In 1891, Canadian James Naismith, a physical education professor and instructor at the YMCA, today Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts, was trying to keep his gym class active on a rainy day. He sought a vigorous indoor game to keep his students occupied and at proper levels of fitness during the long winters. He wrote the basic rules and nailed a peach basket onto a 10-foot (3.0 m) elevated track. Game was originally played with a soccer ball. The first official game was played in the YMCA gymnasium in Albany, New York, in 1892. Frank Mahan, one of the players, asking Naismith what he intended to call his new game; "Why not call it basketball?" Naismith replied, "We have a basket and a ball, and it seems to me that would be a good name for it."
Women's basketball began in 1892 at Smith College when Senda Berenson, a physical education teacher, modified Naismith's rules for women. Fascinated by the new sport and the values it could teach, she organized the first women's collegiate basketball game when her Smith freshmen and sophomores played against one another. However, the first women's interinstitutional game was played in 1892 between the University of California and Miss Head's School. Berenson's rules were first published in 1899, and by 1895, the game had spread to colleges across the country. Women's basketball development was more structured than that for men in the early years.
Peach basket retained its bottom, and balls had to be retrieved manually after each "basket" or point scored; this proved inefficient, however, so the bottom of the basket was removed, allowing the balls to be poked out with a long dowel each time. The peach baskets were used until 1906 when they were finally replaced by metal hoops with backboards. The baskets were originally nailed to the mezzanine balcony of the playing court, but this proved impractical when spectators in the balcony began to interfere with shots. The backboard was introduced to prevent this interference; it had the additional effect of allowing rebound shots.
The first official game was played with nine players, and on a court just half the size of a present-day NBA court. At the time, football was being played with 10 to a team. When winter weather got too icy to play football, teams were taken indoors, and it was convenient to have them split in half and play basketball with five on each side. By 1897–1898 teams of five became standard. Basketball's early adherents were dispatched to YMCAs throughout the United States, and it quickly spread through the United States and Canada. By 1895, it was well established at several women's high schools. The first men’s pro league, the National Basketball League, was formed in 1898 to protect players from exploitation and to promote a less rough game. This league only lasted five years.
In 1901 colleges began sponsoring men's games, and in 1905, they create the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS), from 1910 the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The first men's national championship tournament, the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball tournament, was organized in 1937. The first national championship for NCAA teams, the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) was organized in 1938. In 1946, the Basketball Association of America (BAA) was formed. Three seasons later, the BAA merged with the National Basketball League (NBL) to form the National Basketball Association (NBA).
The first international body to claim jurisdiction over the sport of basketball was the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF), which in 1926 formed a special commission to govern all ball games played with the hands. Two years later the IAAF invited representatives from various national associations to consider the forming of an independent body to govern all ball games played with hands. Representatives from 10 countries decided to form the International Amateur Handball Federation (IAHF). Although the IAHF Technical Commission for Basketball was created to direct and control the game of basketball, it never once met. Six years after being formed, the IAHF Technical Commission for Basketball was dissolved and on September 1, 1934 the IAHF renounced its international control over basketball to the FIBA.
FIBA (International Basketball Federation) was formed in 1932. Men's basketball was first included at the Berlin 1936 Summer Olympics, although a demonstration tournament was held in 1904. In 1950 the first FIBA World Championship for men, now known as the FIBA Basketball World Cup, was held in Argentina. Three years later, the first FIBA World Championship for women, now known as the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup, was held in Chile. Women's basketball was added to the Olympics in 1976, which were held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. In 1989, FIBA allowed professional NBA players to participate in the Olympics for the first time.
3×3 has been a basketball format long played in streets and gyms across the world, albeit in a less formal way. Starting in the late 1980s, 3×3 began to become standardized throughout the United States, most notably through the Gus Macker and Hoop It Up tournament series. The Adidas Streetball Challenge was the first major nationwide tournament which offered teams a spot in a world championship. FIBA took the decision to first test 3x3 at the 2007 Asian Indoor Games in Macau. Finally, 3x3 made its worldwide competitive debut at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics in Singapore.
After the success in Singapore, FIBA launched a full programme to make 3x3 a standalone discipline with its own regular competitions. Another important milestone was reached in 2011, with the first ever FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup for boys and girls being held in the Italian seaside resort of Rimini. The final pieces were put in place in the same year, with FIBA's Central Board giving a further green light to an international calendar of competitions, beginning in 2012 and including the FIBA 3x3 World Cup and the FIBA 3x3 World Tour. 3x3 is scheduled to make its Olympic debut at the 2020 Summer Olympics.