Basketball is one of thr most widley played and watched sports in the world. Neighborhood groups play basketball on playgrounds and in back yards. Orgabized teams play in elementry school, high school, and commmunity gyms. Skilled college and professional players attract crowds that pack huge stadiums.
The game is played by two teams of five players each. Each team tries to score points by shooting a large ball into their raised basketlike goal at oneend of the court. Each teams also tries to prevent the other side form scoring. Nearly all elementry schools, high schools, and colleges in the United States have organized basketball teams. But a person can also play or practice basketball alone. By changing the rules, one to four-player teams may compete against each other. To play basketball, only a ball, basket, and level surface are needed.
James A. Naismith invented basketball in 1891. Naismith was a physical-education instructor at international YMCA training school in Springfeild, Mass. Luther H. Gulick, headof the schools physical-education department, asked Naismith to create a team sport that could be played indoors during the winter.
Naismith formed 13 basic rules for the game and then asked a janitor to nail two boxes to the gymnasium balcony to be used as goals. But the janitor could find only some half-bushel baskets, which Naismith accepted. Then new sport thus became known as basketball.
In December, 1891, Naismith's physical-education class played the first basketball game. The class had 18 men, and so each team had 9 players. They used a soccer ball and, in spite of much running and shooting, the players scored only one basket in the game.
Word of the new game spread quickly, and basketball was soon being played by YMCA groups, high schools, colleges and semiprofessional and professional teams throughout the United States and Canada.