Basketball was invented in December 1891 by James Naismith, a Canadian physical education instructor from Springfield, Massachusetts. Naismith sought an alternative to football that would offer his students the same degree of competition while lowering their chance of injury. Naismith’s employer asked him to find a way for his students to stay in condition throughout the long, cold winter, so he built indoor basketball. Peach baskets served as goal posts, and a football was used at first. It goes without saying that basketball has progressed significantly since then.
The NBA has complex rules, exciting players, and the occasional superteam. Casual fans may struggle to keep up with the action on the court. Even if we enjoy the sport wholeheartedly, our brains can only process so much at any given time. To help you get started with the NBA, here’s everything you need to know about the NBA.
The First Professional Game
In 1896, the first professional basketball game was played in Trenton, New Jersey. The National Basketball League (NBL) debuted on the East Coast in 1946, two years after the NBA. During the league’s six-year existence, four separate teams won the NBL title: the Trenton Nationals, the Bristol Pile Drivers, the New York Wanderers, and the Camden Electrics. Following the fall of the NBA in 1904, many professional leagues emerged, including the Eastern Basketball League, American Basketball League and Metropolitan Basketball League.
National Basketball League
NBL (National Basketball League) was founded in 1937 (no connection with the 1898 NBL). This league would host up to 38 teams over the next decade, including the Minneapolis Lakers (now the Los Angeles Lakers), the Buffalo Bisons/Tri-Cities Blackhawks (now the Atlanta Hawks), the Rochester Royals (now the Sacramento Kings), the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons (now the Detroit Pistons), and the Syracuse Nationals (now the Philadelphia 76ers).
In 1946, the National Basketball League (NBL) faced competition from the Basketball Association of America (BAA). The league’s first three champions were Baltimore Bullets, the Philadelphia Warriors, and Minneapolis Lakers. The BAA existed for only three seasons before combining with the NBL in 1949 to establish the NBA. The NBA frequently takes credit for the BAA’s previous achievements. Prior to their merger, the BAA had already achieved tremendous commercial success, playing in massive venues such as Madison Square Garden and the Boston Garden, while the NBL played in small gymnasiums largely in the Midwest.
When the NBA first started, it had 17 different franchises. However, other teams quit in the years that followed due to a lack of revenue as regular fan enthusiasm could not be sustained. There were just eight clubs left in the NBA in 1955. That year, however, the Association added a 24-second shot clock, which sped up games and grabbed the interest of fans.
NBA Gains Popularity
Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, and Oscar Robertson helped bring the NBA to national prominence in the 1950s and 1960s. For example, Bill Russell had early success with the Celtics, leading them to eleven championships in 13 years. However, it wasn’t until the 3-point line was established in the 1979-80 season that basketball began to resemble current sports.
Several superstars have ruled the NBA, including Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and, more recently, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. The NBA has always been star-driven, maybe more than any other major sports league.
- At any given time, each team’s roster (players) can contain no more than 17 or fewer than 8 members.
- At any given time, there will be 15 players on the court (5 from each team).
- The court has dimensions of 94 feet in length, 50 feet in width, and 10 feet in height at the rim.
- Game time is 48 minutes (12 quarters of 4 minutes), split into two halves of 16 minutes each, with a 24-second shot clock.
Playing The Game
Each NBA team’s starting lineup consists of five players: a point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, and centre. To begin the game, the referee throws the ball down the middle of the court to the two tallest players, who are usually the centres. When the game begins, custody of the ball is given to the side whose player successfully tips it back to their own. When a team has possession, they have 24 seconds to score or make contact with the hoop (also known as the shot clock).
The offensive team has 24 seconds to shoot and score; if they miss and retrieve the offensive rebound, they have another 24 seconds to score. When one side scores, the opposing team receives the ball and can dribble it back the opposite way for a fast break. A total of 48 minutes are played, divided into four 12-minute quarters, with the team that scores the most points at the end of the game named the winner.
If an offensive player is fouled while attempting a shot, he may continue shooting as long as he does not dribble after the foul. This discrepancy, known as continuation, is an important part of the officiating system but can be subjective at times. After completing his shot attempt and scoring despite defensive contact, an offensive player can add an extra point from the free-throw line.
Here are the top fifteen players in the NBA right now that you should know:
- Giannis Antetokounmpo: the Milwaukee Bucks
- Kevin Durant: the Brooklyn Nets
- Stephen Curry: Golden State Warriors
- LeBron James: Los Angeles Lakers
- Nikola Jokic: Denver Nuggets
- Luka Dončić: Dallas Mavericks
- Joel Embiid: Philadelphia 76ers
- Jayson Tatum: Boston Celtics
- Kawhi Leonard: Los Angeles Clippers
- Ja Morant: Memphis Grizzlies
- Devin Booker: Phoenix Suns
- Jimmy Butler: Miami Heat
- Karl-Anthony Towns: Minnesota Timberwolves
- DeMar DeRozan: Chicago Bulls
- James Harden: Philadelphia 76ers
The NBA is one of the top basketball leagues in the world. The level of competition is always high, resulting in lots of upsets and nail-biters. It also features NBA fan favourites such as Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Stephen Curry. Regardless of who you are or where you live, watching the NBA is a terrific way to stay connected to the world of sports.