Evolution of pro and amateur rules, 1922 to 1942

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Evolution of pro and amateur rules, 1922 to 1942

Postby Dementia Man » Wed Oct 21, 2015 8:49 pm

I’m looking for a little help.

I am charting the evolution of basketball rules across the 20 years leading up to, and just beyond, the end of the center jump. Trouble is, I don’t know a soul who knows much of anything about the subject. The literature is awfully sparse.

Hence, please consider this an open plea for a collaborator, or collaborators.

I chose 1922-23 as a place to begin, for a variety of reasons. First, it was when "technical violations" -- regarding dribbling, running with the ball, kicking the ball, "failure to keep one hand behind back while jumping center," etc. -- ceased to merit free throws and, instead, just gave the opposing team the ball out of bounds.

It also is when the New York, or Original, Celtics made their first foray into the Midwest, namely to Fort Wayne, Indiana, March 7-8, 1922, an “invasion” which would have enormous, long-range impact on the development of the pro game. Less than a year later, the Celtics came back to the Midwest, this time to play the Cleveland Rosenblums. And, for a time, and long enough for the original American League to be organized, a lot of people thought the pro game was on its way to everlasting popularity.

Alas, ‘twas not to be … at least for another three or four decades.

For the next ten years, the rules concerning dribbling … as well as the rugby-like nature of the semi-pro/professional game … occupied a fierce debate between advocates of the pro and amateur disciplines.

Not until 1932-33, and adoption of the 10-second rule [Phog Allen declared it the single most revolutionary change in the game since 1906], did basketball’s real future begin coming into focus.

The same season saw blocking and screening more clearly defined, as well as the first steps toward a three-second rule to monitor pivot play. Almost overnight, the pace of the game accelerated.

Ned Irish was the first to tap into the public desire for faster, less violent – put another way, more stylish -- basketball. He made himself the game’s wealthiest promoter by presenting hundreds of college doubleheaders all over the East for the next couple of decades.

Conversely, the pro version slipped into the doldrums in the ‘30s, despite the emergence of young, star players like Bobby McDermott, LeRoy Edwards, Al Cervi, Buddy Jeannette, and Bobby Davies, plus the game’s most remarkable team to that juncture, the star-studded New York Renaissance.

Elimination of the center jump, a consensus on what constituted a legal dribble, more uniformly structured hardwood floors, plus better constructed baskets and (glass) backboards gradually narrowed the divide between the amateur and pro games. And, when the old, lop-sided, stitched-and-pumped leather balls eventually gave way to infinitely more reliable, corrugated rubber basketballs, it remained only for a wave of remarkable athletes to come along in the 1950s for the old “cage game” to earn its spurs as a major, modern sport.

But, before the great athletes would be attracted, basketball needed a set of rules that worked for everyone.

And so, puleeze, anyone with ideas, theories or information, I ask you to contact me. Simply type CAGE RULES in the subject line of an email and send it to oldfallguy@gmail.com … or, if you like, post to this thread. Either way, I’m eager to learn. – J Michael Kenyon, Port Orford OR
Dementia Man
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Re: Evolution of pro and amateur rules, 1922 to 1942

Postby Jay » Fri Feb 19, 2016 2:55 am

Just sent you a message, hope I can help.
Seeking any and all info on Wilmeth Sidat-Singh.

Syracuse Basketball History Facebook page:
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Re: Evolution of pro and amateur rules, 1922 to 1942

Postby luckyshow » Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:53 pm

I think the ABL did not allow the "rugby" style continuous "dribble" where one could just drag the ball and mow over opponents. I also believe they didn't use a cage so out of bound balls were no longer still in play.
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