In the late 19th century, a thirty-one year old graduate, James Naismith, with great vision to create an indoor pastime was given that very opportunity. Inside the gymnasium of Springfield College, formally known as International YMCA training school, the sport of Basketball was created. With nothing but a few active college students, a soccer ball, two peach baskets as goals, and thirteen rules to govern thus giving birth to basketball. News of the 30 minute game began to rapidly spread and it was an instant success.
Without the well-represented international background of the college, basketball would not have been introduced to many places around the world.James Naismith invented basketball in December of 1891. Less than one year later, women physical education students at Smith College were introduced to the game.
Soon women were playing the new sport across the country. Fast forward to the early twenty-first century. Women and girls play basketball in parks and recreation leagues, high school, college, in the Olympics, even in the professional Women’s National Basketball Association (Jenkins).
The journey from Smith College to the WNBA, however, was a long and difficult one, full of false starts and broken promises. Almost from the beginning, women were constrained in their opportunities to play basketball. Physical education professionals argued that, “Athletic competition was unladylike and basketball too strenuous for females” (Jenkins). Few colleges fielded intercollegiate teams, and the sport struggled at the high school level. The women who could play were forced to compete under rules that limited their ability to run the entire court.
Basketball was not always a beloved activity for women. With a successful target audience of young male athletes, basketball was faced with the issue of implementation into larger associations such as college or professional sports. Whilst competing with the gender inequality already be…