How Technology Has Made Basketball Better

When James Naismith invented basketball back in 1891, it was a completely different game from what it is today. In fact, the first game of “basket ball” ever played had nine players – not five – and used a soccer ball, not a ball designed specifically for the game like we have today. Yes, the famous peach baskets were really there, but the original 13 rules that Naismith set out for the game would make it hard to recognize today. To start with, the ball could only be moved up the court by passing – dribbling wasn’t allowed – and every basket was followed by a jump-off at center court. It’s amazing how far things have come from that first game at Springfield College.

One of the biggest forces for change in basketball has been technology. For instance, think about just how different the game is today now that we have the instant replay. While some purists still struggle with this, the truth is that it makes for a fairer game that is determined by the skill of the players, rather than the referee’s ability to see the play. This is a relatively recent innovation – the instant replay only came in for the 2002/2003 season after what happened in the Western Conference finals the previous season. Anyone who remembers the number of wrong calls that were made in Game 6 of the series between the Lakers and the Kings – and the allegations of corruption that followed – will know exactly how important the instant replay is for the game.

Another perfect example of how technology has made basketball immeasurably better is the breakaway rim. Back in the early 1980s, it seemed that the backboard was being shattered every second game. Not only was this dangerous, it led to long delays and some games were even canceled. Of course, it is spectacular when a backboard shatters, but when the fans have been sitting there for an hour waiting for the backboard to be replaced, it’s not so much fun anymore. When the breakaway rim was introduced in 1983, this put a stop to the madness. Rather than the backboard shattering every time a player grabbed the rim, now the rim simply bent and snapped back into place when it was released. It’s pretty rare to see a shattered backboard nowadays, and the game is much better because of it.

Of course, these are only a couple of examples – there are many more, such as the shot clock. What is interesting is to speculate what might come next. For example, while NBA games are still played on hardwood surfaces, there is an increasing interest in basketball courts made of synthetic materials. These offer a number of real advantages, such as far better grip. While this may seem a bit far-fetched to some people, former greats such as Scottie Pippen have come out in favor of these types of surfaces. If you are still skeptical, think back to the time when all players wore canvas sneakers – and then remember how Michael Jordan and Nike revolutionized basketball footwear. Jordan might have had to pay a $5000 fine every game to do it, but now we would be amazed if someone showed up in an old pair of Converses at an NBA game.

Bulls Hit Hard By Rose Blow

Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose will undergo his second major knee operation in under two years after tearing suffering a medial meniscus tear in his right knee, ruling the point guard out for the rest of the season and denting the franchise’s hopes of success, according to Betfair’s odds. Just 19 months after tearing the ACL in his right knee, the 2011 NBA MVP will now be forced to prepare for another lengthy spell of rehab in his bid to return from his latest injury.

Rose sustained the injury during the 98-95 defeat to Portland Trail Blazers, bringing an end to a season in which Rose was averaging 15.9 points and 4.3 assists in 31.1 minutes per game Rose missed all of last season while recovering from a ligament tear in his left knee during the 2012 playoffs, and the latest injury will be a huge blow to the Chicago-born star.

The 25-year old underwent tests in Los Angeles the following day, which confirmed the tear, but the Bulls head coach, Tom Thibodeau, has thrown his support behind Rose and insisted he is confident the former number-one draft pick will come back from this injury.

“I think his mental toughness is going to serve him well,” Thibodeau told the media this weekend. “Whenever he has faced any adversity, his mental toughness has gotten him through. We expect him to make a full recovery. It’s another bump in the road. He’ll get past it.

“He’s confident. He got through the first rehab. His ACL knee is terrific. So now he has to rehab the other one. He’ll handle that.”

Rose’s injury has played a role in the Bulls’ lengthening NBA odds for both the Eastern Conference and the NBA Championship. That said, this Bulls squad has more than enough talent in it to be able to still be a force this season without Rose, and Betfair customers will still rightly consider Chicago to be in with as good a chance as any this season.

SOUL Headphones

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I was lucky enough to be sent two pairs of SOUL headphones last week and it was love at first listen. They had a slick but subtle style that I really dig and I think their noise canceling abilities are the best I’ve ever used.

I tested them out at the Raptors game last week and they were much better than the iTouch headphones I had been using. When listening to audio from player scrums they did a great job boosting the volume. Then, during the game when the Air Canada Centre DJ was blasting his music, the noise canceling allowed me to listen to the World Series game and not hear anything in the arena.

I’m a huge fan of the SOUL headphones and I understand why Usain Bolt and Tim Tebow endorse them.