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Basketball Patents Over the Years


May 17, 2019

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Since its invention by Canadian physical educator James Naismith in 1891, the sport of basketball has evolved significantly.


With the 2019 NBA playoffs in full swing, now is a good time to consider the evolution of basketball over its 128-year history.


What began as a game where soccer balls were thrown into elevated fruit baskets, basketball underwent several refinements, and thanks to technological improvements and patented inventions, the ball, the basket, and the game were all transformed.


In 1894, Spalding developed the first ever basketball, which at the time resembled a football, with its lacing and panels of leather.


In 1929, George L. Pierce, who worked for Spalding for 50 years and innovated sports gear for a living, received the first patent for the “basket ball” as we know it today. Pierce’s design changed the shape of the panels on the ball, sewing them closer together to allow for better resilience and balance.

Authors: Jaclyn Tilak and Samanthea Samuels

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