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Women and the History of Basketball

            The history of the United States corresponds with the history of basketball. The game of basketball had been created in 1891; it was until 1950 when the game became racially integrated, allowing black men to play on white teams. In 1892, a Gymnastic instructor, Senda Berenson Abbott, adapts to the basketball rules and introduces the sport to women at Smith College. Gender discrimination prevented most women from participating in areas traditionally dominated by men, and basketball was no exception. Basketball is an ageless game thought and learned from generation to generation, from father to son, father to daughter, etc. However the game of basketball can be cruel and can keep you down on your knees if you let it. Players are remembered for their missed shots, letting their team down when needed most, and most important their weaknesses. The cruelest part of the game is not what happens on the court, it's the events that coincide with the game. Basketball mirrors 'White America' and it's deepest faults, including inequality and racism.
             In the year of 1898, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation was legal. One of the most famous court cases in history, Plessey v. Ferguson, implies merely a legal distinction between white and colored races. The Plessey decision set the stage that "separate" facilities for blacks and whites were constitutional as long as they were "equal." From this point on, America was viewed as two separate races, Black and White, resulting in the Jim Crow Laws. This would include many sports, especially basketball. The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) was founded in 1997, but long before this era took place, black players had been charting their own course in basketball. Pioneering teams (known as fives for their starting five players) and athletes help shaped the early days of basketball and helped pave the way for progress in other areas of black life.

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