In 1891, a Canadian physical education instructor named James Naismith faced a dilemma about continuing a sports program and having to do it indoors. At that time, most sports were held outdoors or in a wide, open field. It was the middle of winter and Naismith only had limited space to use to continue is P.E. classes.
To solve his problem, Naismith created a game for the students that focused on the use of skills and not merely the utilization of physical strength. He called this invention — basketball. Initially, players were made to dribble a soccer ball up and down a court and points were earned by shooting the ball into a basket. Naismith later developed the game by forming two teams of five active players each who tried to outscore each other by shooting the ball through a 10-feet high hoop or goal. The team with more points at the end of the game wins. Through time, basketball was developed into a sport with standardized and specialized skills.
Today, basketball is one of the most popular sports in the entire world. Its inclusion in the 1936 Olympics and the formation of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1949 further boosted its popularity. The NBA, as the world’s premier basketball league, gave rise to many superstar athletes. Basketball fans were glued to their t.v. sets as they watched these athletes perform acrobatic and high-flying moves across the court.
Traditionally, basketball has been a “male-dominated” sport. It was only in 1976 that women’s basketball was recognized as an Olympic sport. By 1996, more opportunities for female ball players opened up with the formation of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) as a counterpart to the NBA. In 2006, the WNBA became the first team-oriented women’s professional sports league that existed for 10 consecutive seasons. Women like Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoops, and Rebecca Lobo are now enjoying the limelight that was once enjoyed by Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Since its creation in 1891, the sport has already passed through several evolutions as a serious sports event. Aside from attaining its stature as a top-grossing sports and entertainment feature, it is also enjoyed by millions of amateurs and ordinary people who prefer a game that makes them sweat and have fun at the same time. As a sport, basketball provides a balance in terms of skills development, aerobic exercise, and competitiveness.
Participating in physical activities like basketball is beneficial to children, adolescents, and adults. Regular physical activity contributes to overall health and may aid in weight loss. Studies show that regular physical activity has the potential to promote enhanced self-esteem and reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety in children, adolescents, and adults with emotional disorders. People who partake in physical activities excrete substances called endorphins. These endogenous morphins, or endorphins, are the body’s natural pain-killer. Endorphins are released when a person’s physical activity has reached a moderate and high. These substances gives a moments of relaxation, which some health experts call the “runner’s high.” Endorphins make people ‘high’ and happy. Research show that people who exercise regularly have more energy and better self-esteem compared to their inactive counterparts.
People can improve their health and quality of life by picking a physical activity like basketball as a part of their lives. Being physically active early in life may bring many physical, social, and emotional benefits and may lead to good health.