The Story of Basketball

The Story of Basketball

by Dave Anderson, Grant Hill

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Foreword by Grant Hill.

An action-packed account that chronicles the memorable moments and people in basketball history by a Pulitzer Prize-winning sportswriter. "Dedicated fans and newcomers alike will find this handsomely produced volume as satisfying as Kareem's sky-hook." —School Library Journal. "Offers fans much pleasure in a volume both useful

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Foreword by Grant Hill.

An action-packed account that chronicles the memorable moments and people in basketball history by a Pulitzer Prize-winning sportswriter. "Dedicated fans and newcomers alike will find this handsomely produced volume as satisfying as Kareem's sky-hook." —School Library Journal. "Offers fans much pleasure in a volume both useful and comprehensive."—Booklist.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Bruce Adelson
Sportswriter Dave Anderson's Story of Basketball recounts this sport's history, from its invention by Dr. James Naismith in a Springfield, Mass. YMCA in 1891, to the high-flying, rim rattling heroics of Michael Jordan. Anderson tells the story of many of basketball's great teams and stars, including Wilt Chamberlain, the only player to score 100 points in a game; the Harlem Rens, an all African-American team that predated the Globetrotters and captured the basketball world in 1939 by winning 112 of their 119 games; and stars of today, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, and John Stockton. This is an excellent book for children to use for school research projects. However, there are shortcomings. The author's prose is not geared toward children. He uses some language and analogies that children will not be familiar with. He also relegates women's basketball to a couple of pages in the back of the book and avoids discussing the racial integration of the NBA, 80% of whose players today are African-American. Filled with many anecdotes and information on early basketball, this book will provide children with much of the information they are looking for when it comes to learning more about the sport called 'hoops'. Foreword by Grant Hill. 1997 (orig.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6Basketball, revised from the 1988 edition, covers the history of the sport on both the pro and college levels, beginning with the peach basket days,through the era of the set shot, to the fast-paced game of recent years. The second part of the book delves into specific skills (shooting, rebounding, defense, etc.). Unfortunately, the chapter on "Modern Times" focuses mostly on the 1980s, with a few sentences about more recent players and the insertion of several pages on Michael Jordan and the 1992 Dream Team. Football, originally published in 1985, provides a historical overview and then explores specific aspects of the game (coaching, defense, pass receiving, running, etc.) and shows how the outstanding skills of certain individuals changed the way that it's played. In most cases, little new material is offered, except for a few paragraphs here and there rounding off a player's career. The foreword by O.J. Simpson has been removed and replaced with one by Troy Aikman. (In fact, any mention of Simpson's football career has been deleted. Consequently, the chapter on running backs mentions greats such as Franco Harris, Gale Sayers, Walter Payton, and Jim Brown). Libraries that do not own the earlier editions will find these books enjoyable introductions to each sport. Those that have the originals will find little reason to purchase them.Todd Morning, Schaumburg Township Public Library, IL

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
7.54(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

In The Beginning

Dr. Naismith's Peach Baskets

For some youngsters, it starts with aiming a rolled-up wad of paper at a wastebasket. Others toss an empty soda can into a trash bin or flip an apple core into a garbage bag. But for Larry Bird, the legendary Boston Celtic forward from French Lick, Indiana, it started with a coffee can.

"When we were growing up," Bird says of himself and his brothers, "before we got a real basketball hoop, we used a coffee can and tried to shoot one of those small sponge-rubber balls through it."

Basketball is big business now, performed on big stages in big arenas by big players for big money. The National Basketball Association playoffs and the college Final Four are seen on television by millions. High school tournaments stir entire states. But it's also a game for kids in gyms and playgrounds and rural backyards, shooting a basketball at a hoop, sometimes with others, sometimes alone. For nearly a century, from the Original Celtics to the Boston Celtics, from the two-handed set shot to the slam dunk, a ball and a hoop have endured as the essence of the sport, not that much different from the leather soccer ball that Dr. James Naismith tossed to his students late in 1891 and the wooden peach baskets nailed to the balcony railings at each end of the gymnasium in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Unlike other sports, basketball is considered to be a pure American sport, invented in America for Americans. Baseball evolved from rounders, a British game. Football evolved from soccer and rugby, other British games. Golf is believed to have been developed by Scottish shepherds, tennis by Frenchclerics, hockey by Canadian soldiers. Horse racing, track-and-field, swimming, and boxing are as old as humankind. But the beginning of basketball has been documented by its inventor.

Then thirty years old, with a bushy mustache, Canadian-born Naismith was a physical education instructor at the International Young Men's Christian Association Training School, now Springfield College. In that era, the school trained physical education instructors for YMCAs throughout the nation.

In addition to the daily classroom work, an hour of physical education activity was required. In the fall the students played what was then a new game, football. In the spring they went outdoors to play baseball. But during the winter months they were confined indoors for calisthenics and marching. When the students complained, gymnastics were substituted. But the students continued to complain. Naismith, who had spent three years studying for the ministry before deciding to devote himself to physical education, was asked to take over the class by Dr. Luther S. Gulick, the head of the school's physical education department.

"In the fall of '91," Naismith wrote in 1937 while a professor at the University of Kansas, the physical fitness directors of the country "had come to the conclusion that maybe neither the German, Swedish, or French system gave us the kind of work that would hold our membership in the Y's.

" We decided that there should be a game that could be played indoors in the evening and during the winter seasons. I began to think of the fundamental principles of all games. I discovered that in all team games some kind of a ball was used. The next step was to appreciate the fact that football was rough because you had to allow the defense to tackle because the offense ran with the ball. Accordingly, if the offense didn't have an opportunity to run with the ball, there would be no necessity for tackling, and we would thus eliminate roughness.

"This is the fundamental principle of basketball.

"The next step was to secure some kind of a goal through which the ball could be passed. In thinking of upright goals, the fact was brought out that the more force that was put on the ball, the more likelihood there was of having it pass through the goal. it then occurred to me that if the ball were thrown in a curve, it would not be necessary or advisable to put too much force on the ball.

"I decided that by making the goal horizontal the ball would have to be thrown in a curve, minimizing the severe driving of a ball. In order to avoid having the defense congregate around the goal, it was placed above their heads, so that once the ball left the individual's hands, it was not likely to be interfered with.

"Then rules were made to eliminate roughness such as shouldering, pushing, kicking, etc. The ball was to be handled with the hands only. It could not be drawn into the body and thus encourage roughness.

"The manner of putting the ball into play was then considered. Two individuals were selected and took their stations in the middle of the floor. The ball was thrown up so as to land between them, giving as nearly equal chance as possible. The nearest approach to the ball needed was the soccer ball, which we selected.

"To get goals, we used a couple of old peach baskets, hanging one at each end of the gym. From this, basketball developed."

The Original Rules

Before the first basketball game was played in the Springfield gym, Dr. Naismith posted a copy of his original thirteen rules, some of which have never had to be changed:

1. The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.

2. The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands (never with the fist).

3. A player cannot run with the ball. The player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it, allowance to be made for a man who catches the ball when running if he tries to stop.

4. The ball must be held in the hands; the arms or body must not be used for holding it.


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