Basketball was invented by the Canadian physical education teacher James Naismith in the United States of America in 1891. Its rules were later reworked and expanded: the first to do so was Senda Berenson Abbott in 1893, who adapted the sport to women.At the 1904 Saint Louis Olympics, the Buffalo Germans, one of the oldest teams, won the demonstration tournament. In 1932 in Geneva, the International Basketball Federation was founded, which, since then has organized the practice of the sport internationally. Just four years later, basketball became an Olympic sport.In 1946, instead, the National Basketball Association (NBA) was born, the most important professional league in the world. In 1957 the European Champions Cup was born and in 1966 the Intercontinental Cup was established. Within a decade, women’s basketball also became an Olympic sport, in Montréal 1976. Finally, in 1989 the professionals were admitted to the Olympic Games, marking a positive turning point for the basketball tournament.Basketball is a sport that, unlike almost all the others, was basically born from the ingenuity of one man, Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian gymnastics professor. In 1891, Naismith was working as a teacher at a YMCA network sports center: the YMCA International Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts.It was at Springfield College that Dr. Luther Halsey Gulick, head of the physical education class, asked Naismith to look for something that would distract and entertain the students during winter gym classes, which were held indoors due to the harsh winter weather. Specifically, Gulick tasked him to invent an easy-to-learn game that could be played indoors, with few opportunities for contact, and that wouldn’t strain the treasury.After about two weeks of work, Naismith wrote five basic principles. They were as follows.The game is played with a round ball, which may be touched only with the hands.Walking with the ball in the hands is not permitted.Players may stand in any position they prefer during the game.No physical contact between players is allowed.The goal is positioned horizontally, up high.On 21 December 1891 Naismith translated these principles into thirteen rules, which became the basis of what the university student newspaper Triangle called: “A new game”. On the same day he organized the first experimental game in history, played by the so-called First Team: a group of 18 players (students of Naismith’s own class), divided into two teams of nine each. The match ended with the result of 1-0.The thirteen rules were published in The Triangle on the 15th.He was asked to look for something that would keep baseball and football players in training during the winter season as an alternative to gymnastic exercises.Inspired in part by a game he had known as a child in Ontario, called Duck-on-a-Rock (literally “Duck on a Rock”), basketball ball (in the early days the two words were split) saw the light of day on December 21, 1891, with a rulebook consisting of thirteen rules, a wicker peach basket hung at either end of the sports center gymnasium, and two teams of nine players. The field was about half the size of the current one. On the same day Naismith organized the first experimental game in history, played between two teams of nine players, the so-called The First Team: ended 1 to 0 thanks to the basket of William Richmond Chase and can be considered as the date of birth of basketball.
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