The evolution of modern basketball

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A Thesis Presented To the Faculty of the School of Education University of Southern California

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Science in Education

fey Robert William Bell June 1950

UMI Number: EP56117

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T h is thesis, w r i t t e n u n d e r the d ir e c t io n o f the C h a ir m a n o f th e c a n d id a te ’s G u id a n c e C o m m itte e a n d a p p r o v e d by a l l m em b ers o f the C o m m itte e , has been p re se n te d to a n d accep ted by the F a c u lt y o f the S c h o o l o f E d u c a t io n o f the U n iv e r s it y o f S o u th e rn C a l i f o r n i a in p a r t i a l f u l f i l l m e n t o f the re q u ire m e n ts f o r the degree o f M a s t e r o f Science in E d u c a tio n . D a te


IS ! - .

D ean 'uidance C om m ittee





. . .

The p r o b l e m .............. ^ ............... Statement


of the problem 1 ...............

Importance of the study

• v"...........



of thestudy

1 .


1 2

Method of p r o c e d u r e .................... . . Review of related studies






of terms used / ...............


¥ "

T r e n d ........................... . . . . .


O f f e n s e .......... . .....................


Defense ..................................


D r i b b l e ........................... .


. .

S t a l l i n g ..............

7 /

Organization of remaining II.

chapters ^ . . . .

THE HISTORY OF B A S K E T B A L L ................... O r i g i n ................................ . G r o w t h ....................................


DEVELOPMENT OF BASIC CHARACTERISTICS. . . . E q u i p m e n t ................... B a l l .................................... Basket


C o u r t ....................................

7 8

8 10 12 12 12 13 14


PACE Backboard



U n i f o r m s ..................................


Modifications for the handicapped

. . . .


. . . . . . .


The elimination of rough play Out of bounds p l a y ..........


Personal fouls ............................


D r i b b l e ..................................


Fouling the s h o o t e r .....................


Two minute rule


Jump b a l l s ...................


Pivot p l a y ................................


Sportsmanship IV.






. . . . .


G - o a l t e n d i n g ................................


Defensive a i d s ..........




Official must handle the ball in offensive court




Three - second r u l e .....................


Ten - second r u l e .......................


OFFENSIVE TRENDS « . . . .......................


Speed up the g a m e ..........


D r i b b l e ..................................


Elimination of center jump .




PAGE S t a l l i n g ...............................-. .


Fast b r e a k ................... . ..........


S h o o t i n g ...................


Two hand s h o t ............................


One hand s h o t


. .

S c o r i n g .................................... VI.

SUMMARY AND C O N C L U S I O N S ..............

51 52

S u m m a r y ....................................











THE PROBLEM AND DEFINITION OF TERMS USED Participation in the game of basketball has greatly increased in the past two decades.

This increase has brought

about many changes and established various trends in offens­ ive and defensive play.

However, basketball as it is played

today is fundamentally the same as that played in the early nineteen hundreds, but changes in the rules has had a ten­ dency to bring about distinct offensive and defensive trends in the game.

These trends have altered some phases of the

game until they are very different from their original in­ tention.



Statement of the problem.

It was the purpose of this

study (l) to determine the origin and historical growth of basketball; teristics;

(2) to establish the development of basic charac­ (3) to present various offensive and defensive

trends; and (4) to determine how and why these trends have developed. Importance of the study.

Trends in basketball are

often established as a result of changes in the rules; however, rule changes are usually provided to regulate and

control established trends which are injurious to the game. This study was undertaken to provide a better understanding of basketball as it is influenced by rule changes. Limitations of the study. library study.

This is predominantly a

The primary sources of materials for this

study were the official basketball rule books.


and comments about rule changes were found in periodical literature, and these were used as a secondary source of materials to supplement the rule books.

II. Procedure.


The method of procedure used in this

study was to obtain all of the rule changes from the basket­ ball rule books.

These rule changes were used to establish

various trends in the game.

These trends were categorized

into groups such as equipment, the elimination of rough play, sportsmanship, fouling, goal tending, defensive aids, the speed up of the game, shooting, and scoring.


appearing in books, magazines, and newspapers before and after the rule changes were used to aid in the interpretation of these rule changes and trends.


In a survey of .the field little material concerning

3 the influences of rule changes was found; however, several studies have been made regarding smaller phases of this study. History of basketball.

Several studies have been

made concerning the invention and development of basketball. James Naismith,^ the inventor of the game, published a book that was quite complete in detail and gave a good account of the history of the game.

A. E. Metzdorf^ also published

a short history of basketball.

In 1948 Lamont Buchanan^

introduced a fine book about the story of basketball which featured pictures and photographs compiled through the years. Equipment.

Some studies have been performed about

some phases of equipment.

An interesting article appeared

in The Literary Digest^ regarding the size and shape of the basketball.

Another was done by A. Edward Willett^

James Naismith, Basketball (Hew York: Press, 1941), p. 30.


^ A. E. Metzdorf, “The Story of Basketball," Spaulding Official Basketball Guide (Hew Yorks American Sports Publishing Co., 1926), p. 10. 3 Lamont Buchanan, The Story of Basketball (New York: Stephen Paul Publishers, 1948), p. 7. ^ "How Sports Grow," The Literary Digest. 52:316, February 5, 1916. 5 A. Edward Willett, "The Modified Basketball Back­ board, M The Journal of Health and Physical Education. 11:609, December, 1940.

4 concerning the fan shaped backboard.

This study evaluated

the advantages and disadvantages of the fan shaped board and compared them to those of the rectangular backboard. H. V. Porter^ presented an article which described the changes which have been made in basketball equipment.


article covers all phases of equipment and is well written. Sportsmanship.

The problem of good sportsmanship

has always been a controversial one, and many articles and studies have been produced regarding this situation. In 1902 Reverend Block^ issued a statement concerning poor sportsmanship during basketball contests.

He thought

that the game of basketball was instrumental in building character in young men. Luther Gulick® and Harry Henshel9 also published articles about character in basketball, and they attribute fine character to good sportsmanship.

^ H. V. Porter, "Modernized Basketball Equipment," Athletic Journal, 21:26, June, 1941. ^ Reverend Newton Block, "Character in Basketball," Spaulding Official Basketball Guide (New York: American Sports Publishing Co., 1902}, p. 17. ® Luther H. Gulick, "The Present Tendencies of Basketball,” Spaulding Official Basketball Guide (New Yorks American Sports Publishing Co., 1908), p. 11. 9 Harry D. Henshel, "Basketball Means Sportsmanship,11 The Golden Jubilee of basketball (New York: Davis, Delaney, and H a r r i s I n c ., 1941), p. 7.

5 G-oaltending.

Stanley Frank,10 in an article about

the problem of goaltending, stated that he believed the cure for goaltending was to eliminate the backboard entirely. Bruce Drakell also published an article about goaltending.

This article described the manner in which the

tall player dominated the control of the game, and prescribed a possible cure by raising the basket to an elevation of twelve feet. Center .jump.

There has been much publicity and

controversy about the center jump.

A great amount of lit­

erature has been published regarding this topic. An article by John Bunn^^ discussed the pros and cons of the center jump, and also described the trial pro­ cedure used in the Pacific Coast Conference which had much to do with the elimination of the center tip off. Many proposals were offered to the rules committee as possible changes for the center jump rule.

Of these,

Robert W r i g h t ^ suggested that each player rotate to the Stanley Frank, "Take Away The Backboards,” The Saturday Evening Post, 212:11, January 6, 1940. 11 Bruce Brake, "Seven Foot Trouble, "The Saturday Evening Post, 216:16, February 19, 1944. 1^ John W. Bunn, "Should The Center Jump Be Banned,” Athletic Journal, 16:6, December, 1935. 1® Robert D. Wright, "Suggested Change in the Center Jump Rule," Athletic J ournal» 16:34, January, 1936.

center position and take turns on successive jumps after each basket. Stalling. Oswald

The problem of stalling was discussed by

T o w e r ^ in the Athletic Journal in 1930.

thatthe zone defense

He thought

was responsible for the development

of stalling tactics. Roy Henderson-*-5 also surveys the problems involved when stalling occurs.



In order to provide clarity and understanding some of the terms used in this study are defined as followst ^NTrend.

A definite tendency or pattern of action

regarding some phase of basketball. Offense.

The attacking situation; when a team has

possession of the ball and is attempting to score. Defense.

When the team without possession of the

ball is trying to prevent the offense from scoring. 14 Oswald Tower, "Stalling in Basketball," Athletic Journal. 11:11, October, 1930. 1^ Roy B. Henderson, "More About The Stall." Athletic Journal, 9:46, May, 1929.

7 Dribble.

The bouncing of the ball against the floor

either while the player is in a stationary position or while he is moving. Stalling.

The refusal of the team which is behind

in the score to play aggressive basketball.



The history of basketball is covered in Chapter II. This chapter deals with the origin and growth of the game. In Chapter III the development of basic character­ istics is attached with emphasis being placed on equipment, good sportsmanship, and the elimination of rough play. Chapter IV deals with the trends in defensive play. These trends include fouling, goaltending, and some factors which are aids to defensive play. Offensive trends are described in Chapter V.


offensive trends developed in this chapter are the speed up of the game; with the dribble, center jump, stalling, and the fast break playing an important part; the types of shooting styles; and the scoring tendencies. Chapter VI states the summary and conclusions of the study.

CHAPTER II THE HISTORY OP BASKETBALL The United States is recognized as the mouther country of the game called basketball, a game which is played zealously throughout most of the countries of the world.

It was conceived and originated by James Naismith

during the winter of 1891-92, in Springfield, Massachusetts Prior to the invention of basketball indoor physical education was primarily calisthenics and gymnastics.


presented a rather dull program to the American youth of that day.

As a result, the physical education program was

very unsatisfactory to the students, and they showed little interest in the calisthenics and formal gymnastics.


this new generation wanted was pleasure and thrill rather than physical b e n e f i t s . T h i s

situation established the

need for something new and different. Luther Gulick, director of the Springfield Y.M.C.A. (Springfield College), then asked each of his instructors to try to devise a new game which would fit the following requirements. 1. It should be such as could be played by a fairly large number of men at once. 2. It should be adaptable to any kind of play space James Naismith, Basketball (New Yorks Press, 1941), p. 30.


9 3. It should exercise a man all around. 4. It should he so attractive that men would desire to play it for its own sake. 5. It should have little or none of the roughness of football. 6. It should be easy to learn. 7. It should be scientific enough to beinteresting With these requirements in mindyfNaismith set to work in the quest for a new winter game.

After several very

discouraging failures, he devised a game which he called basketball.

The following statement by Naismith explains

how he contrived this sport. In the process of planning the game, I decided that certain fundamental principles were necessary. 1. There must be a ball; It should be large, light, and handled with the hands. 2. There shall be no running with the ball. 3. No man on either team shall be restricted from getting the ball at any time that it is in play. 4. Both teams are to occupy the same area, yet there is to be no personal contac.t. 5. The goal shall be horizontal and elevated. These five principles are still the unchanging factors of basketball.3 Although basketball was designed for men, it was first interpreted by college men as being too tame, and it was played only by women for several years.


however, the men accepted it as a winter sport and it to spread throughout the nation.

The rapid spread of the

^ A. E. Metzdorf, "The Story of Basketball,11 Spaulding Official Basketball Guide (New Yorks American Sports Publishing Co., 1926), p. 10. ^ Naismith,





10 game, and the direct attempt of the players to prove that it was a game for men, produced tendencies toward rough play in which holding, blocking, and tripping were prevalent. However, the intelligent work of basketball boosters has developed the game into an orderly affair instead of the chaotic play of the early nineteen hundreds. The game has grown thoughout the entire country until today more spectators attend basketball games than any other sport.

”It is a long way and a far cry from that New England

Y.M.C.A. gym on Winchester Square to the glittering, roaring basketball meccas like the Boston Garden and Arena, Chicago Stadium, Frisco Cow Palace, or Madison Square Garden today, * with green bordered, shiny mahogany floor, flag hung ceiling and shadowed tiers of avid spectators, perhaps,20,000 of them.11^ Although modern basketball is -fundamentally the same as that played in the embryo state, it has recently devel­ oped a fine coat of polish.

’’The game that is played today,

that packs them in from gyms, gardens and arenas, to field houses and convention halls, coast to coast, is rough and mugged plus a glittering assortment neuvering and eye pleasing marksmanship.

^ Lamont Buchanan, The Story of Basketball (New York: Stephen Paul Publishers, 1948), p. 7. ® Ibid., p. 11.

"basketball was accepted in many foreign countries soon after the game was first played in the United States.1*® It was introduced by foreign students who studied in the United States and who then returned to their native countries. It was also Introduced through the Y.M.C.A. in foreign coun­ tries.

However, the greatest impetus to foreign Indoctri­

nation has been accomplished by the American armed forces on foreign soil. In the introduction to Naismiths book on basketball, Clair Bee is quoted as sayings

“Today basketball has become

the sport that holds the interest of millions between the football and baseball seasons.

It is probably the only

athletic sport consciously ’invented1 to meet a recognized need.”^

Haismith, Basket-bed:1 .XjSew^York^^iAs^Obl^ablron Bre‘S-S7*^T9^*i-})*5 p. 143. 7 Ibid., p. 9.

CHAPTER III DEVELOPMENT OF BASIC CHARACTERISTICS Basic characteristics are those which are neither offensive nor defensive as a whole, but which could be attributed to the type of play of either one.

The type of

equipment and the part it plays in the game, the elimination of excessive body contact and roughness, and acceptable sportsmanlike conduct are interpreted as being basic charac­ teristics. The primary sources of materials used in this study were the official basketball rule books and these were supplemented with articles from books and periodical lit­ erature .


When Naismith invented basketball he decided

that the ball to be used must be large enough to be clearly seen by all persons involved in the game.

"Every possible

sphere was tried - large and small, hard and soft.


showed that, it must be large, to forestall the temptation to carry it; and that it must be inflated, both for purpose of dribbling an&Nto prevent injury to the players.


the regulation association football was adopted and proved

wholly satisfactory.

The association football was exactly

like the present day soccer ball, and this ball is a round inflated sphere with a circumference of about twenty four inches.

This type of ball was used until the early nine­

teen hundreds and was then supplanted by one of larger dimensions.

The new ball^ had a circumference of thirty two

inches and was much easier for the players to handle.

As the

game gradually began to speed up in offensive tempo it was 3 found that a thrity inch ball was more adequate for the re­ quirements of the game, and the ball of today does not exceed that measurement. Basket.

The steel rim basket of today is a far cry

from the original peach baskets used when basketball was in its infancy.

From the day of the garnet conception until

1893, ordinary peach baskets were mailed to the balconies or walls of buildings, and were used as a goal into which the ball was thrown.

The baskets were attached at a level

of ten feet above the floor.

This was to prevent opposing

players from knocking the ball away from the basket while

’’How Sports Grow,” The Literary Digest, 52 5316, February 5, 1916. ^ Official Basketball Buies, Rule two, Section one, 1900-01. Official Basketball Rules, Rule four, Section one, 1934-35.

14 it was in the air.

In 1893 the iron rim was introduced with

a cord net to catch the hall.

f1To get the hall out of this

basket, an ingenious device was installed.

A chain was

fastened to the bottom of the net and passed over a pulley on the brace that fastened the basket to the support.


empty the basket, the referee pulled the handle of the chain and the ball rolled out.11^ Early in the twentieth century added improvements were made, and the present day net was developed.

This net

is constructed with the bottom open, and it checks the ball only momentarily as it passes through the basket. Court.

The first playing court was established with

the walls of the building to be used as the boundary lines, and the original rules did not call for any specific size for the playing court.

As a result the early basketball

courts were of various sizes and shapes.

This created many

hazards to the players, and in 1894 a rule was enacted specifying that all boundary lines must be clearly marked C

at least three feet from the walls.

In 1903 a clause was

Inserted stating that the boundary lines must be straight.^

^ James Naismith, Basketball (New Yorki Press, 1941), p. 92.


5 Ibid., p. 96. ® Official Basketball Rules, Rule one, Section one, 1*903-04 •

15 Later on? it was decreed that the court must be rectan­ gular, and in 1915 an official court was reccomended to be ninety feet long and fifty feet wide.®

A minimum of seventy

four feet in length and forty two feet in width was also pro­ posed.

These reecomendations were not put into the form of

a rule, and basketball can be and is played on any size court within these minimum and maximum requirements both indoors and outdoors. With the establishment of boundary lines, the basket was placed above the end line.

This created a situation

where many disputes arose because often the players were out of bounds when they scored a goal.

As a result the rules

committee enacted a rule^ that moved the basket two feet inside the end line, and later changed this to four feet.


This did away with most of the disputes on scoring from beneath the basket. Backboard.

The basket ball backboard is the one

piece of equipment that has undergone the most changes in 7 Official Basketball- Rules, Rule one , Section one, 1914-15. 8 Official Basketball Rules, Rule one , Section one, 1915-16. 9 Official Basketball Rules, Rule one, Section one, 1918-19. 10 Official Basketball Rules, Rule one, Section one, 1938-39.

16 the past fifty years. There are two schools of thought as to the origin of the backboard.

The first is portrayed by Edward Willett who

says: The first game of basketball was played in the old Y.M.C.A. gymnasium at Springfield College in 1891. At each end of the floor a peach basket was suspended from the railing of the running track. It is very probable that the players soon grew tired of climbing up on the track to retrieve missed shots which went through the bars of the railing and refused to roll back. At any rate a flat structure of boards was placed behind the basket against the railing. Since the railing was about four feet high, this was chosen as the height of the board. A width of six feet was deemed adequate to stop most of the wild shots. This was the beginning of the backboar d. ^ The other school of thought is expressed by Naismith, and can probably be regarded as the more authentic. backboards are really the only accessory of the game that are accidental in their origin. Had it not been for the overzealous spectators who gladly used any means to help their team win, the backboard might not be in use today. When the game began to attract crowds, the only available space for them was in the gallery. As the baskets were nailed to the lower edge of the balcony, it was easy for a person to thrust his hand suddenly through the rail and deflect the ball enough to make it enter or miss the goal, as he des i r e d . ^ At any rate, in 1895 a rule ^3 was installed stating A. Edward Willett, "The Modified Basketball Back­ board," The Journal of Health and Physical Education. 11:609, December, 1940. v/ ■L"'/ James Naismith, Basketball, (New York: Associatio Press, i94l), p. 93. ^

Ybid., p. 94.

17 that there should be a backstop six feet wide and four feet high composed of screen or other solid material.

Most of

the early backboards were made of heavy screen so that the ipectators could see through them and watch the progress of the game.

These boards were quite fragile and soon gave

away to more stable wooden ones. Glass backstops were introduced in 1909, but only a few schools were equipped with them, and visiting teams were at a disadvantage due to a difference in the rebound from the smooth glass surface.

Although glass boards and

wooden boards were both legal, wooden boards were more wide­ ly used. This did not stop the experimenters, and several boards of various sizes and shapes were tested by the Medart Company.

These variations^ were soon discarded as being


They included one with the hoop attached to the

lower edge of the backboard with no part of the board ex­ tending below the level of the r i m . ( Other variations con­ tained a board with a convex surface, and one which sported small wing shaped sides which protruded at the approximate angle of fifteen or twenty degrees.^ Another board which was proposed and rejected was one in which the board was situated in a verticle slant with the lower edge closer to the end line than the top edge.

This enabled a player to go past

■^John Cooper, Personal interview, February, 1950.

18 the backboard and still reach back for a bank shot off of the board into the basket. In 1939 the fan shaped board made of steel was in troduced to the basketball world.

This type of board was

much smaller than the wooden retangular board, and was the first drastic change in the size and shape of the backboard. The fan shaped board soon became popular in several sections of the country and its boosters declared that the fan board was superior to the rectangular board because of the following reasons. 1. Permit freer use of the four foot end space, permitting offensive play from nearly all sides of the basket. 2. Greatly increase the visibility of the basket from corners and ends of the gym. 3 . Increase space under the basket from which a goal may be made. 4. Simplify the bridgework for hanging the back­ board. 5. Have a more pleasing appearance and a better target?-^ Also, the advocates of the fan shaped board believed that this type of backstop would produce better shooters, for there would be less chance of a lucky shot to carom from the board into the basket. The fan board gathered such a great following that

^ A. Edward Willett, !lThe Modified Basketball Back­ board, ’’The Journal of Health and Physical Education, 11:609, December, 1940.

in 1940 the rules committee incorporated it into the rules and declared that either type board was legal.^®/fhe comr e ­


also recommended that fan boards be installed in high

schools but left the final decision to rest with the high school planning boards. In the early nineteen forties the rectangular glass backboards made a strong reappearance.

This was done in

an effort to increase the visibility for the additional spectators who were seated behind the baskets.

In 1946

transparent boards were authorized and in 1949 they were decreed to be mandatory for all colleges.

1 1j

The fan shaped

board is still legal and is widely used for high school play Uniforms. Basketball uniforms have changed consi­ derably between 1891 and 1950.

The first uniforms were

regular gymnasium clothing and consisted of sweat shirts and long trousers.

This was not the standard wearing ap­

parel, however, for the game was usually played in ordinary street clothing.

rfIn those days

(1902-05) the ultimate in

chic uniforms was long troubers fastened at the bottom with

Off-1 nlal Basketball Rules. Rule two, Soction one, 1940-41. 17 Official Basketball Rulea. Rule one, Section seven,



"bicycle clips." The first uniforms that were actually designed for basketball closely resembled football pants, with padded knees, thighs, and hips.

The jersey was built with short

sleeves in the same manner as covering was also worn in the earlier part of the twentieth century.

This head covering consisted of several interwoven

straps which were used to hold the player*s hair in place. The crown was made of leather straps to insure proper ven­ tilation of the head and reduce the collection of excess 19 heat. 11Much progress has been made since the days when padded hips and trunks, reaching nearly to the knees, were in vogue.’1^

The present uniform is composed of a light

weight sleeveless jersey and brief light weight trunks. Also, rubber soled canvas topped shoes are used to insure good footing and maneuverability.

The rubber soled

shoes were first introduced to basketball in 1903 by the Spaulding Sporting Goods Company.

These shoes were guar­

anteed not to slip on any floor, and were also supposed

"Basketball,” The Literary Digest, 123:32, January 2 , 1937. John Cooper, Personal Interview, February, 1950. 20 ^ v . Porter, ”Modernized Basketball Equipment,” Athletic Journal, 21:26, June, 1941.

to give the wearer a decided advantage over his opponent. Modifications for the handicapped.

Many experiments

have been performed ,with basketball equipment to provide some type of gear that would enable every person to play this exiting game* One experiment was performed in a school for the blind, to determine whether these persons could play basketball. Musical bells were attached to each player and the ball,


with different toned bells being used for Jipposing teams, and another unlike toned bell inside the ball.

This test

has not been too successful as yet, but inventors are still working on this theory. A very successful trial has been the playing of basket­ ball in wheel chairs, and many veterans hospitals provide this sport in their athletic program. The schools for the deaf also play basketball, but no modifications are needed in the rules.

The vibration

waves in the air caused by the whistle are felt by the players and they react as if they had heard the whistle.



When basketball was first invented it was classified' as a no body contact sport, and rules were drawn up to penalize those who engaged in a rough type of play.


many of the red blooded citizens of that era discovered that

22 this was a no body contact sport they began to boycott the game and labeled it as a sissy's pastime.

Those who did

play were anxious to prove that this was a game for men, so they disregarded some of the original rules and resorted to blocking, tripping, pushing, and general football tactics. As a result of this m i sinterpretation of the rules, \ the officials and boosters of the game have continually supported moves to eliminate the rough style of play.

; The

following criticism depicts the need for some limitations of roughness on the playing court.

"It (basketball) has much

in common with football, although football is termed a ’con­ tact game* and basketball is not.

A contact game simply

means that if a player is killed, the event is taken as part of the afternoon's fun.

No one to date has been killed

playing basketball, but injuries are as numerous as in foot­ ball. " 2 1 A definite interpretation of fouling was


necessary to partially correct this haphazard attitude of the players and to develop some degree of coherence in the game. Out of, bounds play.

The original r u l e s ^ stated that

if a ball went out of bounds the first player to recover it


”^ 0

Build Up of Basketball," The Nation, 140:357,

March 27, '1935. 2 2 James Naismith, "First Basketball Rules," Spaulding Official Basketball Quide (New York: American Sports rub 1 ishing Co., 1937), p. 189.

could put it in play.

This created confusion and pushing in

an effort to retrieve the ball until a rule was created stating that the ball was to be put in play by an opponent of the player who caused it to go out of

b o u n d s .

23 This rule

partially eliminated roughness on the sidelines, but the issue was never really settled until 1913 when a rule24 was passed from touching the ball or player who is out of bounds until that person puts the ball in play by throwing it across the boundary line. Personal fouls.

Holding, tripping, and pushing were

clearly defined in the rules25 and a violation resulted in the offender being charged with a personal foul.

The accu­

mulation of four personal fouls was enough cause for a player to be banished from the game. Dribble.

The introduction of the dribble caused quite

a furore in offensive basketball.

The player who was in

possession of the ball developed the tendency to drive for the opponent’s basket without regard for his opponentfs life or limbs. This created much rough play and established the

23 Official Basketball Rules, Rule eleven, Section 24, 1901-02. 24 Official Basketball Rules, Rule eleven, Section 2 2 , 1 9 1 3 - 1 4 . ------------------- -------pc:

Official Basketball Rules, Rule 2 2 , Sections 15, 16, 17, 18, 1&15-16"

24 need for legislative action to curb excessive roughness resulting from this spectacular addition to the game.


new rule states 1If a dribbler charges into an opponent.or makes personal contact with an opponent, without an apparent


effort to avoid such contact, a personal foul shall be called.’ on the dribbler.

If, despite the dribbler1s effort to avoid i

contact, personal contact ensues, either player, or both may ; i«

be guilty; but the greater responsibility is on the dribbler 1 if he tries to dribble by an opponent who is in his path,."^j) This ruling again equalized the offense and defense as much as possible and harmonized play to a great extent. Fouling the shooter.

Early in the nineteen twenties

the defensive players decided that they could foul an offensive man who had broken into the clear for a close shot, and by so doing, could prevent a sure score by this opponent.

The rules

committee met this challenge in 1923 by enacting a rule^^ that gave two free throws to any player who was fouled in the act of shooting. Two Minute Rule.

Another situation where fouling has

been curbed is near the end of the game when the team which is behind in the score throws caution to the wind and causes

News item in the New York Times, October 9, 1928. ^ Official Basketball Rules, Rule 15, Sections 6, 7, 8, 9, 1923-24.

25 excessive fouling in an attempt to intercept the ball. Many proposals were offered to solve this problem, but the rules committee decided upon a

p r o p o s a l ^

that was first

voiced in 1938 and incorporated into the rules 1949. This plan is the present controversial two minute foul rule which enables the team that is fouled in the last two minutes to shoot the free shot and retain possession of the ball at center court.

Although this ruling decreased fouling, it is

not very acceptable to the coaches of today for it slows down the tempo of play and limits the team which is behind in the score. Jump balls.

The increased speed of the game, and the

rough play at the center jump was cause enough for the rules committee to pass the following rule in the year 1937. ’’Around the center jumping circle another circle has been marked, this outer circle to have a radius of six feet-the same as the radius of the circle whichvis part of the free throw lanes.

.The large outside circle at center is a

restraining line which the players are forbidden to cross during a jump ball at center until one of the jumpers has tapped the ball.

This rule has been made to put a stop to

the crowding around the referee and the two jumpers which

^ Official Basketball Rules, Rule eight, Section five, 1949-50.

j j

26 caused a great deal of pushing and jostling as the players sought positions of advantage in order to gain possession of the ball after it was

t a p p e d ."^9

This rule was followed by one^O in 1 9 4 8 stating that all jump balls must take place at the nearest of one of the three restraining circles, except those that have always gone to midcourt. Pivot Play.

Early in the nineteen thirties the center

post or pivot man was introduced to offensive play.


style of play featured a large center who would assume his position under the basket and provide a target for his team mates to throw him the ball.

toon as he received the ball

he would calmly drop it into the basket and the scorer would count up two more points.

The defensive team, in an effort

to stop this scoring threat, would race back to assume this position before the offensive center could get to,it.


created much pushing and fouling as each man tried to obtain the ball.

"From a spectator1s viewpoint, the pivot man and

his guard have developed a ^how* bordering on that of the professional wrestling match."31

The rules committee,

"You May have the Floor," Scholastict 29:28, January 23, 1937. ^ Official Basketball Rules t Rule six, Sections 2, 3, 4, 5, 1948-49. c . V. Money, "The Three-Second Rule in Basketball," Athletic Journal, 16:35, January, 1936.

endeavoring to stop this rough play, and in an effort to equalize the offensive and defensive rebound opportunities, passed the three-second rule.

This rule allowed any offensive

player the privilege of remaining in the free throw area only three seconds whether in possession of the ball or not. One reason for this rule is explained by Clifford Wells in the following statement.

"An important change has been made

in the three second rule, which is to apply in the free throw area and to eliminate the roughing and fouling that have been caused by the pivot play during the past few seasons It appears that the pivot man will have to go in to meet the ball and work fast, or play outside of the free throw a r e a . " ^ This rule was very successful in eliminating the rough play under the basket.



When basketball was invented it was intended to be a game with little or no body contact.

In an effort to prove

that basketball was not a sissy game the players became quite rough in their methods of play.

This led to much

body contact and often touched off hot tempers as well. Poor sportsmanship was very prevalent in nineteen hundred, and

^ Clifford Wells, "Basketball Strategy Under the 1935-36 Rules," Athletic Journal, 16i23, September, 1935.

28 many institutions were in favor of dropping basketball from their curriculum for they believed it was a game that en­ couraged poor sportsmanship.

Beverend Block issued this

statement in reply to these proposals. "I should say, keep the game and teach the boys to play it, for it is a noble one and I know of no better developer of that element of character-self control.

Many a boy has learned

more about

keeping his temper from playing basketball than ever he could be taught from talk or sermon or reading.

Keep and

use it, but make the boy play it hard and according to rule. That he take hard knocks and slaps occasionally without imagining that his opponent is doing it purposely; it is the fighter who is always accusing another of abusing him. That he accept a defeat without grumbling, except at himself for not playing better.

It is better to lose as a gentlemen '2 'Z

than to win as a rowdy; better lose than be dishonest.11 Also, a rule was enacted in 1902 stating

that any

player using profane language should be disqualified


removed from the game. The enforcement of this ruling greatly aided the drive for good sportsmanship, and the spectators


quickly censored any player who broke this rule and who

j i

acted in a dishonest manner.

This is substantiated by

3 3 Reverend Newton Block, "Character in Basketball," Spaulding Official Basketball Guide (New York: American Sports Publishing C o ., 1902), p. 17.

29 Luther Gulick who wrote; riPublic sentiment supports the exclusion of dishonesty in collegiate competitions in a way that would have been utterly impossible twenty or even ten years ago.11^

J v



- -

' Improved officiating, adequate and careful legislation

of rules, proper spectator attitudes, and better trained coaching staffs have all contributed to the sportsmanship of basketball.

Although there is still much room for im­

provement, "Where once rival players were hooted and hissed, tripped and annoyed, today they are amicably welcomed and their performances are greeted with applause and enthusiasm by the crowd.""35 — --- ^



Although some teams, schools, and sections of the

country still demonstrate instances of poor sportsmanship, the general trend has been toward improved basketball re­ lations, and general good sportsmanlike conduet.

Luther H; Gulick, "The Present Tendencies of Basketball, "Spaulding Official Basketball Guide (New York: American Sports Publishing Co., 1908), p. 11. 3 5 Harry D. Henshel, "Basketball Means Sportmanship," The Golden Jubilee of Basketball (IMew York: Davis, Delaney, and Harrs,"Inc., 1941), p. 7.



Although the category of fouling was covered in chapter three under basic trends, some phases which are pertinent to defensive play are mentioned here. Originally there was no set number of fouls, either technical or personal, which eliminated a player from the game.

The referee had the power to oust a player If he

persisted in excessive rough play, and no substitute was allowed to take his place. As the game developed and became better understood, the need was seen to clarify the foul rules.

In the early



nineteen hundreds the rules committee classified fouls into two categories.

One category was called personal fouls, and

these arose as a result of body contact.

It was decided that

each player be allowed three personal fouls before banishment from the game.

The other category was named technical fouls

and these were levied by the official for minor offenses. Unportsmanlike conduct was usually the cause of most of the technical fouls. The limit of three personal fouls for each player was later found to be inadequate, and was soon changed to a total

31 '/of four."** The trend towards speeding up the game led to more i

body contact, and in 1944 the rules committee legislated that

I five personal fouls would be required to cause elimination V • 2 \ from the game.1- That ruling is still in effect at this date.

II. GOALTENDING Goaltending• Goaltending has been a very successful defensive weapon.

This came about during the period when

coaches were stressing speed and high scoring games. Several coaches, in an effort to cope with the increased number of shots that were converted to scores, placed a very tall man 'under the basket with orders to jump up and intercept the shot ' before it could enter the basket. goaltending,

This was the beginning of

or what some coaches called the "Nightmare" of


^basketball. Goaltending soon became a nation wide squabble. Those coaches who were successful in having a large rebound


| \

were in favor of goaltending, while the coaches whose teams were composed of smaller men fought to eliminate it. Because of the great clamor raised by this situation, and probably due to the dominance of those coaches who were unable to obtain a tall player, a ruling was inaugurated in 1937 which stated: "A defensive player cannot touch, the ball

^ Official Basketball Rules. Rule 24, Section 8, 191516^ Official Basketball Rules, Rule 10, Section 8, 194445.

32 the hand or arm, while it is on the edge of or within / / the

"basket, or while it is directly above the basket.


\ The

penalty for this violation was an automatic score-of


^points for the offensive team. This ruling was designed to banish goaltending, but ' was

only moderately successful.

The rule penalized only those

who touched the ball while it was on or above the basket, therefore, the taller players would intercept the ball when it was several inches from the penalty areas. The failure of this rule to eliminate goaltending brought forth a new hue and cry for proper legislation. Many new plans and suggestions were tendered as a means of curbing this unfavorable condition.

Several of these suggest-^ I ions are listed such as removing the backboards, raising the ( | backboards, and preventing the defensive player from touching the ball while it is on its downward flight and above the basket rim. The following statements are arguments offered in defense of the recommendations.

"The most interesting phase

of the rausmit-backboard crusade is that it can eliminate most of the abuses which have cropped up to bedevil basket­ ball.

The latest nightmare plaguing the better minds concerns

"Changes in the Rules for 1937-38, "Spaulding Official Basketball Guide (Hew Yorki American Sports rublishing Co., 1937), p. 194.

53 the stationary goal tender."4

Other coaches disagreed with

taking away the backboards but proposed that they be raised. Bruce Drake said, "Although I feel that the rules committee . is on the right track when it proposes to fine goal tenders two points everytime they reach above the goal to touch an opponents shot coming down, I !m not entirely convinced that this is the best solution.

I fve always leaned toward that

twelve-foot-goal idea Phog Allen has been pumping for since 1932."5 When asked to give his opinion Nat Holman said, "When tall players act as goalies and deflect forty percent of the shots taken at the basket,

it makes a farce of the game.


am strongly in favor of a rule outlawing goaltending, with any violation resulting in the awarding of a basket to the opposing team. /

The majority of the coaches who were in favor of ban­

king goaltending also favored the penalty of an automatic two / points being awarded to the offensive team if a violation did / ^ occur. With this in mind, the rules legislators took action, i

^and in 1944 the following change

was announced.

"On the

^ Stanley Frank, "Take Away the Backboards," Saturday Evening Post. 212*11, January 6, 1940.


^ Bruce Drake, "Seven Foot Trouble," The Saturday Evening Post, 216*16, February 19, 1944. 6 Loc. Cit.

34 ^/the recommendation of the coaches the joint rules committee / voted that a defensive player would be forbidden to touch / i I the ball on its downward flight, on a try for a field goal, !

while the ball was above the level of the basket rim.


the shot is obviously short the rule will not apply.



This rule proved to be very successful and completely I

l v

abolished goaltending.



For clarity and understanding, the sub-heading Defen­ sive Aids is interpreted to include some phases

of basketball

that contribute somewhat to defensive play, but

are predom-

imantly offensive in nature. j-

Since the origin of basketball, its legislators have

/ attempted to equalize offensive and defensive play as nearly i

I as possible.

If some form of play limits the other or

creates a situation where an unfair advantage is assumed,


the rules committee attempts to counteract this movement in s.

border that fair play and equal competition may exist. Many rulers have been accomplished for this purpose, and they have been categorized as offensive or defensive changes. Official must handle the ball in Offensive Court.

^'News item in the New York Times♦ March 29, 1944.

35 prominent defensive change


i I



or aid was enacted in 1940

which instructed the official to secure possession of the ball on all out of bounds situations in the offensive court . of both teams, and hand the ball to the offensive player.

i I

When the ball is to be put in play from the defensive court, this action is not required.

This ruling was established to

protect the defensive team from being caught off balance and easily scored upon by the opposition. Three-second rule*

The three-second rule, which was


designed to eliminate pushing and excessive roughness under i j


the basket, and to equalize rebound opportunities for both .!•„


j function that is helpful to the defensive team.

The three-



\ second rule

® was so named in 1932 when the rule makers

| limited any offensive player from remaining in the free throw lane and circle for more than three seconds while in possess^ion of the ball.

This ruling did not alleviate the situation

/ until an important change was made in 1935. '

This change
January, 1936. "First Basketball Rules," Spaulding Official Basketball Guide. New Yorks American Sports Publishing Co., 1937. 1 9 V PP.'


^Porter, H. V., "Modernized Basketball Equipment," Athletic Journal, 21:26, June, 1941. Ruby, J. Craig, "Effect of The 1935“36 Rules on The Coaching of Basketball," Athletic Journal, 16:27* October, 1935* St. John, L. W., "Basketball Rule Changes For 1 9 3 2 - 3 3 ," Athletic Journal. 12:6, June, 1932. ^ T h e Build Up of Basketball," The Nation. 140:357, March 2 7 * 1935. "The One Armed Basket Hangers," Scholastic. 3 6 :3 8 * February 5 , 1940.' Tower, Oswald, "Stalling." .Spaulding'Official Basketball Guide. New York: American Sports Publishing Co., 19303%7 PP« —

--- ■, "Stalling in Basketball," Athletic Journal. 11:11, October, 1930.

Wells, Clifford, "Basketball Strategy Under the 1 9 3 5 - 3 6 Rules," Athletic Journal. 16:22, September, 1935. Willett, A. Edward, "The Modified Basketball Backboard," The Journal of Health and Physical Education, 11:609* Decem­ ber, 1940.

57 Wright, Robert D . , "Suggested Change In The Center Jump Rule," Athletic Journal. 16:34, January, 1 9 3 6 . i?You May Have The Floor,” Scholastic. 29:28, January 23, 1937. C.


.New York Times, October 9 , 1 9 2 8 . New York Times, February 6 , 1 9 2 9 . New York Times, January 3 1 , 1939^ New York Times, March 2 9 , 1944. -1.

, .





S'i'Ajt,VaOmJS. . oectwbeft «g»*^)ffic,ial Basketball Rule.s, New York: American Sports PublisbJing^CoT, 1900-1940. *r: -

Official Basketball Rulitg, New York: A. S. Barnes and dompany, 1941-1949. E.


Cooper, John,' Personal Interview.

February, 1 9 5 0 .

University of Southern California Lllbrarj