Exactly 125 years ago, the first game of "Basket Ball" was played.
The sport's inventor, James Naismith, a thirty-year old Canadian-American physical educator, came up with an original set of thirteen rules, some of which have since been modified.
In his lifetime, Naismith saw the adoption of basketball as an Olympic demonstration sport in the 1904 Summer Olympic Games in St. Louis, and as an official event in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.
Naismith taught Physical Education at the International Young Men's Christian Association Training School (known today as Springfield College, in Springfield, Massachusetts). In order to deal with the brutal New England winters and an unruly class of young men, Naismith was tasked with creating an athletic activity that could be played indoors.
Researching the popular sports at the time, Naismith wanted a "clean sport" and was set on minimizing physical contact. As such, he decided that:
1. a big, soft ball was necessary to offset injuries;
2. running, dribbling, or hitting a ball were to be forbidden, and only passing would be permitted;
3. the goal should be out of the players' reach, and to be placed above the players' heads.
On December 21st, 1891, Naismith prepared a poster listing the game's rules, two peach baskets, and a soccer ball, and waited for his class to test out his sport. The first game ended with a number of injuries, and the rules were revisited.
Other rules dealt with the duration of the game (two 15-minute halves), the absence of coaches, and though there was no mention of the number of players per team, the first game was a 9 on 9 match (dribbling was not part of the original rules, which explains the higher number of players). Players were to be ejected from the game after two fouls.
Basketball's popularity grew rapidly, and by the end of the XIXth century, enough college teams existed that the first intercollegiate competitions started.