Pro Basketball is Born

Even though Dr. Naismith had intended basketball to be a non-contact game of finesse rather than brute strength, early basketball games were very physical. In fact, some YMCAs determined the sport was too rough to be played in their facilities. This led to the start of pro basketball.

In 1896, a team in Trenton, New Jersey, couldn’t play at the local Y. They decided to rent a Masonic Hall for a game, charge admission and to split whatever proceeds were left. Each player made $15. The captain of the winning team made $16. There were no salary caps that we know if in those days.

The first pro league was formed in formed in 1898. Many leagues came and went during the next 50 years. Players often played for more than one team in more than one league depending on who was paying the most money. This was the age of barnstorming—traveling around the country and being paid to play against local teams.

Notable teams from the barnstorming era included:

  • The Buffalo Germans-Once won 111 straight games.
  • The Troy Trojans-Won 35 straight games on a 1915 barnstorming tour and popularized the bounce pass
  • The Rens-An all-black team that played at the Harlem Renaissance Casino Ballroom. Had a 112-7 record in 1939 and won the World Pro Tournament.
  • The Original Celtics-The first team to sign players to exclusive contracts. The Celtics were the first team to switch between man-to-man and zone defense and the first to use a pivot play.
  • The Harlem Globetrotters-A more serious version of the team we know today, the Globetrotters were actually from Chicago, not New York. They won 101 games in their first year and won the World Pro Tournament in 1940.In 1937, Goodyear, Firestone and General Electric formed the National Basketball League from industrial teams sponsored by companies and independent teams. Most of these teams were based in the Midwest. After the end of World War II, a move to establish a true nationwide league lead to the founding of the Basketball Association of America. In 1949, the NBL folded and its remaining teams joined the BAA. The new league was named the National Basketball Association—the NBA.
Important Changes in the Game
Backboard added
Rims with open nets become standard
Five playes on the court at a time
Player ejected after five fouls
Dribbler is allowed to shoot
Designated free throw shooter eliminated
Center jump eliminated after each basket
Three-second lane rule introduced
Nat Clifton, Earl Llyod and Charles Cooper become first Black players to play in the NBA
NBA adopts 24-second shot clock
Unlimited dribbling allowed in women's game
Five-on-five full court game becomes standard for women
NBA adds three-point shot
College adopts three-point shot
NBA adds third referee
Reduce time to advance the ball past midcourt from 10 seconds to 8 seconds
National Basketball Development League (D-League) created.
The Hornets moved from Charlotte, North Carolina to New Orleans
The Bobcats formed in Charlotte, North Carolina
NBA introduces new game ball representing the first change to game ball in 35 years.
In response to player complaints the old style game ball was re-implemented
1. Rule 2 Section IV. e - Block/Charge Clarification
If two officials differ on a block/charge foul involving the restricted area and/or lower defensive box, they will conference and share information in an attempt to make the correct call. If no resolution is reached it will be treated as a double foul (See rule 12B VI -f).
2006-2007: Section IV- Different Decisions By Officials
a. The crew chief shall have the authority to set aside or question decisions regarding
a rule interpretation made by either of the other officials.
b. If two officials give conflicting signals as to who caused the ball to go out-of-bounds,
they will conference and reconstruct the play in an attempt to make the correct call. If no resolution
is reached, a jump ball will be signaled between the two players involved at the nearest
circle. If the two players cannot be identified, the jump ball shall be administered at the
center circle between any two opponents in the game. If one official signals and another official
clearly knows the call is incorrect, they should conference and the calling official may
change the call on the information given. However, if both officials are adamant about their
ruling, a jump ball should be held similar to above.
c. In the event that a violation and foul occur at the same time, the foul will take precedence.
d. Double Foul (See Rule 12-B-Section VI-f).
2. Rule 3 Section IV. a - Team Bench Clarification
All assistants and trainers must remain on the bench.
2006-2007: Section IV-The Coach and Others
a. The coach's position may be on or off the bench from the 28' hash mark to the baseline.
They are permitted between the 28' hash mark and the midcourt line to relay information
to players but must return to the bench side of the 28' hash mark immediately or be
called for a non-unsportsmanlike technical foul. A coach is not permitted to cross the midcourt
line and violators will be assessed an unsportsmanlike technical foul immediately. All
assistants and trainers must remain on the bench. Coaches and trainers are not permitted to
go to the scorer's table, for any reason, except during a dead ball.
3. Rule 5 Section VII. a - Clarification on Full Timeouts in Last Two Minutes
If a team has two (2) or three (3) full timeouts remaining when the fourth period reaches the 2:00 mark, one (1) of the timeouts will be changed to a 20-second timeout and they will retain only one (1) full timeout. Therefore, if a team has not yet used its allotted 20-second timeout for the second half, it shall have two 20-second timeouts at its disposal.
2006-2007: Section VII-Regular Timeout-100/60 Seconds:
a. Each team is entitled to six (6) charged timeouts during regulation play. Each team is limited to no more than three (3) timeouts in the fourth period and no more than two (2) timeouts in the last two minutes of regulation play. (This is in addition to one 20-second timeout per half.)
4. Comments on Rules - Notes. - Blood Rule Modification
A team will not be given an additional 30 seconds should bleeding occur from a wound reopened which is not the result of additional contact.
2006-2007: If a player suffers a laceration of a wound where bleeding occurs or if blood is visible on a player or his uniform, the officials shall suspend the game at the earliest appropriate time and allow a maximum of 30 seconds for treatment.
5. Rule 13 Section I. a - Instant Replay Additions
Instant Replay review will be triggered automatically in the following situations:
(5) - A called Flagrant Foul/Penalty 2
(6) - Altercations
Rule 13 Section I - Instant Replay Additions
Instant Replay will be utilized to determine:
- The identity of all players involved in the altercation, action immediately prior to and immediately following altercation.
- The level of involvement of each player.
- The appropriate penalty to be assessed against each player.
2006-2007: Section I-Instant Replay Review Triggers:
a. Instant replay would be triggered automatically in the following situations:
(1) A field goal made with no time remaining on the clock (0:00) at the end of the
fourth period or any overtime period that, if scored, would affect or potentially
could affect, the outcome of the game.
(2) A field goal made with no time remaining on the clock (0:00) at the end of the
first, second and third periods.
(3) A foul called with no time remaining on the clock (0:00) at the end of the fourth
period or any overtime period, provided that it could affect the outcome of the
(4) A foul called with no time remaining on the clock (0:00) at the end of the first, second
or third periods.
b. Instant replay would NOT be used to check a successful basket in 1 and 2 above if
the throw-in, free throw attempt or jump ball started with .2 or .1 on the game clock. The officials
will judge the legality of the basket in these situations based on the guidelines as set
forth in Comments on the Rules L.
Rule 13 Section II - Instant Replay Additions
Flagrant Foul/Penalty 2:
Instant Replay will be utilized to determine:
- Whether the Flagrant Foul/Penalty 2 was called correctly or whether it should be downgraded to a Flagrant Foul/Penalty 1 or a Personal Foul.
- Whether any other players committed unsportsmanlike acts immediately prior to or immediately following the Flagrant Foul/Penalty 2.
2006-2007: Section II-Reviewable Matters
a. If an instant replay review is triggered as described in Section I-a (1) and (2) above,
the officials would review the tape to determine only the following issues:
(1) Whether time on the game clock expired before the ball left the shooter's hand.
(2) If the shot was timely, whether the successful field goal was scored correctly as
a two-point or three-point field goal.
(3) If the shot was timely, whether the shooter committed a boundary line violation.
For purposes of this review, the official would look only at the position of the
shooter's feet at the moment they last touched the floor immediately prior to (or,
if applicable, during) the release of the shot.
(4) Whether the 24-second clock expired before the ball left the shooter's hand.
(5) Whether an 8-second backcourt violation occurred before the ball left the shooter's
Rule 13 Section III - Replay Review Process
Reviews would be conducted as a crew. The Crew Chief will make the final decision.
Maximum of two minutes to review the video and make a ruling. Reasonable amount of additional time beyond two minutes for review of Flagrant Fouls/Penalty 2 and Player Altercations.
Calls made on the court will be overturned only with "clear and conclusive" visual evidence.
2006-2007: Section III-Replay Review Process
a. All replay reviews would be conducted by the officials as a crew after gathering as
much information as possible. In cases of conflict, the crew chief would make the final decision.
b. The call made by the game officials during play would be reversed only when the
replay provides the officials with "clear and conclusive" visual evidence to do so.
c. The officials will use the following to make their final decision in the order listed
(1) Game clock or shot clock on top of backboard.
(2) LED lights.
(3) Game clock on the facades of the balcony.
(4) Game clock on score boards hanging from the ceiling.
(5) Superimposed TV clocks.
d. The officials will keep both teams on the court at the end of the second period if
instant replay is being used to determine if a foul was called prior to expiration or if there is
any question whether the shooter committed a 24-second violation, 8-second violation or
boundary line violation where time may be added to the game clock.
e. The officials will keep both teams on the court anytime instant replay is used at the
end of the fourth period or overtime period.