Why Are Basketball Players Called Cagers? ( Interesting Fact About This Popular Term Used In The Game Of Basketball!)

Last Updated on November 7, 2020 by Daniel Cuttridge

Basketball players tend to play the game inside an enclosed cage a very long time ago which brought about people calling them camera back then. The cage was used for the game of basketball from 1896-1930, which is a long time. Even if the cage had to disappear from the sport for logical reasons, it was still used in the first professional game of basketball.  A rule which states that “the ball belongs to team A to gain possession if it gets out of bounds from team B” was used in the first decades of this classic sport.  

This rule brought about a lot of fighting, wrestling, and elbowing among the basketball players which was horrible because the fans were sitting right alongside the court. So, because of these brawls, elbowing, wrestling, and fighting between players, fan-player brawl also got intense so, to protect the players from the fans and vice versa, cages were installed around basketball courts. There were times when this could have been changed after the out of bound rules in 1902, but the cages have not removed any longer from the game since players still love to bounce the ball of the walls of the cage.

Not quite long, a safer and cheaper rope netting were used to replace the wire-mesh cages. Even after these changes, fans and basketball fanatics still call them cages and they were still popular as late as the 1930s. In the streets of New York City is where the tradition of cage-ball lives on today, where cages surrounds public basketball courts, and these cages help to keep the balls from going off into the busy streets. While people do not often speak of the word these days, basketball players were once called a very strange name “cagers”. This happened mostly before games started.  But the real question is, how did the name came alive?

In this article, we are going to talk about the basketball compelling history, how the term “cagers” came to life, when everything change and so on.

This table below is well constructed to show you every detail of dates when different changes were made in the came of basketball.

ParametersDate
When was the cage used in the game of basketball? 1896-1930
When was the out of bound rules established?1902s
When was the gymnasium used for playing basketball games?1940s

Basketball’s Compelling Origin

A Canadian man called James Naismith invented the game of basketball. In the late 1800s, Naismith worked at the Springfield, Massachusetts YMCA Training School as a physical education instructor. As a physical education instructure, he was in search of activities that could help people use all of their body. Cardiovascular exercises were pretty well understood in this period, which permitted Naismith’s concept to work perfectly. So he thought about how men would play to get balls into a basket. His concept was exciting and it brought about an exciting game that was widely accepted and loved. After a while, just a few years after the game had been invented, the game began to grow in popularity to the extent that a professional league with professional in the sport took to the court. A mark was made in 1896 when the very first professional game was played in Trenton, New Jersey. There’s a funny thing you should know here, the court that the professionals used was in a social hall that was enclosed in something like a cage. This was truly where it all began! The cage had wire-mesh fencing along the sidelines and end with a height of 12 feet.

How Did The “Cagers” Term Come To Be?

A lot of people wanted the game to have been involved a long time ago even if the first professional basketball game was played in a cage. Yet the rules for the game by Naismith were made around the only playing facility which was available. Not every court played on was the same even if it would be considered insane today. Some were smaller or bigger than the other. This court size varieties made life a bit difficult for some basketball players, since they had to adapt to the different sizes of the court the played on. Also, these courts were sometimes tight fits for some players since they all had cages.

The Birth Of The New Basketball

Fortunately, in today’s world, some specific guidelines have to be followed by every NBA team on how they must have their courts installed. These guidelines especially include the color of the court’s flooring and most importantly the size of the court itself. The high school and college teams are not exempted from these guidelines, they all have to abide by the court size rules. Today, all the rules and regulations of the college or high school basketball are overseen by various state organizations and majorly the NCAA. For their parts, the NCAA are the ones who ensure that basketball courts have the same size in all colleges and high schools and they also run a lot of college material in terms of sports. The presence of the court gave the fans the option to get closer. Spectators can now sit much more closer to the court. Shaq used to run into the courtside seats today are not inches close to what we are saying here.

The Game Of Basketball Evolving

A rule which states that “the ball belongs to team A to gain possession if it gets out of bounds from team B” was used in the first decades of this classic sport. What this means is that team A and B could fight for the ball. However, fans or spectators could get injured without a cage to keep them safe from the brawling and wrestling action of the players. Another funny thing is that the rules had the cage positioned high enough to prevent the ball from escaping out of the court. Meaning that the “out of bounds rule” was meaningless. In 1902, the rule was eventually abolished which led to the end of brawling and wrestling action in the game of basketball. Also, meaning the cage was no longer required. However, but the cages have not been removed any longer from the game since players still love to bounce the ball of the walls of the cage. Longer than anyone could imagine, the game remained inside a cage, which is very obvious why people call these players “cagers”. Players enjoy the game even more and it became more exciting to them since the ball will never get out of bounds. The ball only gets back to them after bouncing off the cage. This concept was even made easier with the replacement of wire-mesh with rope netting.

When Everything Changed

The cage had to go even if players loved it. In 1920s, cages were scarcely used in the game of basketball but some countries still played the game in cages into 1930s. One funny thing you should know is that outside the Northeast, the cages were never really used for basketball games, even by high schools or even colleges. The original reason for the name “cager” was eventually forgotten by most. Most players even thought the cage were built to keep them away from the fans as if they were like some animals in cages. But to be honest, back in those early days of basketball, it was very violent.

They were no rules against smashing or pushing someone against the cage during the gameplay, which led to fighting and brawling, and to make it worse, the home team fans joining the fight. During the early stages of basketball, a lot of unsportsmanlike activities from fouling to double dribbling were permitted. Double dribbling, with both hands on the ball, had also been permitted in those times. A powerful basketball player can make the way down the court of his by bouncing the ball and also getting it with both hands following every bounce while backing into opponents en route. But during the 1920s and 1930s, rules were drastically modified. Therefore, gyms were the places where basketball games are played in the early 1940s.

The Emergence Of NBA And ABA

Both college and professional games were played in courts primarily owned by local colleges or by the city or town. After a while, ABA and NBA were the two professional leagues which began so popular and prominent, which led to owners getting involved and stadium and courts were specially built for each of their respective teams. Nowadays, cages are completed at each level of the organized sport we all know as basketball. The word “cagers” for describing basketball players is not even that popular any more. This is because the generation that knew much about the weird name has almost passed away.

Final Words

The recognition of “cagers” couldn’t be overlooked by several. This led to fascinating choices being made. Several cities throughout the United States proceeded to make basketball courts at apartment complexes as well as next to facilities and also at neighborhood public parks. We’ve come to the end of this informative article. We hope you now know why basketball players are called cagers. We would love to entertain questions and comments from you. Do not hesitate if you have any!

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