How Did Basketball Start? – A Short History of Basketball

John Lochert


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The history of basketball began in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts and it was, at that time, considered to be a less injury-prone sport than football. Anyhow, a Canadian physical education instructor James Naismith is the ‘’father’’ of basketball as he established most of the rules and regulations.

This interesting game started as a substitute for football, but as the years passed, basketball grew larger and larger, and it became one of the most popular games in the 20th century. As we can see, America is the place where it all started, but basketball fairly quickly spread throughout the whole world.

In today’s world, basketball surely is one of the most popular and possibly the most interesting sports games that is played in almost every country in the world. Now, let’s see something more about the history of basketball.

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First and Original Rules of Basketball

It may seem a little bit weird at first, but basketball changed lots of regulations and rules over the years. As the game developed, basketball became more interesting and very popular in the whole world. Now, let’s see some of the original rules of basketball and how did basketball start.

Throwing – Player can throw a ball in any direction with both or with one hand.

Running – No player is allowed to run with the ball. A player must throw the ball from the place where he caught it.

Holding – A player must hold the ball in between the hands.

Not allowed – Shouldering, holding, tripping, pushing, or in any way obstructing other players. The first infringement of this rule is considered a foul. The second one will disqualify the player until the next goal.

Foul – Striking a ball with a fist is considered a foul, or breaking other rules as well.

Auto goal – If one team makes three fouls in a row, another team is rewarded with a goal.

A goal – A goal or a point is made when a player throws a ball in the basket and it stays there.

Time – The game is played in two halves, both of the halves are fifteen minutes long. There is a five-minute rest period.

Winner – The team with the most goals scored is the winner.

Now, as we can see, these rules are definitely different from what we are able to see in today’s basketball. Anyhow, every rule that James Naismith made was very important for the basketball to grow bigger.

People actually liked this sport from the beginning since it is not violent and it has fewer injuries than football which was popular at that time. All in all, basketball really became a sport that is played across the globe.

Contributing to Basketball

One of the most important roles in the history of basketball was played by YMCA. The Young Man’s Christian Association really helped in spreading the word about basketball which made it the popular sport that it is today. It all started when the rules were printed in some College magazine in the USA, and it was later mailed to the YMCA. The YMCA did its job and spread the word about basketball, so a big part of Europe was playing it as well.

This all came down to introducing a basketball to the whole world which everyone actually loved. It was not long after that that basketball was officially considered a permanent sport. Back in 1905, basketball became official and everyone played it. It is safe to say that America is the place where did basketball originate.

Who else Helped?

Possibly the greatest level of early basketball was played in American Colleges. It all started with the introduction that James Naismith did, so the game actually spread all throughout the American colleges. They started playing against each other for practice and later on they formed leagues and tournaments between them.

It was the Vanderbilt University that first played basketball against an outside opponent. It all started to grow and they all started matching between states and playing this game. The first-ever recorded game in American Colleges was played in 1895. In this game, Hamline University played against Minnesota A&M and Minnesota won the game.

However, this was all happening in America while the rest of the world was playing other sports. So, when other countries started playing basketball, it was a matter of time until the first international game was played. In that light, the first international game was played in 1909 between Mayak Saint Petersburg and YMCA American team.

FIBA beginning

As the game progressed, one international organization was formed in 1932 in order to coordinate the teams that are supposed to play. The birth of FIBA really made this game progress even faster and everyone thought that FIBA is doing a really good job.


Everyone was playing basketball already, and it was not long until America got its first big state league. The NBA started in 1946 and this league really made it easier for American teams to play against each other. The National Basketball Association is the most significant professional basketball league in the world right now.

ABA –American Basketball Association

Later on, ABA was formed in 1967 at a time when NBA was really popular and it was growing rapidly. The ABA helped a lot when it comes to regulations and other important stuff that made basketball the game that it is today.
Most people actually are playing this game today because of the changes that ABA did which made basketball a lot more interesting and exciting game.


As we can see, basketball grew pretty fast over the years and it really spread throughout the whole world. Now, this is one of the most popular games that are played in almost every country. Besides that, basketball is one of the sports that are played in the Olympics and lots of other championship sports tournaments.