In the year 1891 in December James Naismith invented the game of Basketball at the YMCA School for Christian Workers in Springfield Massachusetts. Within a very short time the game spread by leaps and bounds across the country through the YMCA’s network. It was Amos Alonzo who brought Collegiate Basketball to Chicago from Springfield College. Initially High School Basketball in Illinois was more of a girls sport.
During the first decade of the Century, Basketball took Chicago by storm, with church, schools, and Settlement houses formed several amateur leagues of both men and women. The national success of the University of Chicago teams was the reason behind the great enthusiasm. The National Interscholastic Basketball Tournament held every March at the Chicago University was a great extravaganza covered by the leading newspapers. Champion teams from across the country would converge to Chicago for the annual grand sport. It was Coach Lennie Sachs who built the basket ball team of Loyola University into a national power game in the late 1920’s. The slow emergence of African American Players were marked by 2 successful all black Chicago high school team in the 1950’s. In 1963 Loyola University won the NCAA championship and they had 4 African American in their winning team. In last 2 decades after Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls there was not much for the City to cheer for. The city was all decked up in Loyola’s signature maroon and gold. Sadly Loyola-Chicago was out of the NCAA Tournament losing it to Michigan in the Final Four.
By: Madhuchanda Saxena