Basketball: from the “Y” to an international sport

By Andrew Pankratz
Times-News correspondent

   It was 1891. The YMCA had a particularly unruly class of boys in attendance.
Dr. James Naismith had been given a specified period of 14 days to find an indoor game to keep them busy during cold months. He set to work and ended up inventing a brand-new game called basketball.
Unlike many other sports, Naismith’s game started out regulated, instead of becoming popular first, and then having regulations imposed as it became professionalized. His original 13 rules banned running with the ball, a rule which has been modified to allow players to run the ball, as long as they dribble it.
   When Naismith invited the class into the gymnasium, they found a new game — one which used soccer balls and peach baskets. Hence the name basketball.
Basketball quickly took off.
According to History Of … (, Geneva College’s basketball team played the first game of college basketball. Geneva College, based in Beaver Falls, Pa., still considers itself to be the birthplace of college basketball. Only seven years after Naismith conceived of the sport, basketball was professionalized.
As the years rolled on, rules, equipment and styles of play changed so much that, according to, Naismith probably wouldn’t even recognize his creation today. One modification was cutting the bottom of the peach baskets out. Another included designing a ball specifically to play basketball with. Today, basketball is an international sport played by more than 300 million people in an organized setting and countless more play it “backyard” style.

Andrew Pankratz is home-schooled sophomore and a Teens & 20s writer.

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