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Topics in Chronicling America - Basketball

Despite its humble beginnings in a YMCA gymnasium, Basket Ball expands more rapidly than any American sport in history. Over the span of twenty years, peach baskets are swapped with nets and backboards, the art of the dribble is near-perfected, and Dr. James Naismith becomes a household name. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection ( Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.

Picture of vintage basket-ball nets

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Important Dates:

  • 1893: Only one year after its first official contest, “Basket Ball” becomes recognized nationwide as the best indoor game created in decades.
  • 1894: Basketball becomes especially popular with women and co-ed organizations as a fun, non-contact sport.
  • 1898: James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, coaches Kansas University in its inaugural intercollegiate seasons. He makes history as the only KU coach produce a losing career record.
  • 1900-1910: As the game develops it goes through a rigorous process of adopting new rules and disbanding others. Naismith publishes columns explaining the different strategies and nuances of his game.
  • 1910: Basketball shifts from a women’s game to a serious intercollegiate men’s contest, threatening football and baseball’s undisputed position as America’s most beloved sport.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] basketball, basket-ball, Basket Ball, Naismith, dribble, rules, intercollegiate, AAU, YMCA.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  August 18, 2014
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