Physics of Basketball

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James Naismith, born 11/6/1861, in Almonte, Ontario, Canada invented the greatest game of all time. Basketball was invented December 1891 at a YMCA gymnasium in Springfield, Massachusetts. The game was invented to be an indoor game for students to play during the cold winter months since there were no previous indoor game that could involve a whole class. Basketball started out with only 13 rules that were made by Naismith in 1891 and the rules have continued to grow and change up to present day.

The change that had the biggest impact on how basketball is played was the introduction of the three-point line. The three-point line started out as an experiment in college basketball in 1980 and was later adopted as a concrete part of the game later on that year. High school, college, and pro basketball leagues adopted the three-point line and how the game is played has been forever changed by the addition of the three-point line.

The first game where players were played to play took place on 11/7/1896 at the Masonic Temple, in downtown Trenton. From there leagues where players were paid to play began to develop. Comprised of 11 teams the Basketball Association of America (BAA) became the first pro league in 1946. The first pro NBA finals took place in 1947. The BAA became the NBA, National Basketball Association, in 1949. Reaching the NBA is the dream of basketball players because only the best play in the NBA.

Basketball all started with only 18 men playing a new game in the cold winter months in New England. From there it became an Olympic sport in 1936 and a professional sport in 1947. Basketball began being played by only 18 men in one gym and is now played by over 300 million people worldwide in millions of different gyms a...

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...e of the same magnitude as him pushing down on the ground through his feet as seen in the formula:

Fn = mg, m = mass of player, g = gravity

As the player is jumping, his torso is moving upward with some velocity. The velocity increases as he straightens his legs in order for him to jump higher. As a result, his center of mass is accelerating upward, indicating that he is experiencing a net force upwards, allowing him to elevate because the normal force is greater than the gravitations force.

The instant the player leaves the ground, the normal force vanishes and the only force acting on the player is gravity. If no gravity acted on the player, he would elevate until another external force acted on him, but because of gravity, he is pulled back to earth.


Physics for Scientist and Engineers 6th Edition, Serway/Jewett, Thommson Brooks/Cole, 2004

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