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National Basketball Association History: Original 13 Rules of Basketball

Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian from Almonte, Ontario, invented basketball in 1891 while living in Massachusetts (USA). He was teaching a physical education class at an international YMCA training school in Springfield, Massachusetts (USA) and needed to come up with a new indoor sports activity. He came up with basketball. There were 13 original rules. The hoop was a peach basket. The majority of Basektball Players in the first-ever game of basketball at that YMCA were from Canada.

The 13 original rules of basketball were as follows:

1) The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.

2) The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands.

3) A Basektball Player cannot run with the ball, as he must throw it from the spot on which he catches it, with allowance to be made for a man who catches the ball when running at a good speed.

4) The ball must be held in or between the hands; the arms or the body must not be used for holding it.

5) No shouldering, holding, pushing, tripping or striking in any way the person of an opponent shall be allowed. The first infringement of this rule by any person shall count as a foul, the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is made, or if there was evident intent to injure the person, for the whole of the game, no substitute allowed.

6) A foul is striking at the ball with the fist, violation of rules three and four and such described in rule five.

7) If either side makes consecutive fouls it shall count a goal for the opponents.


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8) A goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from the grounds into the basket and stays there, providing those defending the goal do not touch or disturb the goal. If the ball rests on the edge and the opponent moves the basket it shall count as a goal.

9) When the ball goes out of bounds it shall be thrown into the field and played by the first person touching it. In case of a dispute the umpire shall throw it into the field. The thrower-in is allowed five seconds and if he holds it longer it shall go to the opponent. If any side persists in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on them.

10) The umpire shall be the judge of men, and shall note the fouls, and notify the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made. He shall have power to disqualify men according to rule five.

11) The referee shall be the judge of the ball and shall decide when the ball is in play, in-bounds, and to which side it belongs, and shall keep the time. He shall decide when a goal has been made and keep account of the goals with any other duties that are usually performed by a referee.

12) The time shall be two fifteen-minute halves, with a five-minute rest between them.

13) The side making the most goals in that time shall be declared the winner. In case of a draw the game may, by agreement of the captains, be continued until another goal is made.


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