Basketball is a global game, but can it become THE global game? The grand creator and undisputed god of basketball was a Canadian, James Naismith. Like many of us, the long and cold winters really got him down, and he decided to create a fun and active game that could be played indoors - away from the snow and dark evenings. Few sports have such a clear and traceable history, but being a relatively new sport, the precise details of how basketball started and evolved are well documented.
Naismith took ideas from other sports as well as games that he had played as a child to create basketball, and combined them in way that had never been seen before. In 1891, the first game of basketball was played based on a set of 13 rules. Whilst this game was not the same as the basketball that we know today, it was quite similar.
Basketball is more of an international sport than some Americans give it credit for. It is in fact the world's number two sport, after soccer. Basketball arrived in Europe from North America shortly after its inception, and soon after American teams started traveling to Russia, France and Italy to play the local teams of these countries. The game then migrated east and south to Asia, Africa, and South America.
Nowadays, in the top five national teams in the world, you can find Spain, Greece and Argentina, and in the top twenty you can find countries as disparate as Iran, Angola, Puerto Rico, China and New Zealand. Every region in the world has an active basketball playing culture, and in the majority of these countries the game is getting ever more popular.
That said, basketball is still an American game more than any other. The national team, despite losing out in the last decade to teams such as Greece and Lithuania, have now established themselves as the top team in the world again. More importantly, no other league in the world can get close to competing with the vieweing figures and financial muscle of the NBA.
The NBA was created in 1949, and by the 1970's it had become widely popular. The 80's, however, were its true golden years, with match ups such as Bird vs Magic and Lakers vs Celtics. In these years the NBA turned into the most lucrative league out of any sports played in the US, and in many fans' view, the most exciting.
Since then a steady stream of great teams and fantastic players have kept the momentum going, and the NBA is now watched and enjoyed from the furthest corners of the globe. The sport in the US remains as popular as ever, and with it continuing to gain in popularity around the world, is it really too fanciful to suggest that, in the next decade or so, it could become the number one sport in the world?