The history of basketball is filled with many surprising facts. Some relate to the origin of the game, the early brutality of the sport, and the type of equipment used for early Basketball games.
Fact 1: The game was first played with a peach basket.
When Naismith first created basketball the game was played with a football or soccer ball and peach baskets instead of the common basketball hoops used today. The baskets were elevated about ten feet high and were hung from mezzanine balconies. The bottom of the peach baskets remained intact, which left it necessary for the ball to be retrieved with a long wooden stick or dowel every time someone made a basket. Later, the bottom was removed from the peach basket, but the opening was still too narrow to allow the ball to drop through. The use of balconies to elevate the hoops was also eliminated when issues arose with fans and observers interfering with the game. Eventually a backboard was added and metal hoops with opening wide enough to allow the ball to pass through were used.
Fact 2: Players were not allowed to dribble when the first games were played.
When the first games of basketball were played, they had very different rules than those associated with contemporary basketball. As an example, players were not allowed to dribble the ball when playing the game. This meant that the game involved more maneuvers involving passing the ball from one player to another or tossing the ball. The ball could be passed or thrown in any direction one chose with one or both of the player's hands. The player could also bat the ball with an open hand if they desired, but they could not use their fist at any time to hit the ball.
Fact 3: Basketball was not played in the Olympic games until the late 1930s.
Naismith saw his sport become popular at colleges across the nation. The game was also passed on to a variety of different nations through the YMCA movement and it became an international sensation as early as1893. The first time that the game of basketball was allowed in the Olympics however, was not until 1936 when the game was played in the Berlin Olympics for the very first time.
Fact 4: Early Basketball became so violent that the YMCA disallowed it
Naismith's game, despite the rules regarding violence, became quite rowdy and disorderly until more regulations were put into place which limited the violence that occurred on the court. There were rules that asserted that tripping, striking, pushing, holding or shouldering the opponent were not permitted. Any infringement of such rules was a foul on the first infringement. Two infringements ended up disqualifying the player from the game until the next goal in the game was made. If the violation seemed deliberate than the player was disqualified from the entire game. Despite the presence of these game rules, players were still violent. So much so that the YMCA eventually separated itself from the game and disallowed it from being played at YMCA institutions for a period of time.
Fact 5: Men were once banned from college basketball games with women players.
The history of college basketball for men and for women is closely related, but in the late 1890's, males were banned from observing the games that females participated in at school. Considered as socially inappropriate, men were not permitted to view the games that women played at the time, and they were physically banned from entering the site where a game was played.