History of Basketball in the United Kingdom

When people see a ball and a hoop, the very first thing that comes to their mind is basketball. This sport has created a significant impact in the field of sport. It is considered as one of the most popular sports around the world, from national to international competitions.

If you live in the United Kingdom, have you ever wonder of the history of Basketball. Remember, by discovering the story behind a sport. It becomes easier for you to appreciate it evenly.

So, this is how basketball in the United Kingdom all started!


Like any other popular sports in the United Kingdom, basketball has its own rich, long history. The sport was first to introduce in England by the YMCA as quickly after it was invented. Between World War 1 and World War II, the popularity of Basketball continues to grow.

In the United Kingdom, the top team sports are football, cricket and cricket league. By that time, the popularity of basketball is alongside with ice hockey. Although it showed the dedicated following, still it only attracts little coverage from different British media outlets.

The British Basketball League, the elite league in the United Kingdom, is composed of professional teams from England and Scotland. The semi-professional league is known as the English Basketball League.

UK Basketball History


Between 1892 and 1893, C. J. Proctor, the president of Birkenhead YMC introduced basketball in England. The said introduction led to an interesting growth for participation in the new game. Initially, basketball is categorised as an integral league that is played at the Birkenhead YMCA members. Later on, the other YMCA clubs have matches in Merseyside and Wirral regions.


In 1917, the time when Americans arrived, many British basketball players discover more about the sport. Then, in 1918, the American Physical Director of YMCA brought influences on the District Associations in England. As a result, some of the local rules were changed and became more an American game.

Basketball during world war II


During World War II, there is progress in popularity for basketball where the English team known as Catford Saints joined the Liege Festival in 1939.

In April 1940, the Championship Final was helped where Birmingham Athletic Institute beat Lon Central YMCA. Then, in the following years, better coaching services and better class of play were introduced.


In 1944, the very first Scottish Cup was held. In the 47th season, both leagues from east and west of Scotland have started to form. Then, the inaugural winner was the Pleasance B.C.


In 1952, the Basketball Association of Wales was founded. It is the national governing body that is responsible for managing the Welsh National Basketball League.


As for Northern Ireland, the Basketball Northern Ireland is considered to be the national governing body in Northern Ireland. It has an affiliation to Basketball Ireland which is responsible for the development, promotion, as well as administration of basketball activities.

So, from less popular to one of the most popular, basketball became an essential part of sports in the United Kingdom.