Basketball Hoop History

From Peach Crate to Basketball Hoop

The basketball hoop emerged from the simple idea that tossing a ball into a ring and scoring points could provide hours of fun on a cold wintry day. Basketball was basically invented to keep students active during long chilly months. The first hoop consisted of a peach crate attached to a ten-foot-high railing and players aimed a ball into it. There was no "basket ball" yet, per se.

The game was the brain child of one school-aged Canadian boy in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Dr. James Naismith, a cleric, physician and physical education teacher, filled his spare time as a youth playing a game called "duck on a rock". The rules were simply this: Toss a rock at a makeshift "duck" and try and knock it off a larger rock. Inspired to make physical education part of his life work, Naismith attended McGill University in Montreal where he served as athletic director, and afterwards went on to an athletic training school in Springfield, Mass., in 1891. Students were confined to cozy indoor quarters during the winter, so Naismith was asked to come up with a game of skill to keep them occupied. Combining elements from popular games already in existence, such as American football, soccer, and hockey, all of which involved getting the ball or object into a "goal" to score points, he invented a new game that had students tossing soccer balls into peach crates attached to walls. From there, Naismith was hired to serve as athletic director at the University of Kansas. He gave basketball a set of rules, and the game was on the map. The first basketball games were played in 1892. Eventually the peach crate was replaced with an iron hoop with a loosely-braided pocket attached to it. The problem was that players had to continually retrieve the balls from them, interrupting the game, so the nets became open-ended allowing the balls to drop through. By the turn of the new century basketball was becoming popular in many colleges. The first college games were staged in Madison Square Garden in New York City, in 1934.

Choosing a Basketball Hoop

The basketball hoop has evolved but the concept remains simple. Today there are many kinds of hoops to choose from, depending on the kind of basketball game you want to play. Aside from the standard indoor gymnasium hoops, there are outdoor in-ground hoops, and indoor/outdoor portable hoops. There is also the wall-mounted hoop, and the folding storable system.

The more costly but durable option is the in-ground hoop; a fixture cemented into a hole dug in the ground, but may require professional installation. They're ideal for playgrounds. They generally come in two designs: adjustable, and fixed-height. There are advantages to the in-ground design. They take up less space, are durable and permanent. The adjustable kind is perfect for children as it allows for lowering and raising the hoop. The fixed-height hoop is an in-ground design set to a permanent height in a situation where lowering and raising the hoop will not be as necessary. Be sure and choose an outdoor space that is appropriate for a permanent basketball hoop fixture. A place that allows plenty of room for playing and isn't in the way of cars, or pathways to the house. When choosing a place make sure not to mount a system near trees and shrubs where the roots may eventually grow too close to the base.

A less expensive but equally enjoyable alternative is the portable basketball hoop. A portable hoop is just that, it's moveable, and storable. It comes in youth sizes, or standard adult sizes. The portable youth basketball hoop is great for introducing small children to the game. This lightweight, adjustable system includes a pole, acrylic backboard, brace and base you fill with either sand or water to stabilize it. Systems are usually easy to assemble and take down for easy portability. The obvious advantage to the portable basketball hoop is you can set it up wherever you want, and move it wherever you want. You don't have the concrete to deal with. The disadvantage to the portable basketball hoop is that it does take up more space than the permanent in-ground hoop.

The wall-mounted hoop can be affixed to the side of a house or garage. Systems generally include backboard, hoop, net, and mounting equipment. The folding, storable system is a good option for storing the hoop during long winter months, and there are user-friendly systems using just one tool and just a couple minutes to assemble. This is the way to go if you're looking for such a system, keeping that in mind. Also look for a system that doesn't require emptying the water or sand out of the base before stowing it away.

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