Today, Basketball is one of the most recognized sports in the world. Nearly everyone has heard of the NBA and even a few pro league Basketball teams like the Chicago Bulls or the Los Angeles Lakers.

The game has been played for over a century now, so it comes as no surprise that it’s evolved to a point where professionals are making roughly a million dollars every year. But not so long ago, Basketball was a completely different sport. For starters, did you know that at one point the game was played with 9 people on each team? Here are a few more interesting facts about basketball through the ages.

1) A Gym Teacher Invented The Game

A Canadian physical education teacher, James Naismith, is credited to have started Basketball way back in the 1890s. He simply wanted to find a way to keep his gym class occupied on rainy days when they couldn’t go outside to exercise.

James Naismith

James Naismith, The inventor of Basketball

Little did he know that his experiment in physical education class would change the sports world!

2) The Game Actually Had Baskets

When the game first came into existence, the basketball hoops were in fact peach baskets with the bottoms intact. So once someone scored a basket, the officials had to stop the match and retrieve the ball from the basket. The concept of having a net came about only in the early 1900s, probably when some bright guy decided that there were too many pauses in one game.

3) Spectators Would Interfere

The early basketball hoops were nailed to the balcony floor, where the spectators would sit. This posed a problem when eager fans decided to interfere with the shots made by the rival team.

Many teams faced an unfair defeat before people wised up and invented the backboard which is still a part of the game today.

4) Dribbling Wasn’t A Thing

Ever since its inception, Basketball was played with a soccer ball and players would rub coal dust on their hands to grip the ball properly. The soccer ball also did not allow for a lot of dribbling, and players were allowed to hold the ball and move a couple of steps before stopping and tossing it into the hoop.

Basketball dribble

A Basketball star trying to dribble the ball

The modern Basketball was invented only in the 1950s after which dribbling became an integral part of the game.

Also read: 4 Basic BasketBall Dribbles

5) Free Throws Were A Lot Freer

Before 1921, if you got fouled, you could choose the best shooter in your team and have them take the free throw. It’s only after the 1920s that a new rule came into play which stated that the person who got fouled must take the free throw.

Free throw

Image: SportzEdge

6) The Game Was Predominantly White

Earl White, Nat Clifton, and Chuck Cooper were the first African Americans to ever play professional Basketball in the NBA. They played for the Washington Capitals on the 31st of October 1950.

These are a few of the various elements that went into making Basketball the game that it is today. Do you know any more wacky facts about this awesome sport? Let us know in the comments below!

Check out:5 JUGGERNAUTS IN THE HISTORY OF NBA

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Arjun Thomas

I'm a full time bboy and content writer. I love travelling and I'm dedicated to a vegan lifestyle.

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