Basketball Then and Now


Courtesy Wikimedia Creative Commons

Courtesy Wikimedia Creative Commons

It’s hard to remember Sunday afternoons before the days of TV. Sometimes my father drove us out to the countryside for dinner with his brother or sister.

Today our guys plant themselves in front of the screen, then follow the season from baseball to football, and on to basketball before finally winding up with hockey.

Delancey’s 4/24/14 blog features an excerpt from Wooden: A Coach’s Life by Seth Davis.

“In the late 1800s, many religious scholars viewed athletics as the tool of the devil. But liberal Protestant ministers disagreed—and launched a new movement called ‘muscular Christianity.’ James Naismith, a young minister raised on a farm in Canada, decided he could also have an impact through athletics. He became a teacher at the YMCA training school in Springfield, Massachusetts.”

Naismih wanted a vigorous indoor game to keep his students fit during the long New England winter. Gymnastics was too boring, football and rugby were too rough, and the gym was too small for soccer or lacrosse.

He nailed a wooden peach basket on a 10-foot track at either end of the gym, and left the bottom in the basket. At first the soccer ball had to be retrieved manually after each “basket.” Then he removed the bottom of the basket so the players could poke the ball out with a long dowel after each point..

The players passed the ball back and forth. At first running and dribbling were considered too rough.

So that’s how basketball was invented. Watching Golden State Warriors games is a given around Charlotte, NC, home of Stephen Curry, last year’s MVP player.

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