Basketball has a clearly defined history and origin. It did not evolve from an ancient sport or another game – it was invented by Dr. James Naismith, a physician who studied physiology at McGill University in Montreal. In 1891, Naismith was working as a PE teacher at the YMCA International Training School (known today as the Springfield College), in the US. He was given two weeks to complete the task of finding an indoor game for students to play during the winter. He tried to create indoor versions of games of lacrosse and soccer but discarded the ideas. After some research and effort, Naismith was able to develop a set of 13 rules for a sport – this sport later came to be known as basketball.
Today, Dr. Naismith’s little winter extracurricular activity has millions of fans all over the world. You can get basketball tickets from here.
The History of Basketball
The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) played an integral role in the history and development of basketball in the US, Canada and the rest of the world – especially in the early stages. Various members from the association are known to have travelled with the knowledge of this game to different parts of the world, including France, China, India, Japan and Persia.
In addition to the YMCA, the US Army also contributed to the spread of this sport. When the First World War broke out in 1914, the US Army was deployed to different parts of Europe. The American Expeditionary Force took basketball with them. Troops, the physical education teachers and the YMCA are credited in increasing the popularity of this sport all across the world.
Basketball in the United States – Formation of the NBA
The National Basketball Association (NBA) was founded in 1946 in New York. It was initially referred to as the Basketball Association of America (BAA) and the name NBA was adopted in 1949, after a merger with the league’s rival, National Basketball League (NBL). The association currently has 30 teams, 29 of these are in the US and 1 is in Canada. The NBA is an active member of USA Basketball (USAB), which is the official governing body of the sport in the United States. According to the average annual salary per player data, the NBA is one of the most lucrative leagues and NBA players are among some of the world’s highest paid athletes.
International Presence at the NBA
Athletes from the international basketball stage form an integral part of the NBA. After pioneers like Vlade Divac from Serbia and Drazen Petrovic from Croatia joined the league in the late 1980s, the number of international players in the NBA has been consistently on the rise. In addition to that, the NBA has faced various international teams in exhibition matches to increase the worldwide influence of the sport.
Since 2006, it has faced Euro League teams in exhibition matches as part of the NBA Europe Live Tour. Due to such tours, efforts and the popularity of teams like the Chicago Bulls and players like Michael Jordan, many countries have taken a serious interest in the NBA. The 2013-14 season opened with a record of 92 international players from 39 different countries, making up approximately 20% of the league.
Makeup of the NBA
In 1946, the NBA consisted of only 11 teams. Since then, the number has gone up to 30 teams through expansions and relocations. These teams are divided into two conferences consisting of three divisions with five teams each. Both the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference consist of fifteen teams each.
The divisions in the Eastern Conference are Atlantic, Central and Southeast. On the other side, the Western Conference has three divisions as well, the Northwest, the Pacific and the Southwest. The oldest team in the NBA is the Detroit Pistons which was founded in 1941 and joined the NBA in 1948. The most recent team, on the other hand, is the New Orleans Pelicans which was founded in 2002 who played their first season in 2002-03 as the New Orleans Hornets.
Today the game of basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world. Thanks to players like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, basketball has become a multibillion dollar sport.
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