The Evolution of the Basketball Backboard and Hoop


Image: Unsplash

By: Rohan Telhan, Journalist

Basketball was created in 1891 by James Naismith who was a 30-year-old physical education instructor that wanted an indoor game to play in between the football and baseball seasons.

The first game of basketball didn’t have a backboard, just a hoop that was a peach crate attached to a ten-foot high railing. Every time a basket was made, someone would then have to climb up a ladder to retrieve the ball. A few years later a small hole at the bottom of the basket, not small enough for the ball to fit through, but small enough for a stick to poke the ball out of the basket was introduced.

The backboard was then added in 1893, this was not added to help shooters, but rather to prevent fans seated behind the basket to touch a ball in play. The first backboard was made out of chicken wire which was not a great material for the ball to bounce off of, then in February 1893 a box was added right above the net of the backboard to help a player find a better angle to bank the ball off the backboard into the hoop. Then in 1901, the hoop became a net and the rim was upgraded and made out of metal. After every shot, the ball still had to be poked out by a stick. In 1904 the backboard was made out of wood which had better bounce than chicken wire. Then in 1906, the bottom part of the net had a hole big enough for the basketball to fit through. In 1909 the backboard was then switched to glass and in 1912 the nylon netting we use today was added.

After the successful growth and development of the sport of basketball; professional sports leagues started to form. The leagues decided that all basketball courts, backboards, and hoops should be the same. They agreed that the backboard should not be placed on a wall but rather on a poll. The backboard should be 6 feet wide and 3 1/2 feet tall. The square located on the backboard had to be 2 feet wide and 1 1/2 feet tall, the lines of the square had to be 2 inches thick, and the square had to be placed in the center of the backboard, right above the hoop. The area where the rim connects to the backboard had to be separated by 6 inches. The front part of the rim had to be 24 inches from the backboard, this then left an 18-inch gap for the ball to go through.

As basketball evolved the poll was made stronger because of glass-shattering power dunkers. Basketball grew to become a sport that many people love to enjoy playing, watching, and cheering for their professional basketball teams and players.

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