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What is Basketball?

Basketball is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and consists of two teams with five active players on each team.

Points are scored by passing or bouncing a ball down the court and scoring a "goal" by shooting the ball through a basket 10 feet high.

Physical contact is not allowed and there are restrictions on how to handle the ball.

Although primarily an indoor sport it has become increasingly popular as an outdoor sport in inner cities and rural groups.

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"Who Was James Naismith?"

In 1891, Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian PE student and instructor at the YMCA Training School in Springfield Massachusetts, USA was looking for a physically demanding and challenging sport to keep his students at the correct level of fitness through the winter months.

However most of the games at the time he considered either too rough or poorly suited to an indoor gymnasium so he devised his own rules for a new game that incorporated rules from a Canadian game called "Duck on a Rock".

He nailed a peach basket to a 10 foot track which was used for players to shoot the ball into.

Originally the basket kept its bottom so the ball had to be poked out once a "basket" was scored. Initially a soccer ball was used and whenever a basket was scored the team earned a point and the team achieving the most points won the game. >p>

"The Beginnings of a National Sport"

The very first official game of basketball was played a the YMCA in Springfield on January 20, 1892.

Each team had nine players and the court was about half the size of a present day court.

Despite Naismith's misgivings and apprehensions that the game wouldn't be popular it caught on from the beginning and became very popular within a short period of time.

This was mainly due to it being dispatched to YMCAs throughout the USA and Canada.

Although the YMCA was largely responsible for the games rapid growth and popularity within a decade it began to discourage the sport as the rowdy crowds and rough play were not "fitting" to their image.

But by this time basketball had become an established sport with amateur sports clubs, colleges and professional clubs quickly picking it up.

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Initially soccer balls were used and dribbling, or running with the ball, wasn't introduced into the game until the 1950's and up to then the ball was advanced only through means of passing it from player to player.

This was mainly due to the balls that were being used often being non-symmetrical and harder to hold.

"The Founding of the NBA"

By 1910, due to the high number of injuries, President Roosevelt suggested that a governing body be formed and so the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States was born.

Throughout the 1920's there were hundreds of men's professional basketball teams throughout the U.S.A but there was little organization with players frequently switching teams and games being played in smoky dance halls and armories.

The first mens national championship tournament was organized in 1937. In 1946 the Basketball Association of America was formed which later, 1949, became the National Basketball Association.

The NBA since has gone from strength to strength since it's humble beginnings and has become one of the fastest growing sports in the world with it's popularity and spread growing particularly fast in Europe and especially the UK.

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