The early years
In the early years the number of players on a team varied according to the number in the class and the size of the playing area. In 1894 teams began to play with five on a side when the playing area was less than 1,800 square feet (167.2 square metres); the number rose to seven when the gymnasium measured from 1,800 to 3,600 square feet (334.5 square metres) and up to nine when the playing area exceeded that. In 1895 the number was occasionally set at five by mutual consent; the rules stipulated five players two years later, and this number has remained ever since.
Since Naismith and five of his original players were Canadians, it is not surprising that Canada was the
an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.
a particular form of this, especially in the out of doors.
sports, (used with a singular verb) such athletic activities collectively: Sports is important in my life.
diversion; recreation; pleasant pastime.
jest; fun; mirth; pleasantry: What he said in sport was taken seriously.
mockery; ridicule; derision: They made sport of him.
an object of derision; laughingstock.
something treated lightly or tossed about like a plaything.
something or someone subject to the whims or vicissitudes of fate, circumstances, etc.
Informal. a person who behaves in a sportsmanlike, fair, or admirable manner; an accommodating person: He was a sport and took his defeat well.
Informal. a person who is interested in sports as an occasion for gambling; gambler.