by Mark Lugris
Basketball started at a YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. Today over 300 million people play worldwide. Basketball was invented by Dr. James Naismith, who was ordered to create an indoor game to distract people during the hard New England winters. In 1936 basketball became an Olympic sport.
The first basketball game was played with a soccer ball, peach baskets and nine to a side on December 21, 1891. The creation of basketball was amazing because few sports have been invented and stood the test of time. During the last years of the 19th century, interest in basketball grew and became incredibly popular.
Soon women followed. The first women's team began just a few weeks after the men's. A year later, Smith College in Northhampton, Massachusetts started the first women's college team. In the early 1900s, women and men played double headers, but by 1923, Mrs. Herbert Hoover censured these co-ed games. States followed suit by closing women's sports programs. In 1972, Congress amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and outlawed discrimination in federally funded sports programs. Today, women's basketball fills stadiums and is played by 13.5 million women.