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This Day in Sports History: The First Basketball Game is Played




On December 21, 1891, after much deliberation, James Naismith decided to put his invention to the test. But instead of whirring gizmos and gadgets, his was one made from the sweat and passion of young athletes craving for physical exertion. In a gymnasium in the unassuming Massachusetts town of Springfield, he directed his students in a new game called "basket ball".


Based solely on the 13 Rules that Naismith had recently written, the game was vastly different than what what we are used to today. Instead of five players, the two teams each consisted of nine players on the floor at the same time. Instead of a basketball (which had yet to be invented for another three years), the players used a soccer ball that they launched into a peach basket.



But the ball didn't go through the basket as Naismith hadn't punched holes into the bottoms of the simple wooden products to make them into hoops. Instead, Naismith had to get a ladder and physically take the soccer ball out of the container. Then, after the aforementioned point was made, the two teams would gather at center court for a jump ball.


Yes, times have vastly changed since that afternoon in the old YMCA Training School gymnasium. No longer is the center jump held after every basket and the baskets are no longer baskets but hoops, enriching a sport that has done wonders to bring the world together time and time again.

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