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Meghan E. McAlary is a sixth-grader at Bethlehem Middle School

Albany YMCA tied to roots of basketball

Thursday, May 10, 2012
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The game of basketball is a primary label of American culture, and it is one of the most popular sports in the country.

If there was a bright orange ball with black lines on it on the ground, almost any kid in America could identify it as a basketball.

Basketball is a sport that brings people together, whether you are playing it or cheering for your favorite team.

It is one of the few sports that was created in America. Basketball was created by James Naismith in 1891 in a YMCA in Springfield, Mass.

Naismith conducted a YMCA training school. His task was to create a sport that could be played inside the four walls of a small gymnasium and that required more skill than strength to play.

He wrote up 13 rules and nailed a peach basket to the wall at each end of the gymnasium. Little did he know that this small idea would one day turn into one of the most popular sports in the world.

Initially, the baskets didn't have holes at the bottom, so the ball had to be retrieved manually each time points were scored. This proved inconvenient, and the bottoms of the baskets were cut out.

In 1906, the peach baskets were replaced with backboards and metal hoops.

Basketball soon became recognized by the world, and it was added to the 1936 Summer Olympics.

The first balls made were brown and hard to see, so they were eventually changed to orange, as they are today.

It was around this time that dribbling started to become popular. Before the 1950s, the primary movement in basketball was passing and dribbling was rarely used.

Slowly, basketball started to evolve into the game as we know it today.

The first official basketball game was played on Jan. 20, 1892, at a YMCA located on Pearl Street in Albany. The game involved nine players, and the final score was 1-0.

The building held the first gymnasium in upstate New York and one of the earliest indoor pools in the country. The building still exists today, although it is no longer a YMCA.

Basketball soon became so popular that a professional league was created in 1949.

The first NBA game took place on Nov. 1, 1949, in Toronto, when the Huskies played the New York Knickerbockers.

The Boston Celtics and the Knickerbockers (now referred to as the Knicks) are the only current teams that still have their original names and locations.

The NBA grew and teams moved to bigger and more populated cities. Today there are 30 teams in the NBA.

The game also became popular with women, and the WNBA was created in 1996.

Basketball is also very popular with youth. The majority of middle and high schools in the U.S. have teams. There are also other basketball leagues such as CYO and AAU.

It is even popular with kids that just choose to play in a park or in driveway.

Basketball has become an important part of American culture.

 

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