Here are 5 fun facts about Basketball history:
Basketball originated in 1891 when a future Presbyterian minister named James Naismith (1861-1939) was assigned to teach a physical education class at a Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) training school in Springfield, Massachusetts. The class was known for being disorderly, so Naismith invented the game to keep the young men occupied. It was also a benefit to have a game they could play inside during cold winter days.
According to a book by Alexander Wolff, “100 Years of Hoops”, Naismith drew up the rules for the game in “about an hour.”
Basketball is played by more than 250 million people worldwide in some organized fashion. This does not include the many other individuals who play in “pick-up” games.
Naismith’s legacy included the first great college basketball coach, Forrest “Phog” Allen (1885-1974), who played for Naismith at the University of Kansas and went on to win 771 games as a coach at Kansas himself. Among Allen’s star players was Wilt Chamberlain, who became one of professional basketball’s first superstars.
The first professional basketball league was formed in 1898; players earned $2.50 for home games, $1.25 for games on the road. Almost 100 years later, Juwan Howard, a player for the Washington Bullets (now the Washington Wizards), had competing offers for more than $100 million from the Bullets and the Miami Heat.