Then and Now: The Evolution of Basketball

My name is Blake Rubin, and I have been in love with basketball as far as I can remember. But this sport has been around far longer than my grandfather has, and I wanted to do some research to really understand the differences between the sport then and now. Basketball is a resurging sport. Over the years it has gone through what one would call a phenomenal rebranding, with more international stars and televised programming adding to its global appeal. The sport however has not always been this way. History dictates how we see our present, and I took it upon myself to learn more about the history of this sport to give myself more things to work with.

The Road To Eldorado shows the evolution of basketball, then and now

The First Basketball Game

Historical accounts tell us that the first basketball type game may have originated by the Olmec people of ancient mexico. The Aztec and Mayan cultures also played a game similar to basketball, with the difference being the ball. For the Aztec’s the “ball” often used in these games were the heads of conquered foes. This ancient form of basketball can be best seen in the below clips of Mel Gibson’s film “Apocalypto” and Dreamworks “ The Road To Eldorado” Both of these films represent some of the most visual conveyance of the ancient form of basketball.

The First True Basketball Game

The first true basketball game was played with 18 players with nine players being on each side of the team. It was invented in this new form by a canadian doctor named James Naismith. He invented the sport  for the YMCA to have a sport to play in the winter time. At this point, the game was not even called “basketball” till a man named William R. Chase scored what is recorded as the first point in the history of the game, and then the name Basketball was suggested as the official name of the game. In this time of the sport’s history, the game lasted for 30 minutes, which of course is different from how long the game is being played now.

The Key differences

The key differences in the sport then,  when it was in its first game and now is that the game is played with it’s own specialized ball, newer rules in shooting and line placement are currently being adhered to.  Basketball has also gone through a strong commercialization process of the years. The more acceptance and followership the sports acquires, the number of televised programming and sponsorship opportunities increases, with organizations like the NBA now cashing into the booming sport as a business.