Where does the Basketball Get its Distinctive Color?

Ryan C Heffernan: Why is the Basketball Orange

Why is the Basketball Orange

Ever wondered where the distinctive orange basketball comes from? The sport is still quite young, originally invented a little over 100 years ago in 1891. Now one of the most popular sports in the USA, basketball was invented by a Canadian YMCA instructor who was looking for a way to get his students active during the freezing cold winters. He used a soccer ball and invented 13 rules of his own, most of which are still used in the game today.

He played with peach baskets, which meant the ball was caught and had to be retrieved every time someone made a basket. First they invented baskets with a hole in the bottom so that the ball could be pushed out with a long metal pole, and these were subsequently switched out for the first metal hoops in 1906.

The first balls made specifically for basketball instead of soccer were simply brown. It was not until the late 1950s that the orange ball was developed, in response to the need for a ball that would be more immediately visible for players and audience members.

Basketball has come a long way in just a few years, and there’s no telling the next developments to come! To read more about the history of basketball, visit the Olympics page.