The World Is Still Waiting For Basketball On Roller Skates To Become Popular
When James Naismith invented basketball in 1891 the players had to pass the ball to one another. Dribbling the ball was a foul! It was a very different game than today. As people sought to improve basketball a novel idea was proposed: play basketball on roller skates.
In 1906 it was predicted that innovation was going to be the next big sport.
Here is how it was described in the New York Times on July 1, 1906
BASKET BALL ON SKATES A FASCINATING PASTIME
Formation of Big League of Local Teams Planned.
MUST REVISE PLAYING RULES
Experiments at Madison Square Garden Have Shown Possibilities of Sport When Properly Conducted.
The recent revival of roller skating has resulted in the introduction of many novel and interesting athletic sports on skates. Among them being pushball, broomball, gymkhana and medley races. and basket ball. While they are all interesting to the general public and furnish excellent exercise for the athletes. the only sport in which science plays an important part in
basket ball and this is destined to become the leading athletic feature of roller skating.
Though in its infancy, the sport has rapidly jumped into popular favor and games are played several times a week in the big rink at Madison Square Garden. Applications have been received from over fifty clubs for permission to play matches in the Garden, and plans are now under way for the formation of a roller skating basket ball league, which will be divided into senior and junior divisions and a schedule of games arranged for the championships.
Basket ball on roller skates does not differ tram the ordinary basket ball game, although it will be necessary to revise the rules somewhat to enable the officials to properly control the sport.
Owing to the conditions under which the game is played, it will require a modification of the foul rule.
In the regular game fouls are classified as follows: Delaying the game, tackling the ball, kicking the ball, striking the ball, holding the ball, dribbling. tackling opponent. holding opponent, pushing opponent, addressing officials, striking, kicking, shouldering, tripping, or hacking opponent, unnecessary roughness and using profane or abusive language. As it is frequently impossible tor a. player to control his movements or speed, material changes are necessary in this department. Under the present playing rules it is a difficult matter tor the referee to judge satisfactorily on many points covering fouls, and these will probably be modified or eliminated to suit the new conditions.
Fouls will be classified according to penalties to cover unnecessary roughness, delaying the game, using profane or abusive language, addressing officials, and holding the ball, but in the other classified penalties a good deal depends on the circumstances whether a player can with
reasonable fairness be disqualified or not. When engaged in the game with the skates off, the players are able to follow a strict observance of the rules, but when skating it is practically impossible to follow the existing rules, as frequently the players are unable to preserve their equilibrium, and often bring one or more players down with them when they fall.
From a scientific standpoint the game is a most attractive one. Passing, one of the principal elements in the game. can be accomplished with remarkable accuracy. Short passes can be effectively made, but long passing is somewhat uncertain at present. due principally to lack
of practice. With the players skating at full speed it is a difficult matter for a player to stop suddenly or turn quickly, although in the few games played so far there is a big improvement in the floor work of the players.
James E. Sullivan, Secretary-Treasurer of the Amateur Athletic Union, believes the sport will become a valuable addition to indoor pastimes it conducted on proper lines. He believes that it should be confined to amateurs who should be registered like all other athletes in the A.A.U., and all games conducted under proper sanction. which will not only‘ protect the players, but insure clean, healthy, and interesting sport. Professionalism must be eliminate it public support and patronage are to be considered.
Capt. Cook of the Silent Five team predicts a great future for the game, and says the members of his team prefer playing on roller skates to that of the regular game.
During the next few years the basketball on roller skates never took off the way Captain Cook predicted. Every now and then someone will propose what they think is a new twist on an old game. What they don’t realize is that it has usually been tried, failed and forgotten. That’s the case with basketball on roller skates.
I did this a few times with friends in the 90s on rollerblades. It was pretty wild.