In December 1891, Dr. James Naismith sought to create a game to keep his students fit and out of the snow during the treacherously cold New England winters. Initial game designs were either too physical or not suitable for indoor play, so he settled on nailing two peach baskets on opposite ends of an indoor court as players would attempt to throw a soccer ball into them. Since its humble beginnings, basketball has evolved into an elaborate sport played and loved by many worldwide.
The game of basketball reached worldwide recognition when it was first introduced at the Berlin 1936 Summer Olympics. The United States had always dominated international competitions up until the 1972 Olympics, where the final game was controversially played three times until the Soviet Union won. In the U.S., professional teams and players were mushrooming all over the place. With a lack of organization and direction, the National Basketball Association (NBA) was formed in 1949 to roster players and coaches while providing fans a chance to enjoy the sport. Today, the NBA is the leading basketball league globally in popularity, competition, and talent, reporting a record $8 billion in revenue in 2018.
Women’s basketball was first introduced in 1892 by Senda Berenson who sought to establish a league for professional female players. With various collegiate and internationally competitions proving its popularity, the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBA) was formed in 1997 to include eight teams and a rising group of stars. Basketball’s influence stretches nationally and internationally since its early days, inspiring players of all ages to tune into an NBA game or hit the local court for a well-loved game.