A Brief History of Basketball and Its Original 13 Rules
Basketball is the only sport with its origins exclusive to the United States. In 1891, the sport was invented by James Naismith, a physical education instructor at the training school of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). The training school is now known as Springfield College, located in Springfield, Massachusetts.
When Naismith started the first basketball game, he set up two goals using half-bushel peach baskets, a key factor contributing to the sport’s name. The participating students reveled in the activity. Throughout the very first game, only one mid-court shot was made, which was by William R. Chase. Stories about the newly-invented game spread. Soon, James Naismith was contacted by numerous associations for a copy of basketball’s rules. Later on, they were published in the January 15, 1892 issue of the Triangle, the YMCA Training School’s campus paper.
James Naismith wasn’t responsible for creating all of the first rules of basketball. However, he did modify them occasionally until they resulted in what is currently referred to as the original 13 rules. Some of these rules are still part of today’s game. A document detailing the original 13 rules created by Naismith was auctioned off in 2010, selling for $4.3 million.
The original 13 rules were quite clear. With one or both hands, players might hurl the ball in any direction. However, using fists to move the ball was prohibited. Players were not allowed to run with the ball. Thus every participant had to toss it from wherever it was caught. It was forbidden for players to shove, hit, or trip their opponents. The first violation of that rule was regarded as a foul. Also, a player would be disqualified if they committed a second foul before another goal was scored. However, if it was clear that a participant meant to injure an opponent, the individual was to be suspended for the rest of the game. Umpires acted as the game’s judges, recording fouls and having the authority to eject players. They were in charge of determining when the ball was out of bounds, whose team it belonged to, and how to keep track of the clock. Umpires were in charge of deciding when a basket was made and counting the number of goals.
As soon as one team accumulated three fouls, the opposing team would be free to take a shot at the goal. When a player hurled the ball from the ground into the hoop, and the ball stayed there, it counted as a goal. It would also be a goal if the ball was on the edge of the hoop and the opposition team moved the basket before the ball could fall in. When the ball went out of bounds, the player who touched it first was allowed to throw it back into play. The participant about to throw the ball had 5 seconds to get rid of it. If they held on to it longer than 5 seconds, the umpire would pass the ball to the opposing team. In the event of a disagreement, the ball would be thrown straight into the field by a judge (umpire). The umpire would also call a foul for any team that unnecessarily delayed the game. The game was scheduled for 30 minutes, and the winner was the team with the most goals.