How Long Has Basketball Been Around For?

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Basketball is one of the most popular sports, played by 450 million people all over the world and 26 million in America alone. In fact, it is the most played team sport in the United States. With its unparalleled popularity, it’s only fair to ask “How long has basketball been around for?” To answer that question, we need to go back to basketball’s roots– back to the Springfield gym in Massachusetts where it all started. 

A Brief History of BasketballA Brief History of Basketball

Basketball began in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts, when it was invented by a Canadian physical education instructor by the name of James Naismith. Naismith also happens to be a physician, and got his medical degree seven years after he invented the game of basketball. The basketball game became established and grew very popular as the 20th century went forward.

Obviously, the game originated in America and was brought to the other parts of the world. As basketball became a draw in American colleges, the professional game followed. The National Basketball Association (NBA) was founded in 1946 and grew to be a multibillion-dollar business by the end of the century. Basketball became a fundamental part of American culture.

When was Basketball InventedWhen was Basketball Invented?

The fateful day was Dec. 21, 1891. Naismith thought of a game to keep his students fit in the winter, and that can be played indoors. Hence, he thought of shooting a soccer ball on peach baskets, which was later known as basketball.

It is a team sport, most commonly five players each that rivals one another, which is the primary objective of shooting a basketball on a rectangular court.

Who Invented BasketballWho Invented Basketball?

Basketball was invented by Dr. James Naismith, an instructor, and professor of physical education at the Young Men’s Christian Association Training School (YMCA) in Springfield, Massachusetts. He tries to keep his gym class busy during the rainy season, a time where they could not go out and play soccer. He looked for indoor games to maintain his student’s interest and the right levels of fitness.

Who is James NaismithWho is James Naismith?

Dr. James Naismith invented the basketball game that was directed by his superintendent to create a game to engage the students. His superior pushed Naismith to develop new ideas from other sports like rugby, soccer, and football for him to keep his job.

That was the moment he created the game of basketball. 

First, the game was played consisting of 18 players, the exact number of students in his class. He split them into two teams and used a soccer ball and a peach basket as a goal. Initially, there was no dribbling or running with the ball, and the courts were pretty small, too.

What Were the Rules of Basketball at the TimeWhat Were the Rules of Basketball at the Time?

There are 11 golden rules to follow in the basketball game, as Dr. Naismith outlined:

What Were the Rules of Basketball at the Time

1. The ball must pass in any control with your hands.

2. The ball may hit in any direction with hands, not your fists.

3. The player may not run with the ball and must stop immediately after running and catching the ball.

4. The ball must be carried with hands and no other body part.

5. The first offense is a foul second player disqualified until the team scores and no hitting and pushing.

6. A score was made when the ball stayed in the basket. Not allowed to disturb the basket or it counts.

7. Three successive fouls count as a goal for the opposing team.

8. The player has only 5 seconds to inbound the ball into the court if it exceeds its a turnover.

9. Thirty minutes in a full game with two halves. Five minutes rest in between

10. the teams would have most goals is the winner

11. the referee decides all calls.

How Long Has the NBA Been Around ForHow Long Has the NBA Been Around For?

The National Basketball League (NBA) was founded in the United States in 1949, a professional basketball league created by two rival organizations, the National Basketball League (NBL), founded in 1937, and the Basketball Association of America (BAA), founded 1946.

The NBA holds four teams from the American Basketball Association (ABA), which unfortunately folded that year.

In the following years, the 1980s, the NBA was troubled by money-drop franchises, low presence, reduced television ratings, and restricted national interest. After almost a decade, ABA merged with the NBA and brought over 4 of their most successful franchises that afford to compete with the big leagues and salary cap. Teams consist of the San Antonio Spurs, New York Nets, Indiana Pacers, and the Denver Nuggets.

How Long Has the NCAA Been Around ForHow Long Has the NCAA Been Around For?

The NCAA or National Collegiate Athletic Association is an organization that manages and oversees student-athletes from over 1,000 North American institutions and conferences. They also categorize college and university athletic programs in the United States and Canada. It was the year 1852 when the US began intercollegiate sports. 

The NCAA was founded on March 31, 1906, 114 years ago, based out of Indianapolis, Indiana. In its 2016-17 financial year, the NCAA took in $1.06 billion in income, almost 82 percent of which was created by the Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament

The NCAA basketball tournament itself, branded as March Madness, began in 1939. It was the brainchild of Ohio State coach Harold Olsen and has since become America’s most-viewed annual sporting events. 

The current format features 68 teams. The 32 Division 1 conference champions automatically receive berths while the 36 teams are “at-large,” selected by a special NCAA committee. The four lowest-ranked teams and the four lowest at-large bids will play a mini-tournament to determine who will enter the field of 64. From there, 64 teams go to 32, sixteen (Sweet 16), eight (Elite Eight), four (Final Four), and then the champion.

How Long Has the WNBA Been Around ForHow Long Has the WNBA Been Around For?

The Women’s National Basketball Association was found on April 22, 1996, and it is a professional league in the United States. The first WNBA regular season was played from May to September 1997. 

In many ways, the WNBA is the female counterpart of the NBA. It has five teams playing in the same arena as their NBA peers; that includes the Indiana Fever, Phoenix Mercury, Minnesota Lynx, Los Angeles Sparks, and the New York Liberty. The winningest teams in the WNBA are the Comets and the Lynx, accounting for four championships each. That means they are responsible for a third of all the titles that are up for grabs in the league’s 24-year history.

How Long Has FIBA Been Around ForHow Long Has FIBA Been Around For?

How Long Has FIBA Been Around For

The International Basketball Federation that more commonly French acronym (Federation Internationale de Basketball). It was a role by international competition. The FIBA was founded in Geneva on June 18, 1932, and it was officially acknowledged by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

There were eight nations acting as founding members of FIBA. These countries are Italy, Argentina, Greece, Czechoslovakia, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, and Switzerland. FIBA regulates the rules of basketball. It defines the equipment and facilities required, regulates the transfer of athletes across the countries, organizes international competitions, and handles the selection of international referees. 

From the founding eight, there are currently 213 members of FIBA scattered across five zones– Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. However, two of Oceania’s biggest basketball nations, Australia and New Zealand, were admitted to Asa as part of the revamped international program of FIBA.

How long Has a Professional basketball League Been AroundHow long Has a Professional Basketball League Been Around?

In 1898, the first professional basketball league called the National Basketball league (NBL) was founded.

At the time they were only six teams; half of those teams were in Philadelphia called the Clover Wheelmen, Georgetown Nationals, and Hancock Athletic Association. The other three groups are in New Jersey called Millville Glass Blowers, Camden Electric, and Trenton Nationals. It lasted only until 1904 due to the investors backing out and other legal issues.

How Long is a Basketball GameHow Long is a Basketball Game?

The length of time is different and depends on the level of competition you are in. A high school game, a college game, and an NBA game differ on length. International and amateur games have 40 minutes of game time (either divided into four 10-minute quarters or two 20-minute halves). A professional basketball lasts 48 minutes divided into four 12-minute quarters, not including dead-ball situations, half-time breaks, technical timeouts, and other stoppages of play.

NBA games have 48 minutes of regulation time divided into twelve minutes per quarter. However, there is a difference between regulation time and actual time. Just like the other sports, there are timeouts where the game pauses. There are six timeouts to give way for the advertisements on TV for the revenue generation during the break. 

During the postseason, things are also changing there, prone to a higher number of fouls. There are more substitutions to try out different players to come in and out in the game. By doing this, bench players can show their skills on the court to gain some experience and exposure.

Due to these differences, seasonal contests and postseason games last a different amount of time. An NBA regular season game typically lasts at 137 minutes overall, although more stoppages and replay situations can drag the game on. NBA playoff games are even longer, with some games approaching three hours with no overtimes. We have written a comprehensive guide on how long does a basketball game last.

When Did Basketball Become an Olympic SportWhen Did Basketball Become an Olympic Sport?

When Did Basketball Become an Olympic Sport

The game of basketball made its first appearance at the Olympic Games in 1904 in St. Louis as an exhibition sport. It was not officially an Olympic sport then but was an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) event. It wasn’t until 1936 in Berlin where basketball officially became an Olympic sport. In 1972, women’s basketball also became an Olympic event.

USA has controlled international basketball and won all the titles until 1972, where the Soviet Union defeated them at the Munich games. In the women’s event, it was pretty much a two-horse race between the Soviets and the Americans. Soviet Union took gold in 1976, 1980, and 1992 and the Americans won all the other tournaments up until 2016.

In the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, popular players from the National Basketball Association (NBA) were authorized to play for the first time to represent the USA. This team, also known as the “Dream Team” was widely dubbed as the best basketball team that ever played. 

Wrapping Things Up: How Long Has Basketball Been Around For?

The sport that we came to know as basketball began in 1891 when it was invented by the Canadian instructor Dr. James Naismith. The primary reason Naismith created the sport was his students’ fitness levels during the winter season, not to mention the risk of losing his job at the school. First, the game consisted of 18 players who used a soccer ball to shoot into a basket. There was no dribbling or running with the ball all the time, following the 11 golden rules of basketball outlined by Dr. Naismith.

Fast forward today, basketball has legitimately become one of the most popular sports in the world. The NBA has become a billion-dollar business, and games are televised across the globe. In the United States, the NCAA Tournament or March Madness is one of the most-watched yearly sports events. Estimates put March Madness viewers at around 100 million, making it the most popular college sport in America.

In the international stage, FIBA and the Olympics have done an admirable job championing the popularity of the sport. The FIBA World Cup was inaugurated in 1950, while basketball officially became an Olympic sport in the 1936 Berlin Games. From there, basketball has not looked back since.

Thinking more about the history of the sport, we often forget how rich the journey has become. It’s not every day that we sit back and ask the question, “How long has basketball been around for?” Thanks to Dr. James Naismith, this sport that we love has been with us for almost 13 decades now, with no signs of slowing down.

We also answer other frequently answered questions on basketball here.

More interesting basketball FAQ articles here:

> A Comprehensive History of Basketball

> How Many Players are on a Basketball Team?

> NBA 3-Point Line History: How it Changed the Game

> When Does Basketball Season Typically Start?

Hoops Addict
Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

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