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The father of basketball, Dr. James Naismith, invented the game in 1892 and the first game was played in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania on April 8, 1893 between the New Brighton YMCA and Geneva College.
The game was hugely popular, and by 1914 as many as 360 colleges had basketball teams. In 1939, the first NCAA men’s college basketball championship tournament was held, won by the University of Oregon.
The formation of Pro basketball in 1896 grew out of a dispute between YMCA team members and officials and ended with the formation by members of a professional team that played for money . In 1898, the NBL (National Basketball League) was formed and produced the first basketball stars – Ed Wachter and Barney Sedran.
The first two successful professional basketball teams were the Buffalo Germans and the Celtics, but during the 1930s favorites included the New York Renaissance and the Harlem Globetrotters. At this time, women’s basketball was also popular and produced great players such as Babe Didrikson and Alline Banks Sprouse.
In 1940, the first college basketball game was broadcast on television. This game was played between Pittsburgh and Fordham at Madison Square Garden and catapulted basketball into a national sensation. Since then, basketball has been one of the most watched sports and, in fact, March Madness, when nearly 350 American universities compete for the NCAA basketball crown, is the most watched event. in the USA.
In professional basketball of the 1940s and 1950s, the Minneapolis Lakers were hot favorites for many winners of 5 NBA championship titles and producing starts like Bob Cousy and Bob Pettit. But from the late 1950s until 1969, the Celtics had the field winning 11 NBA titles (8 in a row). At that time, favorite players included Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlin of the Philadelphia Warriors.
From 1963 to 1975, the University of California, Los Angeles was in the limelight winning 10 national championships, including seven in a row. Some of the great players on this UCLA team include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jamaal Wilkes, Bill Walton, Gail Goodrich, and Marques Johnson.
In 1967 the American Basketball Association (ABA) was formed and many will remember one of the star players Julius Erving and their red, white and blue basketballs. The ABA only lasted until 1976 when it disbanded and many teams joined the NBA.
In the 1960s, women’s basketball introduced the 5-man, full-court format and made dribbling totally legal, but it wasn’t until 1985 that the Basketball Hall of Fame began inducting female coaches and players. Some of the first women to achieve this honor include Carol Blazejowski, Ann Meyers, Cheryl Miller; Nancy Lieberman-Cline and Anne Donovan.
In the late 1970s rookie players like Indiana State University’s Larry Bird and Michigan State Universities Magic Johnson emerged and the late 1980s saw major players like Isiah Thomas and Dennis Rodman. But perhaps the most beloved player of all is Michael Jordan, who led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships in the 1990s.
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