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Author: Keith Myerscough

From Basket-Ball to Net-Ball: A Cross-Cultural Shift?

SpLeisH International Colloquium Paper – 3-4 March 2017 The ‘invention’ of basket-ball in 1891 completed America’s triumvirate of culturally significant national sports. Initially, this new indoor game did not have a name but this did not prevent it quickly becoming part of the American psyche, symptomatic of the USA’s burgeoning status as the world’s leading sporting superpower. The phenomenal and unparalleled growth of basket-ball in the USA is in direct contrast to the treatment it received in Britain. Ironically, it was the divergent developmental pathways of the game that promoted a version of basket-ball, with female participation in mind....

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The Birth of Women’s Basket-Ball: Making a Contribution to the Emancipation of America’s “New Woman”. (Part 7 of 7)

This e-article is the concluding piece of a seven-part series that examined the cultural shift in women’s basketball in the USA and how it translated to the introduction of American netball into the UK. The articles have established the need for further extensive academic research on women’s basketball and netball. Both sports have been largely neglected by sport historians on both sides of the Atlantic in favour of story-telling his-stories, as witnessed by the overwhelming number of US-based player and coach biographies, and college team histories that contain historically significant data that requires unpicking. If any sport needs an...

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Women’s Basketball: Net Ball: An American Game? – Part 6 of 7

In 1892 the new American game of ‘Basket-Ball’ was introduced into England by the President of the Birkenhead YMCA, Mr Charles J Proctor who had seen the game being played when on a business trip to North America. In August 1893, Madame Bergman-Österberg (MBO), brought women’s basketball back to England having attended the World Congress on Education in Chicago. It was during her extensive tour of the eastern seaboard of North America that she witnessed a game of basketball as part of a display of a girl’s physical education syllabus. She was impressed with this new game as it...

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Women’s Basketball: Iowa: 6 Player Girls’ Basketball – Part 5 of 7

The birth of women’s basketball in 1892 was a relatively straightforward event punctuated over the next decade by a series of changes to the rules of play that highlighted the extent to which culturally powerful regional influences moulded the women’s game. The adoption of ‘basket-ball’ in the State of Iowa in 1893 illustrates the complex interrelationship that existed between several spheres of influence in defining female participation in sports. James Naismith’s original game, with its 13 basic rules of play, provided female Iowans with the opportunity to adopt and then adapt basketball for their own ends. Influenced by a...

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Women’s Basketball: The “Black Fives” 1904-1930 – Part 4 of 7

The Washington Belles, 1911 Basketball was subject to racial segregation from the 1890s until partial integration of the National Basketball League (NBL) in the 1940s and the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1950. For African American women, ‘Black Fives’ basketball presented them with barrier’s not only based upon their ethnicity but also their gender. However, black women’s teams were still able to flourish and grow post-1910, ironically because of their isolation from a white culture that refused to treat African Americans with equity. The period, 1904 to 1950 is known as the ‘Black Fives Era’ when African Americans of...

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