Oldest basketball court discovered in Europe

Basketball was invented by a Canadian, the first basketball “game” was played in the U.S in 1891. And the sport has since grown into a global phenomenon with leagues all over the world and the average net worth for an NBA franchise estimated at $634million.

But despite basketball generally considered an American sport – a basketball court in a small neighbourhood in Paris, France has been discovered – that dates back to 1893. There is a plaque that commemorates that the first game was played on December 27 of that year.

Even though the baskets have been updated, the parquet floor is intact and there are even poles in the  middle of the court.

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One of  the inventor James Nasmith’s colleagues, Melvin Rideout, helped set up the first YMCA facility in this Paris neighbourhood, where he trained the staff. With a ball and a couple of fruit baskets, Rideout taught the French how to play the new game on that court.

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The gymnasium at the YMCA in the city’s ninth arrondisement was also modeled after the gym at the Springfield YMCA. That means that the court pretty much ended up being a carbon copy of the original which was later lost in a fire.

Some of the details feel pretty Parisian, though. The Hungarian parquet floors, for instance, are apparently very springy thanks to a sandy foundation. And the ample use of iron is even linked to Gustave Eiffel. The building’s architect, Emile Bénard, was supposedly one of Eiffel’s students.

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