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Championship Basketball - A Complete Guide

Updated on July 25, 2009

Kobe Bryant

(c) rich115 @
(c) rich115 @

A History of Championship Basketball

Championship basketball, whether at the college level, like NCAA basketball, or the professional basketball league, is one of the most popular sports today. Many people each year are eager to watch every minute of basketball season, but they may not know how the sport began.

Basketball was actually invented by a Canadian, James Naismith in 1891. At the time, Naismith was a physical education teacher at SpringfieldCollege in Massachusetts. The college was then known as the YMCATraining School. Winters in New England were brutal, and Mr. Naismith was given the challenge of creating an indoor game to keep students active during the winter months.

The first formal rules for basketball sports were developed in 1892. At that time, the game was not a lot like the champion basketball we know today.

First of all, basketball players used a soccer ball. The actual basketball had not yet been invented. The court dimensions had not been specified, and the hoop was just a peach basket affixed to a 10 foot high railing. Each goal was worth one point.

In 1892, iron hoops and a hammock style basket were introduced, but even then, the bottom of the basket was closed, or only opened a little, so the ball had to be manually retrieved after each goal was scored. It was not until 1903 that the baskets became open bottomed, so that the ball could come back onto the court on its own. The basketball that is used today was invented in 1929 by G.L. Pierce.

(c) TStrege @
(c) TStrege @

Women’s Basketball Begins

Women were not far behind men in playing basketball. Senda Berenson, a physical education teacher at SmithCollege, went to visit Naismith to learn more about the game he had created. She was very impressed with the game, and believed that not only did it have great athletic potential, but that it taught great value lessons. She went back to Smith with the information she had learned from Naismith and modified the rules for womens basketball. Berenson published A.G. Spalding’s first Women’s Basketball Guide in 1895, and the sport began to spread very quickly.

Basketball sports for both men and women originally spread through the YMCA and YWCA systems, but soon became popular as a high school sport, as well. Basketball teams and basketball leagues were quickly put together, and high schools began to compete with a regular basketball season by 1895. During this time, womens basketball actually grew more quickly than men’s. Women proved to be more eager to be basketball players because they had fewer sports from which to choose.

Once basketball took root at the high school level, it quickly moved on to become a college sport, as well. James Naismith was also very instrumental to college basketball. He was a basketball coach for the University of Kansas for six years, and helped to shape what is now NCAA basketball.

In 1910, President Theodore Roosevelt suggested a formal governing body for college basketball, due to the number of injuries that players were receiving during games at the college level. This suggestion led to the formation of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States, which was the forerunner of the NCAA. By 1915, this group and the Amateur Athletic Union began to fight for the rights to control the rules governing collegiate play. Ultimately, the NCAA became the official governing body for college basketball.

Professional Basketball Takes Hold

The Basketball Association of America (BAA) was formed in 1946. This was the first governing body for professional basketball. In 1949, the BAA changed its name to the National Basketball Association (NBA). Championship basketball at the professional level really took hold once the NBA became the governing body. In 1967, another professional basketball league, the ABA, was developed, and it briefly threatened the dominance of the NBA. However, the two eventually merged in 1976.

It wasn’t until 1997 that the Women’s National Basketball Association (WBNA) was formed. The body was backed by the NBA, but got off to a rocky start. Today, however, the WBNA has taken women’s basketball to a very impressive level. Basketball tournaments and basketball championships of the WNBA are very well attended and the league has thrived.

European basketball has done well, also. Though it took much longer for champion basketball in Europe to take off, it is now a very popular sport. The World Basketball Championships have become very popular, and international teams are very focused on winning this world basketball championship each year. In addition, every four years at the summer Olympics, the world sees European basketball players do very well, though it is still difficult for other countries to dominate American basketball players.

Basketball Today – A Dominating Force

Today, basketball is not just a game; it is serious business, both at the college and professional levels. A great deal of money goes into basketball recruiting at the college level, and basketball recruiting at the professional level is a multi-million dollar proposition.

Each year, the basketball schedule for the 347 basketball teams in the NCAA Division 1 is eagerly awaited, and basketball tickets at the college level are often hard to come by, particularly for the best teams. As the season winds down and March Madness approaches, the championship schedule is big news. The March Madness championship season for NCAA basketball attracts millions of television viewers, and people vie for the championship tickets. In fact, the NCAA basketball tournament is one of the most watched college athletic events, with the NCAA basketball championship game, always held on a Monday night in March, being one of the most watched college sporting events every single year.

And, of course, at the professional level, basketball is a big money business. NBA basketball coaches and players make millions and NBA basketball tickets sell for big money, particularly for the most popular teams, like the Chicago Bulls. It is estimated that the combined revenue of the 30 NBA teams is over $3B.

Championship Basketball on DVD

Each year, the NBA championship schedule pits the best teams in each division for the championship season. The NBA championship tickets are also very sought after items, and many people will also watch the games on television.

Though not as lucrative as the men’s NBA championships, the WNBA is also holding its own financially. Many women’s basketball fans eagerly await the women’s NBA championships each year, just as they do the men’s NBA championship. In fact, most years, the women’s championship tickets are sold out.

So, if you haven’t paid attention to championship basketball before, take a look. Whether it’s tuning in to the March Madness NCAA Championship or an NBA championship, or just following your local high school team’s basketball schedule, you’re certain to find championship basketball, with its long and interesting history, to be very enjoyable.

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    • profile image

      Sarah 7 years ago

      I wish they had netball here in the USA.

    • Lissie profile image

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 8 years ago from New Zealand

      Where does netball fit with basketball - netball is a big sport for women in Australia and NZ but basketball is a more recent import - last 15 odd years. Yet netball seems to be the "dumbed down" girly version of basketball - no dribbling, have to stop when you have the ball, most positions cant cover the whole court. It was the bain of school life LOL