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Equality In and Through the Game of Basketball

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In basketball history, the first official game that happened in 1896, almost was a shut out with Trenton, NJ scoring 15 against Brooklyn’s score of 1. Official meant the players had to actually travel to meet and play the game against each other. The players had no clue that they started something that will hold some relevance on the 20th century racial, social and gender equality issues. Let us first examine what led basketball to get involved in these issues.

After a few months, the neighboring Eastern states imitated these teams. The number of basketball players increased much faster than the jerseys could be produced. Imagine this just for fun: You are watching Lakers team play against Jazz. Each time Kobe Bryant shoots the ball, a man climbs up with a ladder and takes the ball out of a real wooden basket. That is the best example of a portable basketball goal. The first basketball game was held in the Trenton Masonic temple. Can you imagine Michael Jordan playing in one right now?

Almost 2 decades later, the basketball backboards have transformed from a form of recreation to a symbol of power, cultural equality for African Americans and athletic achievement. The respected Central Interscholastic Athletic Association or CIAA was formed in 1916 by the educators and faculty of Virginia Union, Howard Universities, Shaw and Hampton Institute. The CIAA promoted a sport that African Americans bested in andruled. The basketball backboards the African Americans used were representations of their inner-city youth and culture. The backboards were crests that broke racial barriers. Today, the professional athletes like LeBraun James and Michael Jordan represent the sport that destroyed all misconceptions about racial differences and focuses on their capabilities instead.

The Nike logo showing Michael Jordan’s silhouette is one of the widely popular symbols all over the world. You see it everywhere in a sports shop – on basketballs, shoes, uniforms, and sport drinks. It is an image that is soldered deep into our subconscious, a sign of bravery and accomplishment.

Basketball backboards also represent some changes in women’s rights. It was in 1893 when the first all-female league was created. The rules were changed to make the game less forceful than how it was originally played. In 1938, the women’s league made a stand against the injustice and insisted for a match using men’s rules. The scrimmage enforced the rights of women players. However, it was not until 1970 that women athletes could play using a full sized court.

Basketball has leveled the ground for the battle between race and gender equality. The basketball courts are filled with long narratives of the battles that were fought and won. The basketball backboards of the inner-city schools, YMCA and the streets proudly bear the weight of collective equality of all genders and races. The history of basketball is not just about winning and losing. For some, it is about life by gaining equality and death by discrimination.