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The Changing Face Of Basketball Essay

1496 words - 6 pages

The Changing Face of BasketballBasketball has come a long way since its soccer ball and peach basket beginnings in that its style, players, facilities and leagues have developed dramatically and gained tremendous popularity. Salaries have increased from Bob Cousy's minute $45.00 a game (Minser 37) to Michael Jordan's $300,000 + per game (Minser 37). Basketball is a sport in which all ages can participate in any way, shape, or form and is a big part of American society today.In 1891 James A. Naismith invented basketball at a YMCA gymnasium in Springfield, Massachusetts (Hollander 4). He told a custodian to nail two peach baskets 10 feet high on opposite ends of the gymnasium walls. The first teams consisted of nine players on each side (this was later changed to five because of roughness) (Hollander 5-7). The main rules were one could not take more than two steps with the ball, which meant one would have to dribble it and it was not to be a contact sport, so one was not allowed to tackle or push, etc... or a foul would be called. The rules have developed in that a shot clock was installed. The shot clock is a 24 second clock that a team had to shoot within that time period (Minsky 12).Basketball has developed in that players have become more flashy, facilities have become bigger and more complex, and leagues have grown. The 50's marked a period of fundamentals. Teams practiced shooting, dribbling, and passing. they also emphasized execution; something lacking in today's game. Execution is the running of plays to perfection. Basketball in the 50's was dominated by 6'10" George Mikan of the Minneapolis Lakers (Minsky 14).Mikan was a disciplined team leader who had a masterful soft shot. Big George led the Lakers to five National Basketball Association (NBA) championships in six years, making them the first professional basketball dynasty (Minsky 14). Growing up, George was very uncoordinated and was cut from almost every basketball team he tried out for; however, a man named Ray Meyer was the coach of DePaul University and dedicated his training sessions to Mikan (Minsky 15-16). George worked very hard; he even took dance lessons to improve his agility and footwork. He also played one - on - one with shorter but faster players in order to improve his defensive positioning. He also jumped rope, played hours of catch with tennis and medicine balls, and practiced 250 hook shots daily with each hand (Minsky 16). Mikan became an immediate force for DePaul, leading them to a 1945 National Invitational Tournament crown, scoring in one game an amazing 53 points. He Graduated DePaul in 1946 as a three time All American, and was the biggest basketball star up to that time (Minsky 16).there were only a few centers that would ever classify as great, but George Mikan, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar head that list. George's build, Russell's defense, Chamberlain's style, and Abdul-Jabbar's grace all set these guys apart from the rest of...

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