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A game that’s more than a century old, basketball offers an opportunity for people, whether kids or adults, to join in on a game that is great for exercise and for just having fun.

History of Play Basketball Day

Established in honor of the person who originally created the game of basketball, Play Basketball Day is celebrated on the birthday of James Naismith, December 2. James Naismith was a Canadian man who moved to Massachusetts with the purpose of teaching physical education and sports at the YMCA training school in the city of Springfield.

A teacher, sports coach, a chaplain, Naismith was given the challenge of creating a game that could be played inside during the winter, and that was not aggressive. Naismith came up with a game where fruit baskets were attached to the balcony and kids were encouraged to throw soccer balls into them.

The term “basketball” was coined by Naismith in 1891. By 1892, the rule book for basketball was written by the creator of the game, including thirteen different rules. That same year, the first public basketball game was played publicly and the YMCA began advertising the game internationally not long after and it soon spread all over the world.

National basketball leagues and associations began to pop up and by the time James Naismith passed away in 1939, the Olympics had begun including it as one of their official sports.

How to Celebrate Play Basketball Day

Offering tons of opportunities to celebrate and enjoy, Play Basketball Day may be celebrated in a variety of ways, such as:

Play Basketball!

Obviously, the first order of business on Play Basketball Day is to get out that basketball and head over to shoot some hoops. Whether it is a basketball hoop at a local park where it’s possible to play a pickup game, or playing a regularly scheduled game with a league at a local recreation center, this is the time to enjoy playing the game.

Throw a Play Basketball Day Party

Celebrating Play Basketball Day may just deserve a party! Host a basketball themed party that includes all sorts of fun things like basketball decorations and music playlists designed around the idea of sports.

Some fun basketball themed snacks for the party might include ideas like sugar cookies or cupcakes decorated with orange and black frosting to look like basketballs. It might also be fun to make a fruit pizza to look like a basketball, topping it with mandarin oranges and blueberries.

Watch a Movie for Play Basketball Day

After playing a game of hoops on the court, perhaps another way to celebrate Play Basketball Day might be to watch some others play basketball in one of these movies:

  • White Men Can’t Jump (1992). Combining comedy with sports, this movie features Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes who play two hustlers who play street basketball.
  • Hoosiers (1986). Based on a true story, this film tells the story of a team at a high school in small town Indiana in the 1950s, and their coach Norman Dale, who eventually end up in the state championship.
  • Coach Carter (2005). This American film is a biographical story, starring Samuel L. Jackson, about a basketball coach in 1999 who moves back to his hometown in Richmond, California where he becomes the coach for his old high school basketball team.
  • Space Jam (1996). A sort of silly but entertaining movie, this one combines animation and live action to create a sports comedy. The movie was very popular in its time, likely due to the fact that it starred basketball star Michael Jordan as a fictionalized version of himself.

Go to a Basketball Game

The month of December is a great time to get up close to the court and watch some B-ball! Pop on over to a boys’ or girls’ basketball game at the local high school or college, or perhaps try to score tickets to a professional game in honor of Play Basketball Day.

Watch a Basketball Game

Those who aren’t up for getting out can still enjoy a game by watching one on television or the internet. It might be a live game, or it could be a pre-recorded classic game that is filled with sportsmanship. Play Basketball Day might be a great time to watch some of these famous games:

  • 1992 Duke – Kentucky Basketball Game. This famous college game went into overtime with the Duke Blue Devils winning with a score of 104-103 over the Kentucky Wildcats.
  • 1976 NBA Finals Game Five. Considered to be the closest game in the history of the National Basketball Association, this game was played in Boston between the Boston Celtics and the Phoenix Suns has some of the league’s most iconic moments.
  • 1974 North Carolina State – Maryland Game. The Wolfpack team reigns supreme in this classic NCAA game where the point spread was only three. One incredible part was the fact that the game featured five different players who would become All-American players at some point in their careers.

Learn Some Fun Facts About Basketball

Play Basketball Day is the perfect time to get brushed up on fun trivia and pieces of information that are interesting to share with others. Then, once the conversation comes up, don’t forget to tell everyone about celebrating Play Basketball Day! Get started with some of these fun facts about basketball:

  • Basketball was originally played with a soccer ball and fruit baskets. The referee had to get the ball out of the basket each time a point was made. The first actual basketball was used in 1894 and nets made of string were introduced in 1900.

  • In the original basketball game, dribbling and moving with the ball was not allowed. Instead, players were required to throw the ball to other players from wherever they happened to catch it in order to advance.

  • Though NBA games are now four twelve-minute quarters, they originally played a shorter game proposed by James Naismith: two fifteen-minute halves with a five minute rest in between.

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