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James Naismith invented the modern game of basketball in 1891, while working at the Y.M.C.A. College at Springfield, Massachusetts. Triangle magazine in Springfield first published the rules for basketball in 1892, and 18 students from the Springfield YMCA played the first official basketball game later that year. The University of Chicago played its first college basketball game, defeating the Chicago YMCA Training School 19-11, in 1894.
The first college basketball game was played in 1895, as Minnesota State School of Agriculture defeated the Porkers of Hamline College, 9-3. The first five-player college basketball game was played in 1896 in Iowa City, Iowa. The University of Chicago defeated the University of Iowa by a score of 15-12. Intercollegiate basketball was played for the first time when Wesleyan University defeated Yale 4-3, in New Haven, Connecticut.
Basketball was first introduced to the Olympics in 1936 by the Berlin Organization Committee. The first Men's College Basketball Championship was held in 1939, when the University of Oregon beat Ohio State 46-33. The first televised college basketball games were broadcast in 1940, by New York City station W2XBS from Madison Square Garden. In those games, Pittsburgh defeated Fordham, 57-37, and New York University beat Georgetown, 50-27.
In 1946 the Basketball Association of America (BAA) was founded, and it was comprised of 11 teams in two divisions. The Eastern Division contained the Washington Capitols, Philadelphia Warriors, New York Knickerbockers, Providence Steamrollers, Boston Celtics and Toronto Huskies. The Western Division contained the Chicago Stags, St. Louis Bombers, Cleveland Rebels, Detroit Falcons and Pittsburgh Ironmen. The Baltimore Bullets joined the BAA in 1947, but the Cleveland Rebels, Detroit Falcons, Pittsburgh Ironmen and Toronto Huskies all dropped out, leaving four teams in each division. In 1948, four teams from the more established National Basketball League (NBL) were added to the BAA: the Fort Wayne Pistons, Indianapolis Jets, Minneapolis Lakers and Rochester Royals, bringing the league up to six teams in each division.
The National Basketball Association was formed in 1949. It was a combination of the Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball League. The Providence Steamrollers and the Indianapolis Jets folded, and the six remaining NBL franchises – the Anderson Packers, Denver Nuggets, Sheboygan Redskins, Syracuse Nationals, Tri-Cities Blackhawks and Waterloo Hawks – joined, along with the new Indianapolis Olympians, and the BAA became the National Basketball Association. The early years of the NBA were marked by constant change. Six teams dropped out in 1950: the Anderson Packers, Chicago Stags, Denver Nuggets, Sheboygan Redskins, St. Louis Bombers and Waterloo Hawks. In 1951 the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, who divided home games between Moline, Rock Island and Davenport, moved to Milwaukee and become the Hawks. The Washington Capitols disbanded before the end of the 1950-51 season and the Indianapolis Olympians folded in 1953. In 1954, the NBA adopted the 24-second shot clock & 6 team-foul rule and the Baltimore Bullets dropped out.
The Milwaukee Hawks moved to St. Louis in 1955, and in 1957 the Fort Wayne Pistons moved to Detroit, while the Rochester Royals moved to Cincinnati. In 1960 the Minneapolis Lakers move to Los Angeles, and in 1961 the Chicago Packers joined the NBA as an expansion team. 1961 was also the year that the American Basketball League began play, though they folded in 1963 having completed only one full season. In 1962, the Chicago Packers were renamed the Zephyrs, and the Philadelphia Warriors moved to San Francisco. In 1963, the Chicago Zephyrs moved to Baltimore and became the Bullets, and the Syracuse Nationals moved to Philadelphia and became the 76ers. The Chicago Bulls joined the league as an expansion team in 1966.
The American Basketball Association (ABA) was formed in 1967. The San Diego Rockets and the Seattle SuperSonics joined the league as expansion teams. In 1968, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns joined the league as expansion teams and the St. Louis Hawks moved to Atlanta. The first ABA basketball championship was held, with the Pittsburgh Pipers beating the New Orleans Buccaneers 4 to 3.
The Buffalo Braves, Cleveland Cavaliers and Portland Trail Blazers joined the NBA as expansion teams in 1970. In 1971, the San Diego Rockets moved to Houston and the San Francisco Warriors moved to Oakland to become the Golden State Warriors. The National Basketball Association modified its four-year eligibility rule to allow for college basketball hardship cases. In 1972, the Cincinnati Royals became the Kansas City-Omaha Kings, moving to the Midwest Division and dividing their home games between Kansas City, Missouri and Omaha, Nebraska. The Baltimore Bullets moved to Landover, Maryland and became the Capital Bullets in 1973. In 1974, the New Orleans Jazz joined the NBA as an expansion team and the Capital Bullets were renamed the Washington Bullets. In 1975, the Kansas City-Omaha Kings settled in Kansas City, becoming the Kansas City Kings.
In 1976, the NBA and ABA merged, and four teams were brought into the league: the Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, New York Nets and San Antonio Spurs. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the first NBA MVP of the updated league.
The New York Nets moved from Uniondale to Piscataway (later East Rutherford) and became the New Jersey Nets in 1977. The Buffalo Braves moved to San Diego and became the Clippers in 1978, the same year the Women's Professional Basketball League (WBL) was created (it later folded in 1981).
In 1979, the New Orleans Jazz moved to Salt Lake City and became the Utah Jazz. The Dallas Mavericks joined the NBA as an expansion team in 1980, and the San Diego Clippers moved to Los Angeles in 1984. The Kansas City Kings moved to Sacramento in 1985. In 1986, the NCAA adopted the 3-point college basketball rule and the National Federation of High School Associations adopted the college 3-point shot (21 feet) in 1987. The Charlotte Hornets and the Miami Heat joined the NBA as expansion teams in 1988. In 1989, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Orlando Magic joined the NBA as expansion teams. The Toronto Raptors and the Vancouver Grizzlies joined the NBA as expansion teams in 1995, and in 1997 the Washington Bullets became the Washington Wizards. In 2008, the Seattle SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Oklahoma City Thunder.
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