I've been watching a basketball tournament this week at the local school. I wondered what the original rules were when basketball was created. This is the only sport that originated in the United States. Back in 1891, someone decided they wanted a good invigorating indoor game. They did not change or adopt the rules of another game, they started from scratch.
Its interesting that it was called Basket Ball originally but over time has evolved into Basketball.
The YMCA training school in Springfield, MA was responsible for the first ever basketball team. Originally they used a soccer ball, had 9 players on each team who adhered to 13 basic rules. These 13 rules were published in the school newspaper.
1. The ball can be thrown in any direction with one or two hands.
2. The ball may be batted in any direction with one or two hands but never with the fist.
3. A player cannot run with the ball.
The player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it, allowance
to be made for a man who catches the ball when running at a good speed
if he tries to stop.
4. The ball must be held in or between the hands; the arms or body must not be used for holding it.
5. No shouldering, holding, pushing,
tripping, or striking in any way the person of an opponent shall be
allowed; the first infringement of this rule by any player shall count
as a foul, the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is made,
or, if there was evident intent to injure the person, for the whole of
the game, no substitute allowed.
6. A foul is striking at the ball with the fist, violation of Rules 3, 4, and such as described in Rule 5.
7. If either side makes three
consecutive fouls, it shall count a goal for the opponents (consecutive
means without the opponents in the mean time making a foul.
8. A goal shall be made when the ball
is thrown or batted from the grounds into the basket and stays there,
providing those defending the goal do not touch or disturb the goal. If
the ball rests on the edges, and the opponent moves the basket, it shall
count as a goal.
9. When the ball goes out of bounds, it
shall be thrown into the field of play by the person first touching it.
In case of a dispute, the umpire shall throw it straight into the
field. The thrower-in is allowed five seconds; if he holds it longer, it
shall go to the opponent. If any side persists in delaying the game,
the umpire shall call a foul on that side.
10. The umpire shall be judge of the men
and shall note the fouls and notify the referee when three consecutive
fouls have been made. He shall have power to disqualify men according to
11. The referee shall be judge of the
ball and shall decide when the ball is in play, in bounds, to which side
it belongs, and shall keep the time. He shall decide when a goal has
been made, and keep account of the goals with any other duties that are
usually performed by a referee.
12. The time shall be two 15-minute halves, with five minutes’ rest between.
13. The side making the most goals in
that time shall be declared the winner. In case of a draw, the game may,
by agreement of the captains, be continued until another goal is made.
During the first game only one person scored a basket. And Yes!!! the first basket was a wooden basket nailed to a balcony but the fact they had to retrieve the ball every time a basket was made slowed down the game. Within a year, they started using wire baskets with no bottom.
Originally, the rules did not allow for any substitutes, nor did the rules set a number of players on each side. The only reason he started with 9 on each side was because 18 students showed up for the PE class.
I always wondered how basketball came about.