You’re thinking the same question…. Who invented basketball? Were you wondering how did basketball start? Which country started basketball? The history of basketball, the actuall ball and how the first ball was used and what steps were taken to modify it. I’ve done all the research so for you so can stop wondering. Lets get started.
There wasn’t actually a basketball for the basketball game – a soccer ball was used because a basketball didn’t exist. Players threw a soccer ball into a peach basket to score points. The basketball game’s inventor wanted a sport that students can play indoors during Massachusetts harsh winter – basketball was invented because it was too cold to play baseball or football outside. Basketball was first played in 1891 at the YMCA training school in Springfield, Massachusetts.
He hoped the game would help players work on hand-eye coordination, running, shooting, jumping and ball handling without player contact.
The First Basketball - First Game Ball
The basketball game was invented by a doctor and a physical education teacher, James Naismith in 1891. He was instructed by the Chairman of the Physical Education Department at the School for Christian Workers (now known as Springfield College), to invent a game that could entertain the schools athletes even during the winter season. Naismith was a genius; he made two 9-player teams, appointed two captains and set in motion the first ever game of basketball.
The game was played in the gymnasium of the college as there wasn’t a specified basketball court back then. The basketball game got famous with time, but it didn’t get bounce much. To earn a point, the player has to throw the ball into peach baskets hung on both ends of the gym.
History of the First Basketball - Spalding Basketball - What did the first basketball look like?
In 1884, after three years the game was introduced by James Naismith, he wanted a proper ball to play ball, so he asked A.G Spalding & Bros to design a ball specifically for the basketball game. Spalding is the pioneer in making sporting items, including balls. They came up with an excellent design. They created a leather ball that was sewn together with laces, having a rubber bladder inside. The ball weighed a bit less than 20 ounces, and it was a brown colour.
The first basketball had a circumference of 32 inches, which was four inches larger than a standard soccer ball.
With time, the game didn’t just get popular, but the rules changed along with the ball’s shape and design. In 1937 the laces were removed from the ball. There isn’t much information why the laces were removed, but there is information that it was done by Chuck Taylor, who was a basketball player and a coach. He invented a basketball without stitches, and this version of the basketball looked way better and its bounce was much improved.
For many years, the basketball’s covering was made of leather, but in the late 1990s, synthetic composite materials were used. The balls made with this material gained rapid acceptance in most leagues. The American Basketball Association (ABA) made use of a distinctive red, white and blue basketball from 1967 through to 1976, which is still seen in current games from time to time.
Development and Modifications - Changes of the Basketball
Both players and the audience didn’t like the dark brown colour basketball because of the low visibility. Tony Hinkle, a basketball coach from the Butler University suggested making a basketball that was bright in colour and had more visibility so the players and audience can see the ball clearly in low light.
Spalding took action on his recommendation and made the first orange basketball in 1957, that was much more visible due to its bright colour. In 1958, the ball debuted at NCAA finals in Louisville, Kentucky. The NCAA was highly impressed with the visibility of the ball that they standardized the orange colour for the official basketball ball.
Molded construction was introduced in the basketballs in 1948, and laces went by the wayside. The ball’s design was modified again by changing its traditional four panels to eight. This design was adopted by the NBA as its official ball design in 1970. Not only this, but the NBA also adopted Spalding’s ball design as its official ball in 1970 that had full-grain leather on the outside. It was easier to grip compared to the previous balls.
The basketball balls are not only made of leather, but also synthetic rubber or rubberized materials. Specialized basketball are also made for smaller players, high school players, and the exclusive outdoor or indoor use.
Characteristics of the Ball
Almost all official basketball balls have an inflated inner rubber bladder, wrapped in layers of fiber, and encased in either leather, rubber, or a synthetic composite. These inflatable balls have a small opening that allows increasing or decreasing the pressure.
The traditional color scheme of most basketballs is an orange surface with black ribs along with the manufacturer’s logo. However, basketballs around the world are sold in various colors.
Basketballs that are designated for indoor are usually made of leather or absorbent composites while all-surface balls are made of rubber or durable composites, which can be used for both indoor and outdoor. However, due to the cost of materials, indoor balls tend to be more expensive compared to all-surface balls.
If you are a basketball player, you must know that an all-leather ball must be “broken in” first to achieve optimal grip before using it in a match. This scenario is similar to brand new tires; they also require some time on the road before they gain excellent road grip – this is known as the “break-in” period.
For recreational players, an outdoor ball is recommended because using an indoor ball in an outdoor setting will ruin the ball within a short period of time due to the abrasiveness of asphalt, dirt and moisture present outside.
History of 3x3 Basketball - Street ball
3×3 basketball is also referred to as streetball. It is usually played out on concrete or hard surfaces. It tends to have a much faster speed than NBA basketball. According to the rule of FIBA, a 3×3 ball should be size six but should weigh as a ball of size seven. In 2015, FIBA announced that the blue-yellow basketball by Wilson would be used as the official 3×3 ball for all the games.
This blue-yellow 3×3 basketball by Wilson was equipped with Wave Triple Threat Technology that made the balls waterproof and enabled them to have optimized grip, hence easier to control than other 3×3 balls.
Timeline of the History of Basketball (1891-2006) - Important Events
- 1891: Dr. James Naismith invents the game of basketball. The game was played with a soccer ball and thrown into the peach baskets.
- 1894: Naismith requests A.G Spalding & Bros to make the first-ever basketball for the game.
- 1937: Spalding removes the laces from the official basketball’s design.
- 1970: The official ball’s traditional four panels move to eight.
- 1983: NBA announces Spalding’s full-grain leather ball as the official ball of the NBA.
- 1997: Spalding introduces a new design and color for basketball – Oatmeal and orange game ball. It was used by the Women’s National Basketball Association. The ball featured Spalding’s ZK microfiber composite over.
- 2001: Spalding invents a basketball with a built-in pump that became the official NBA Development League’s ball.
- 2006 (Feb 17): Joseph Odhiambo dribbles the Spalding NeverFlat ball for more than 26 hours at NBA All-Star 2006, setting a new Guinness World Record.
- 2006 (June 28): NBA and Spalding introduce a new official game ball that featured Cross Traxxion Technology.