Basketball Equipment

The sport of basketball is unique in that it was invented by one person, Chaplain James Naismith.


In 1891, whilst working at the Springfield, Massachusetts YMCA Training School, Naismith was tasked with finding a game that could be played inside during the severe winters.  It needed to be played in a small gym and to keep the school’s (American) football team fit.


The first game was played with a soccer ball, peach baskets were used as goals and there were thirteen rules.


Women's basketball began just a year later when Senda Berenson, a physical education teacher at Smith College modified Naismith's rules for women.


The game created quite a buzz keen sports people soon flocked to Springfield to learn the game.  Also, owing to the YMCA’s extensive network, basketball soon spread across the USA and was introduced in many nations from 1893.  The first professional league – the National Basketball League – was formed in the USA in 1898.  The game’s rapid rise saw it first played at the Olympics in 1936 (Berlin).


In 1959 The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, was opened on the site of the first ever game. 


Today global regulations for courts and equipment are pretty tight to ensure a consistent experience for players everywhere.  The sanctioning body for the sport is the International Basketball Association (FIBA).


For example for upper levels of competition, the backboard must be 1,050mm high and 1,800mm wide, made of clear safety glass and outlined in white and the rim opening needs to be in 457mm diameter.


Basketball balls are round and either all orange or two- tone orange and brown.  Both eight and 12 seams of 6.35mm in width or less are permitted.  To be game ready the ball needs to bounce up to between 1,200 and 1,400mm when dropped from a height of 1,800mm.


Men’s basketball balls are between 749 and 780mm in circumference and weigh between 567 and 650g, this size is most commonly referred to as size seven.  For women the ball is smaller and lighter; between 724 and 737mm in circumference and 510 and 567g in weight (size six).


While serious sports fans will follow their own leagues and teams, the team that brought the game into the hearts of a wider audience is the Harlem Globetrotters.  Founded in 1927 the Globetrotters are an exhibition team performing trick shots and clever sequences, theatre and comedy, to audiences the world over.


And the man who has inspired the most people from the game is undoubtedly Michael Jordan.  He led the US teams to Olympic Gold victory in 1984 and 1992, his record score of 5,987 remains unbroken in the NBA and his spirited comebacks in the NBA league have made him a sporting legend.

 

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