Basketball History: Origin of the Sport
In contrast to other sports, basketball has a clear origin. It is not the evolution from an ancient game or
another sport and the inventor is well known: Dr. James Naismith.
Naismith was born in 1861 in Ramsay township, Ontario, Canada. He graduated as a physician at McGill
University in Montreal and was primarily interested in sports physiology.
In 1891, while working as a physical education teacher at the YMCA International Training School (today,
Springfield College) in the United States, Naismith was faced with the problem of finding in 14 days an
indoor game to provide "athletic distraction" for the students at the School for Christian Workers
(Naismith was also a Presbyterian minister).
James Naismith and the original basketball elements, a soccer ball and a peach basketAfter discarding
the idea of adapting outdoor games like soccer and lacrosse, Naismith recalled the concept of a game of
his school days known as duck-on-a-rock that involved accuracy attempting to knock a "duck" off the top
of a large rock by tossing another rock at it.
Starting from there, Naismith developed a set of 13 rules that gave origin to the game of basketball.
Of course it was not exactly as we know it today. The first game was played with a soccer ball and two
peach baskets nailed 10-feet high used as goals, on a court just half the size of a present-day court. The
baskets retained their bottoms so balls scored into the basket had to be poked out with a long dowel
each time and dribbling (bouncing of the ball up and down while moving) was not part of the original
The sport was an instant success and thanks to the initial impulse received by the YMCA movement,
basketball's popularity quickly grew nationwide and was introduced in many nations. Although Naismith
never saw the game develop into the spectacular game we know these days, he had the honor to
witness basketball become an Olympic sport at the 1936 Games held in Berlin.
Dribbling is an important skill for all basketball players. This skill will allow you to move up and down the
court, maneuver past defenders and execute plays. Proper dribbling requires ball-handling skills and
knowledge of how to spread your fingers for ball control. It is also best if you know how to dribble
equally well with both hands.
In order to score points in basketball, you need to shoot the ball into the hoop. This requires the ability
to properly hold and throw the ball into the air toward the basket while avoiding defenders. A proper
shot requires precise aiming, arm extension and lift from the legs. There are different types of shots you
need to learn, including jump shots, layups and free throws.
Running is a big part of basketball. In a full-court game, you will find yourself running back and forth as
the game quickly transitions between offense and defense. When you have the ball, running will help
you to avoid defenders and get to the basket quicker. On defense, you often will find yourself needing to
run after the opponent, especially during fast breaks.
Passing is another skill that when mastered can help you become a complete basketball player.
Basketball is a team sport that involves finding a teammate who is open for a shot. The ability to pass
the ball to this player can make the difference between scoring and not scoring. Really great passers are
an important part of a basketball team and usually the ones who set up scoring plays.
Jumping is another skill that can define how good a basketball player is. Jumping is involved in offense
during the jump ball in the beginning, while taking shots and sometimes while trying to catch a pass. On
defensive you will need the ability to jump when trying to block a shot or a pass. Being able to out jump
your opponent for a rebound also is important.
Court Dimensions of Basketball
Size of Basketball Court
The two biggest ruling basketball bodies in the world today are the International Basketball Federation
(FIBA) and the National Basketball Association in US (NBA). The FIBA is the world body for basketball
that organizes all the international matches, and has the final say on the fixtures and the results of
matches of any two national teams. It is what we call as the apex body of basketball in the world. The
NBA on the other hand is the apex basketball body in the United States which governs the games played
between two teams in that association. Now these to do not quite agree on the basketball court and
hence there are little differences in some of the basketball court sizes.
To correct this problem, here's an article on basketball court sizes which looks at both the court
Length and Width
Let me start with the length and the breadth of the basketball court. The FIBA defines the length of the
basketball court to be 91.86 ft (28 m) and the length of an NBA court is 94 ft (28.65 m). The breadth of a
FIBA court is 49.21 ft (15 m) and the breadth of an NBA court is 55 ft (15.24 m).
Both FIBA and the NBA agree that the basket should be fixed at a height of 10 ft (3.05 m) from the
The measurements of the restraining circles from where the jump ball is taken in case of a foul to are
agreed upon by both FIBA and NBA. The diameter of the restraining circle is 4 ft (1.22 m).
The center circle is, quite simply, the circle in the center of the court. The diameter of the center circle
as per NBA rules is 12 ft (3.66 m) and as per FIBA rules is 11.81 ft (3.6 m).
Three Point Line
The three-point line is an arc on both sides of the court. If you shoot a basket from behind the threepoint line, your basket will earn 3 points for the team as opposed to the 2 points your basket will get
should you shoot from inside the three point arc. In NBA the three point line is located 23.75 ft (7.24 m)
from the center of the basket. In FIBA, the three point line is presently 20.5 ft (6.25 m) from the center
of the basket, but will be extended to 22.15 ft (6.75 m) after October 2010.
The key area is another part of the basketball court which both the bodies of basketball do not agree on.
The FIBA states that the key area, which is the shaded area on the basketball court ought to be in a
trapezium shape which is 19.69 ft (6 m) long at the end-line and 11.81 ft (3.6 m) at the free throw line.
The NBA court on the other hand has a rectangular key area which is 16 ft (4.88m) at both the end-line
as well as the free throw line.
Free Throw Line
The free throw line, which as the name suggests is a line from behind which a free throw is taken, is 15
ft (4.57 m) from the backboard in NBA while it is 15.09 ft (4.6 m) from the backboard on a FIBA court.