Imagine if you had to play basketball with wooden peach baskets nailed to a gym wall.

Let’s be real, you probably can’t.

Over the past 130 years the sport has been modified in a number of ways. The first game of basketball was played on December 21 1891 and boy, has it ever changed. Canadian-born Dr James Naismith published The Original 13 Rules of Basketball in the Triangle Magazine on January 15 1982. They were hand written on two pieces of paper that actually still exist today!

While some of the original 13 still exist, it’s hard to picture them used in the game we know and love today.

Here are 5 rules that randomly once existed!

“The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands, but never with the fist.”

Back then batting was called dribbling. While dribbling is obviously still allowed, you can't do it with both hands. How awkward would it be if you could? It would definitely slow players down a ton as well.

“No shouldering, holding, pushing, striking or tripping in any way of an opponent. The first infringement of this rule by any person shall count as a foul; the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is made or, if there was evident intent to injure the person, for the whole of the game. No substitution shall be allowed.”

Two fouls and you sit out as a punishment? The Bad Boy Pistons would have a pretty hard time with this one. They literally focused their game plan on injuring Michael Jordan. The Detroit Pistons created the “Jordan Rules” which was a defense strategy they used in the late 1980’s to win against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. Basically their goal was to break him down physically so he would get tired and the Bulls would fail.



“If either side makes three consecutive fouls it shall count as a goal for the opponents (consecutive means without the opponents in the meantime making a foul).”

Then came the free throws! Not sure if we love this or hate this but it clearly didn’t stand the test of time for a reason.

“When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall be thrown into the field and played by the first person touching it. In case of dispute the umpire shall throw it straight into the field. The thrower-in is allowed five seconds. If he holds it longer, it shall go to the opponent. If any side persists in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on them.”

This rule sounds like nothing but a chaotic mess. You're telling us that the ball is anyone's game to throw it back in once it goes out of bounce? Where's the structure?


“The time shall be two fifteen-minute halves, with five minutes rest between.”

Two 15-minute halves seems extremely short.  The first game ever played ended in a 2-2 tie (there was no extra time for tied games). Overtime periods were finally allowed in 1960.

(H/T Mark Medina)