Basketball is intrinsically American. Although the world has embraced the sport and it has been played in the Summer Olympics for decades you cannot help but think of the NBA when you hear the word basketball mentioned. Say basketball to anyone and they think Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, The Lakers, and, outside of the NBA the Harlem Globetrotters.
There have been many Hollywood movies both fictional and non-fictional about the sport and TV shows about high school routinely feature the school basketball team. Think Teen Wolf, One Tree Hill, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Coach Carter.
Where did it all begin?
Nearly every serious American basketball fan will know how basketball began but let’s assume you are new to the game. Maybe you live abroad and you are just looking to learn a little more about the game that you are only just discovering.
Peach baskets for hoops
It was winter in 1891 in Springfield and the football and lacrosse seasons had come to an end. The snow was forcing the students to stay inside and they were getting restless. Two teachers had tried and failed to come up with ideas to keep the young men active and their minds occupied. Then James Naismith was approached by his boss to come up with an idea.
As it happened the young PE teacher already had an idea for a game he had been toying with. This was his chance to try and implement it. He sent a school janitor to find a couple of boxes that could be as goals but when he returned all he could find was a couple of peach baskets. At each end of the gym hall was a balcony about 10 feet off the ground so the peach baskets were fitted here with the bottoms intact. Two men were assigned the job of staying on each balcony to retrieve the ball once it landed in one of the baskets and return it to play.
James Naismith listed 13 rules for the game and basketball was born. The rules haven’t changed too much over the years however a few years later the bottoms of the baskets were removed and they started to resemble the hoops we have today.
The game spread to YMCAs around the country and over the next few years missionaries from these establishments took the game to other countries. It spread from France to Spain and through Europe and on to South America, China and Australia. In 1932 the International Basketball Federation was founded, years before even the NBA came about.
The NBA is founded
The NBA started out as the BAA or Basketball Association of America in 1946. Their rivals the National Basketball League had been operating since 1937 when BAA arrived and established itself in much bigger cities than the NBL. BAA wanted to attract the best players and teams knowing the fans would follow so they played in arenas such as Madison Square Garden whereas the NBL were playing their games in small gyms across the country.
Four of the NBL franchises decided to move over to the flashier BAA; Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Rochester and Fort Wayne. All the rivalry was damaging to both leagues and ultimately they decided on a merger.
In 1949 in the Empire State building the representatives from the two sides put the final details together and the National Basketball Association or NBA was born.
The beginning of the NBA
At the start the league comprised 17 teams taken from both the previous leagues. These franchises consisted of major cities and smaller towns. The league had financial problems from the outset and it affected the smaller teams from the NBL the most. Through the fifties teams disappeared from the league until 1954 when there only 8 teams left. There was a scoring drought and fans lost interest. It was that year that the 24 second clock was introduced to the game to add some more excitement and generate interest. It worked and fans returned to watch a faster and more exciting game. You can bet on modern basketball games in a traditional or online casino.
The league carried on with 8 teams until 1961 when the Chicago Packers joined. In 1966 the Chicago Bulls followed as the first expansion draft. The league became financially stable and between ’66 and 2004 the NBA expanded to a total of 21 teams joining to make the NBA that is loved and watched by millions.
Today players are household names over the world and children pretend to be their favourite players when on the court.
Basketball and gambling
If you are a big fan of the NBA and have a lot of knowledge on player and team stats then it is possible to use that in online kaszinó betting or even visit a traditional casino and watch NCAA basketball in person. In March in Las Vegas it is when the NCAA basketball tournament begins and you can watch the games and place bets in the casinos in Nevada. In fact you don’t have to visit a casino you can just visit a website or online casino and pick which team you think will win there. Many online casinos feature basketball themed slots as they try to attract fans of the sport and sports bettors.
The NBA has come a long way since the beginning back in the 40’s and the fanbase could continue to grow as new markets open up and accessing games on TV and computers become easier in far off countries. Basketball around the world continues to grow with countries like China investing heavily in their national team as they seek to improve on past performances.
In 2019 the NBA finals were broadcast to over 200 countries in fifty different languages. This really shows the worldwide appeal of basketball and the NBA and there is no doubt the future looks very healthy for the NBA.