-dunking, high flying show. Would you believe that the first basketball teams shot at peach baskets? Or that players were not allowed to dribble the ball? The sport of basketball has changed dramatically over the years.

The origin of basketball dates back to one hundred and nine years ago (Tejada 14). The first game was played on December 21, 1891 (Tejada 14). Even back then basketball was a thrilling sport. Although it has changed very much since this date, the basic idea of the game is still the same. The first game was played in Springfield, Massachusetts during the winter season (Swallows). The game was invented in order to keep football players in shape during the off season when it was too cold to go outside (Swallows). It snows quite a bit in the north eastern part of the United States and there were not to many indoor games at this time for children to play. Basketball allowed these students to have something to play and keep themselves in shape.

The game of basketball was designed and founded by Dr. James Naismith (Davis). James Naismith was born on November 6, 1861 in Almonte, Ontario. Much later in life he became a teacher at the International YMCA Training School (“Basketball”). Dr. Naismith was assigned to discover a game that would keep the boys on the football team in shape during the off season (Leiser). Naismith borrowed ideas from the outdoor sports rugby and soccer in order to come up with basketball (Davis). These two sports involved much running and team work. Naismith decided that by combining the two he could come up with a great new game. James died On November 28, 1936 (“Basketball”). This was only three years after seeing the sport that he invented become part of the Olympic Games (Leiser). The pride he must have had in his accomplishments had to of been phenomenal. Just knowing that the training game he invented was placed into the Olympic Games would probably be the greatest achievement of his life.

The original game of basketball had many aspects that no longer exist in the modern day version.. The first game had only thirteen rules (Leiser). These rules were posted on his gym classes bulletin board for all of his students to read and memorize (Leiser). Although all of the original rules are not known today some of them were very odd. Players were not allowed to dribble the ball (Davis). Players had to stand stationary and pass the ball to each other. This must have given the game a slower pace than that of the modern day game. When dribbling was finally established it gave the players more freedom to move about and made the pace much faster. Dribbling also required the players to become more skilled so that they could handle the basketball as they played the game. At first Naismith was afraid if he let the kids dribble the ball that they would end up tackling each other which might result in many unwanted injuries (Tejada 17). The kids were so used to playing football that Naismith feared they would treat his game as if it were indoor football. He did not want to see any of his students injured so he did not allow his players to dribble. The first ball used in basketball games was actually a soccer ball (Tejada 17). This ball was used because it was small enough to handle with your hands and soft enough that it would not hurt the players if they were to get hit.

It is hard to picture playing basketball where the hoops were made from peach baskets. The basket has gone through its own evolution. Naismith had two peach baskets nailed to the balcony on both sides of the gym (Leiser). Naismith left the bottoms in the peach baskets and had janitor stand on the balconies to retrieve any made shots. As time progressed Naismith had the bottoms of the peach baskets removed so they did not have to rely on janitors to retrieve made shots ( Davis). Removing the bottoms of the baskets allowed the game to become much faster. There were no longer pauses