In 1891, James Naismith, a physical education instructor, was thinking about new ways of providing exercise for the young men. He nailed peach baskets onto the balconies at either end of a gymnasium and challenged his student to throw a soccer ball into them from below. Thus modern basketball was born.
Springfield, Massachusetts a 30-year-old Canadian immigrant to the USA, James Naismith, was ordered to invent an indoor game for high-spirited young men at the School for Christian Workers (later the YMCA).
Women’s basketball all began exactly two days later when female teachers to the gym were captivated by the game but it wasn’t until 1895 that the current game of netball was well and truly shaped. When Clara Baer, a sports teacher in New Orleans, wrote to Naismith asking for a copy of the rules, the subsequent rules package contained a drawing of the court with lines pencilled across it, simply to show the areas various players could best patrol. But Baer misinterpreted the lines and thought players couldn’t leave those areas! In 1899 her mistake was ratified into the rules of women’s basketball as zones.
Three-bounce dribbling had quickly been extended in the men’s game (which didn’t have no-go zones), but it was seldom used in the women’s version when it reached Britain and the Empire. In fact, there was no pressure to increase that form of ball movement and in the end dribbling simply ceased to exist.
Netball was first played in England in 1895 at Madame Ostenburg’s College. In the first half of the 20th century, Netball’s popularity continued to grow, with the game being played in many British Commonwealth countries. There were no standard rules at that time with both nine-a-side and five-a-side versions of the game.
The metal hoop (ring) was introduced in 1893 and soon thereafter the use of a soccer ball was replaced by the first basketball. A modern basketball measures 24 cm (9 1/2 inches) in diameter and 75 to 76 cm (29 1/2 to 30 in) in circumference, and weighs about half-a-kilogram (20 to 22 oz). The metal orange hoops measure 45,7 cm (18 in) in diameter. The synthetic ball has a grippable, pebbled surface.
The dimensions of the indoor playing basketball floor are 15,2 by 28,6 m (50 by 94 ft) for professional and college play, 15,2 by 25,6 m (50 by 84 ft) for high schools, and 12,8 by 22,5 m (42 by 74 ft) for junior high schools. The markings for the international court vary.
A form of basketball was played for hundreds of years before modern basketball was introduced. The remuneration was also quite different from what today’s stars get. In Mayan times (300 – 900 AD), a player who scored a goal could claim the property of any spectator that he could catch.
Basketball is the most popular spectator sport in the Philippines, but not the USA, where more people attend professional football, baseball and bowling matches.