Dr. James Naismith is the father of basketball and necessity is the mother of its invention. The sport was borne out of necessity. A need to have a sport which could be played indoors in cold freezing New England weather in Springfield. Unlike most sports, basketball has only been around for a little more than a century. Charles Darwin would have loved basketball. Survival of the fittest. The game survives and thrives because its open to change. Basketball rules were developed on the fly and were always more malleable to change as opposed to most other sports, where the rules are enshrined and engraved in stone.
T20 is a more exciting form of cricket. Futsal is a faster form of football. But neither can replace the original form of the game. Because those sports are still practiced in their original forms. Basketball today is not what it was a decade ago. New formats have cropped up and are gaining popularity, but the original format is very different from what it was earlier back in the 50s. Back when there wasn’t a shot clock or limit on fouls. Teams would sometimes foul and foul and have over 80 free throws a game, leading to a snooze fest among the crowd. The game’s popularity was salvaged in 1954 by Danny Biasone, owner of the Syracuse Nationals who introduced both in the NBA. Later, college basketball caught on to the shot clock in 1985, with a 45-second clock which it reduced to 35 in 1993.
Bruce Lee would have loved basketball too “Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”
Ok, he didn’t love basketball players too much. But the idea resonates strong in basketball. Keep changing and adapting.
Basketball rejected the useless premise of having too many players on the court. In 1900, the limit of ten players on the floor was introduced after there were skirmishes involving over 50 players on the court. Most of us are familiar with the recent rule changes, such as allowing dunking again and the expansion of the three point line. Changes have been happening for a long time. Check out some early rule changes in the game:
1896 – Wooden backboards added
1900 – Number of players limited to 10. There were reports of over 50 players playing at once, leading to this rule.
1908 – The rule of a player being ejected from a game after five fouls was introduced (five fouls is still the standard in college basketball, while the pro game now uses six).
1915 – First saw dribblers being allowed to shoot the basketball.
1938 – elimination of rule of having a jumpball after every basket.
Rule changes have been around long before the NBA in basketball. The game’s widespread popularity can be attributed to its willingness to change itself. A good understanding of that willingness can be seen this Sunday in Mumbai where two variations of basketball competitions will be happening simultaneously. In a country like India where the sport isn’t as popular as it should be, its variations are taking hold faster than the original form.
Check out the pictures from the Mahindra NBA Challenge Finals and the NBA 3X. The traditional form played host to sparse crowds and the 3X to packed ones. Although location and extra events in the 3X had a lot to do with that, the fact that variations of the game are happening as often if not more than the original form, suggests that the sport is taking hold in whatever format is most adaptable.
Inorbit Mall, Malad, will be buzzing with the National Finals of the NBA3X on Saturday and Sunday. This 3 on 3 format has struck a chord with the audience as there can be many matches in a short period of time and over the three courts which they have for the competitions over two days. Over 400 teams will have duked it out in this contest which has spanned Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and will now conclude in Mumbai. Winners from the first three cities are being flown in for the National finals here. 3 on 3 is played in the half court with 6 players. By FIBA rules, the first to 21 wins. It’s played over 10 minutes.
We are familiar enough with the rules of 3×3 basketball. Check out the other alternative variation of the game being introduced on Sunday, Funatic Double Double. This one is happening on Sunday only, at the annual Dawn 2 Dusk Basketball Tournament being held at Don Bosco High School, Matunga on October 21, 2012.
Commenting on this novel idea, Father Crispino D’souza, Dominic Savio High School has said, “We are very happy to be associated with Funatic Sports Pvt. Ltd. who have endeavoured to take a bold step in designing a unique “Double-Double (20-20) Basketball” format, which is expected to make the sport of basketball not only more participative for the players, but will also be more entertaining for the onlookers”.
Unlike most variations, this one is played with five players each side. But there can also be a situation of 4 on 5 here. Check out the basic rules: 1st to 20 points wins, or team leading at the end of 12 minutes. In case of a tie, there’s a free throw shootout. And one of my favourite parts is ejecting players on their 3rd foul. And if the team has used up its 3 substitutions they have to continue with 4 players on the court. And if a team has less than 3 players to field then it forfeits the game. The other fun part is of course having a 12-second shot clock in a full court game. The baller/runner in me is jumping with glee on this one. End to end action, eliminate slow sets, flow on creativity. Basketball played with a single minded purpose to score and ignore the shackles which the comfort of 24 seconds gives you.
In 3 on 3 basketball, there are 4 fouls allowed. In Double Double, only 3. Danny Biasone would be proud. Restricting fouls makes for a much faster game. And having the incentive of scoring a limit first to win gives the teams another reason to run and gun. Both variations of the game advocate the use of speed and skills over size and strength and are more fun to watch. T20 Cricket has actually taken cues from the NBA in its format. A sport which has been around since the 16th century is taking cues from one which has come into being very recently.
Someday it could adapt to be played in the above pic too. Get some paddles and swim on with a Seal to dribble the ball on its nose. (Ok this may not happen too soon.)
Nike has a ‘basketball never stops’ slogan. Maybe it ought to be tweaked to basketball never stops changing. ”Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it.”- Bruce Lee again. The game is too slow? Add a first to win rule! Too many fouls? Have players foul out quicker! Still too slow? Add a 12-second shot clock in a full court contest. The game is adaptable to change. That’s why it still rocks.