Ancient evidence suggests that an activity much similar to basketball was popular among the people of Meso america since 1000 A. D.
Though the exact rules of the game aren’t known, it is generally believed that it was ball game where the objective was to shoot a spherical object through a stone ring that was placed in approximately 30 feet height at a wall.
To get the ball through this ring the players had to use their hips or shoulders.
Resulting from these complicated circumstances,the first point was usually made after several days of playing and game plays were generally very brutal and violent.
Different cultures played the game under different names with slightly different rules, customs, and size of courts but the game was essentially the same.
Maya Culture, for example, used the game asa stand‐in for warfare and settling disputes.
Captives of wars were forced to play a blood-shatteringgame that resulted in their sacrifice when they lost.
It is believed that people from Aztec culture played an even-bloodier game where the head or skull of their enemies was used as a ball.
Major formal games were occasionally held as ritual events and the heads of the losing team were chopped off as a sacrifice to gods.
With the fall of these early empires, the game of shooting a ball through a ring was forgotten though a modern version of the game,ulama, is still played in a few places by the indigenous population.
The game of basketball as it is known today was invented in 1891 when James Naismith, the physical education instructor of Springfield YMCA school, was given a task to create an indoor game that would provide an “athleticdistraction” to the students in harsh winters and help its track athletes to keep in shape.
He was explicitly told that the game should be fair to all and should not be too rough.
Naismith analyzed the most popular games of that time and blended them into a new game that would follow the given guidelines, for instance, he noticed the hazards of a ball and concluded that the big soft soccer ball was safest, he kept passing the ball the only legal option because he found most physical injuries occurred while running with the ball, dribbling or hitting it, to furthur reducethe physical contact he placed the goal above head and made it un gaurdable.
Naismith collectedhis thoughts and put them together into 13 basic rules that would later come to knowas the first set of rules of the game of Basketball.
On December the 21st, 1891.
The first match was played in the gymnasiumof the school with a soccer ball and two closed peach baskets.
In the beginning, the game recieved limitedattention because students would often get into chaotic fights, kicking and punchingone another to get hold of the ball, Naismith then made some changes in the rules over the years that made the game more organized while some other rules just got incorporated because of the nature of the game, for example – 5 players on each side of the game became agenral rule simply because football was being played with 10 to a team at that time, When winter weather got too icy to play football, teams were taken indoors, and it was convenient to have them split in half and play basketball with five on each side.
In 1982, the Springfield college newspaperwrote an article about the new game that was widely circulated across different YMCA campusesin the country and abroad.
The YMCA movement in the subsequent years further helped the game reach every major school and college in the US and Canada.
By the end of the nineteenth century, Basket ball had become a popular sport of the crowd due to its modest equipment and personnel requirements,basketball clubs were opening in every city and town, players were frequently switching teams playing solely for money and the game had become a lot rowdier and violent.
YMCA that was earlier promoting the game started to demotivate it and a control over the game was much needed, In 1898, The first pro league,the National Basketball League, was formed to demonstrate and promote a less violent form of the game, the league only lasted five years.
In 1905, the “Basket Ball Rule Committee”was formed by the representatives of 15 colleges that took over control of the college game,the committee ultimately formed the extremely popular NCAA in 1909.
Hundreds of big and small men’s professional leagues opened and closed in the first half of the 2 century until the Basketball Association of America (BAA) merged with the National Basketball League (NBL) to form the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1949, which remains, to this date, the most popular basketball institution.
On the International level, World War 1 played a prominent role in spreading the game across boundaries.
the American Force, together with hundreds of physical education teachers, took basketball wherever it went.
FIBA, as an international organization, wasformed in 1932 to coordinate tournaments and teams.
Another spike in the international popularity of the game was seen in 1992 when the US sent its much-decorated “Dream Team” to Spain Olympics.
The game that was once started as a short-termsubstitute for major games, today has become one of the most popular sports with more than800 million fans worldwide.
But when you look back in time you’ll findthat Basketball has also left behind the basic guidelines with which it was created.
The top level of the game is dominated by all payers to such an extent that the New Zealand men’s national basketball team is nicknamed the Tall Blacks and the average height of players in NBA is around 6 feet 7 inches which is 10 inches more than the average male height in America.
And on the basis of the most number of injuriesin a year, basketball is also one of three most dangerous games in the US.
There are mainly two different techniques of throwing a ball in free-throws – overarm and underarm.
The first one is classy, looks professional and almost every PRO player attempts a free throw this way, the second technique lookssissy, amateur to most and only a very few players have ever tried this technique on the professional level.
This has even got a silly name of “Granny’sStyle” to mock those who practice this.
A research paper published in 2017 used mathematical models to find out the optimal way to take a free throw.
The study showed that an experienced player with good control on the ball has a better chance of scoring in case of an underarm throw than in an overarm throw.
The difference lies in how the ball approachesthe target.
In case of the underarm throw, the ball approaches the goal from directly above, in a more vertical fashion, the cross-section of the hoop is large from the ball’s vantage point, the ball is more likely to be on target and has a very high chance of going in the hoop.
A ball in overarm throw approach the goal in a more horizontal fashion, ball “sees” a smaller cross-section of the hoop and the margin of error is lesser.
A slight off-target throw may make the ballhit the hoop and fall outside.
There are some compelling stats to back upthis study.
Rick Barry, a pioneer of underarm free throw,ranked first in NBA history with his 90% success rate when he retired in 1980.
He still holds the fourth position among mostsuccessful free throwers ever.
His son, Canyon Barry broke the Florida schoolrecord for most consecutive free throws made when he scored 45 free throws in a row lastyear.
He had a free throw percentage of 88.
3 thatseason but still every time he missed a throw he was mocked and taunted with phrases like”You’re adopted”.
But cultural and social reasons aren’t the only culprit.
another reason underarm throw isn’t popular is that it doesn’t work very well for amateur players and for those who are new to this techniques.
They have a mediocre control over the ball and they often end up lobbing the ball too high which causes the ball to largely overs hootor undershoot the hoop.
Overarm throws bring more success to such players and they stick to this method for rest of their lives.
Rick Barry advocated underarm throw throughou this life but couldn’t convince many to even try this technique.
He argues that it would make much sense ifa 40-50 percent shooter in free throws changes to underarm to improves his success rate becausehe is already a bad shooter and has nothing to lose.
When basketball was first included in Berlin Olympics in 1936, the US Men’s Basketball team won the gold medal defeating Canada by 19-8 in the final.
The reason for such a low score was that the game was played outdoors, on a dirt court in a pouring rain which prevented dribbling.
Moreover, there were no seats for spectators and the nearly 1,000 in attendance had to stand in the rain throughout the entire game.
At the end of the game, the inventor of thegame himself awarded the medals to the teams.
For next 7 Olympic games, American Basketballteams didn’t lose a single match, won 7 gold medals and proved their dominance over thegame despite the fact that they were playing with only college players because professionalNBA players were not allowed in Olympics at that time.
Then comes the Berlin Olympics 1972 that changeseverything.
The United States and the Soviet Union – two super powers and cold war rivals fight for gold in final of the basketball match and at the end, United States is declared the losing team for the first time.
The chaotic drama in the final moments ofthe match gives rise to one of the biggest controversies of the sport’s history.
This is how the events unfold With only 30 seconds left in the match, the score is 49-48, US team is trailing behind the Soviets by one point.
American guard Doug Collins steals the ball,rushes down the court for a layup shot, but is fouled and banged into the basket stanchionby Soviet players.
Two free throws are awarded as a penalty.
3 seconds are remaining on the game clock,Collins sinks in the first throw making the score 49-49.
Moments before he’ll release his second throw,the Soviet coaches shout for time-out, a horn is sounded from the scorer’s table, refereeof the match look towards the scorer’s table in surprise as he has no prior knowledge ofthe time-out, the game keeps going, Collins sinks in another goal, America is up by 1point.
By the time the ball reaches the mid-court,Soviet coaches stop the game, only 1 second is left on the clock.
Since the request for a time-out can’t be made between the free-throws, Soviet coaches argue that they had already asked for a time-out before the first free throw, but the scorer didn’t pay attention, the official scorer denies such claim.
As a result, time-out isn’t officially given or you can say, it’s no longer required because Soviet coaches have already managed to communicate with their players in this chaos, what is even more controversial is how the game proceeds from here.
Soviets are allowed to change their player seven without a time-out – and the game doesn’t start from where it was left, instead, the clock is reset to 3 seconds remaining.
The referee lets the game begin again, a hornis sounded after some moment, Soviet players make an attempt and fail.
The game is over, or at least most people think so, it seems America has got its 8th Olympic gold and 64th win in a row.
The crowd is cheering and players are celebrating.
But wait, a minute later scorers announce that the referee had mistakenly started the match before the clock would be reset to 3 seconds remaining, and the 3-second game should be played once again.
After 3 in bounds play, The replaced Soviet player makes a move which itself is questionable and sinks into a goal.
The Soviet team becomes the official match winner.
Unsurprisingly, the American team members refused to accept the official decision, they filed a detailed protest the same night that brought no luck.
Players refused t the runner-up medals and even after decades, and multiple efforts by the Olympic committee no player has accepted his medal.
One of them has even put a clause in his willforbidding his descendants from ever accepting the gold medal after his death.
There is a fair possibility that lack of communication and uncommon languages ignited a series of confusion and chaos which ultimately made officials take some bad decisions but there are some aspects that point more towards the cold-war era politics in play, most prominent of which is the unauthorized intervention of Renato William Jones, secretary general of FIBA, in the officiating crew of the game.
He was a Britsh and wasn’t exactly a fan of American dominance on Basketball in Olympics.
Despite having no authority to make a rulingduring the game, it was him who intimidated the clock technician and game scorer intoputting those 3 seconds back on the game clock.
Years after the game, one of his friend reportedthat he privately confided that he had not expected the Soviets would actually be ableto score within that time.
Every night before a game, NBA player JasonTerry sleeps wearing shorts of opponent team members.
These aren’t the replica of opposing teamuniform but the real shorts wore by players in their earlier matches.
He thinks this ritual brings him luck andhe has got connections in various teams who arrange these shorts for him.
In this process, he’s made a massive collectionof authentic NBA team shorts, which has to be one of the most expensive NBA merch collectionsin existence.
NBA professional league, today is one of therichest among all sports leagues.
A big chunk of revenue of this multibillion-dollarindustry comes from selling tv and other broadcasting rights.
Under the terms of new rules implemented lastyear, ESPN and Turner pay $2.
6 billion every year for TV rights alone.
For more than 3 decades, NBA shared this revenuewith its 30 teams for playing in NBA and with one more team, namely Spirits of St.
Louis,for NOT playing in NBA and here is the reason why – When American Basketball Association (ABA),the only big competition to NBA of its time, started going into losses, it decided to mergeinto NBA.
A deal was struck and NBA agreed to take 4out of its 6 surviving teams and the remaining two teams were compensated for shutting downtheir franchise.
Owner of the Kentucky Colonels quickly accepted a $3.
3-million buyout but the owners of St.
Louis, brothers Ozzie and Daniel Silna, proposeda deal before NBA.
They would get $3 million as a one-time money,plus 1/7 share of the TV revenue from each of the four teams entering the NBA.
The deal got accepted as NBA was new to televisionand revenue was minuscule.
As the NBA’s popularity rose, so did the league’sTV contract, IT revolution redefined the entertainment industry and Silna’s cut reached a value noone had anticipated.
As of 2008, Silna Brothers had already made$186 million dollars, by 2015 this number rose to $255 million dollars.
On an average St Louis was making more moneyper season than most of the NBA teams – and all these without playing a single match inalmost 4 decades.
NBA and these four franchise did everythingthey could to somehow sneak out of this soul-crushing deal by proving it invalid in court but adeal is a deal.
Moreover, the deal had no-expiration date.
It was valid for as long as the NBA or itssuccessors continues in its existence.
It was only in 2014 when the Silnas got tiredof fighting the lawyers of NBA to keep their deal alive, they finally decided to greatlyreduce the perpetual payments and take a lump sum of half a billion.
Whether the deal was a result of a visionahead of its time or simply pure luck, this deal is often dubbed as the greatest dealof all times.
The famous investor and multi-billionaireWarren Buffet created news in 2014 when he announced that he would award 1 Billion dollarprize money to anyone who would correctly predict the winners of all the 63 matchesof NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, that is a Perfect Bracket.
He was holding the contest in partnershipwith Quicken Loans, a mortgage company, and Yahoo.
Although the amount of prize money at stakethis time was probably biggest in the history of any contest ever, betting in college basketballtournaments is not uncommon.
In fact, this practice is famously known asbracketology and it’s often been referred to as the national pastime.
The Former American President Barack Obamaeven started a Presidential tradition of choosing projected winners in his oval office everyyear while going live on ESPN’s show “Barack-etology”.
President Donald Trump ended this 8-year longtradition by declining ESPN’s offer this year.
But if you are familiar with Warren Buffet,you’ll know that he’s not the kind of guy who would risk losing a billion dollar justfor fun.
He still drives a modest car and lives ina home he bought in 1958.
Apart from all the free publicity, the mortgagecompany was getting valuable housing data of contestants for free, a yahoo account wasrequired for contesting and at the end there wasn’t really much chance of winning the contestbecause the odds of picking a perfect bracket is insanely low.
Since each game can have one of two winners,one slot can be filled in 2 ways, 63 slots can be filled in 9.
2 quintillion ways andonly of which will be the lucky one.
This makes the odds of picking a perfect bracketone in 9.
2 quintillions, that’s a nine, followed by 18 zeroes.
But not every team has an equal chance ofwinning a match, this brings to something around (one in 128 billion) depending on one’sknowledge of the game.
To put this in perspective, it is more likelyto get 37 heads in a row in coin flipping and correctly predict the winning party inevery presidential election through 2160 than it is to get a perfect bracket.
Unsurprisingly, no one won the contest.
Ever since then, Buffett has offered the competitionon his own to his employees only and has also introduced several smaller prizes.
In 2017, A West Virginia factory worker won$100,000 for correctly picking the first 29 games of the tournament.
He also picked the winners of the 31st and32nd games correctly but wrongly picking 30th game cost him $900,000 million.
It seems when basketball and Olympics meet,biggest controversies are created.
Sydney Paralympic of 2000 had proved luckyfor Spain, her teams had won a total of 107 medals for the first time and a special mentionwas Intellectually challenged Basketball team that had won the Gold medal after beatingRussia by 84-63 in the final.
But their excitement didn’t last for long,soon after the event ended, the Intellectually Challenged players of the Basketball teamwere found guilty of faking their disability.
10 out of 12 players were found completelynormal without any mental or physical handicap.
The scandal was unraveled by a member of thevictorious team itself, in an interview, he accused the Spanish Federation of deliberatelychoosing athletes with no disability into the Paralympic teams in order to win medalsand gain more sponsorship.
He also claimed that they were told to behavestupidly in order of avoiding suspicion or they might get caught.
Upon investigation, Paralympic committee foundthat required mental tests weren’t conducted on players and low IQ certificates were forgedto include them into the team.
Spain was ordered to return the gold medaland Paralympics suspended all intellectual disability based sporting events for coming Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 games.