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HomeFeaturesLocal HistoryUncle Jack Fultz's Memories of Carter County: Like ducks to water, Kentuckians...

Uncle Jack Fultz’s Memories of Carter County: Like ducks to water, Kentuckians took to basketball

By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

The game of basketball was invented in 1891, and the first professional league, the NBL, was founded seven years later, in 1898, then abandoned by 1904. The first metal hoops and backboards would be introduced two years later, in 1906. It would be another 40 years before the NBA was established, and basketball really began to take off across the country – becoming integrally ingrained in American life and culture. 

But Kentuckians were early adopters of the sport and in January of 1925 the Olive Hill team was busy trouncing the visiting Morehead Independants (sic) 29-13 in a game so exciting it had the editors of the newspaper – and other prominent local businessmen – calling for the construction of a gymnasium to host other visiting teams (the game against Morehead was played in a skating rink). 

Setting a pattern that Olive Hill, Carter County, and other Kentucky teams would build on in years to come they played strong team ball, heavy on the passing game. “(I)ntroducing the criss cross play to the Olive Hill fans,” the paper read. And, apparently, introducing it to the Morehead team, which the paper described as “bewildered” by the strong passing game and unable to formulate a defense until it was too late. 

It certainly made an impression on the spectators, but basketball wasn’t the only reason to call for a gymnasium. Another article, in the same month and year, called on the city to consider the construction of a gymnasium to give young people a place to engage in recreational sports and activities. But it’s fun to see just how excited the community could get over a basketball game, just as they still can nearly 100 years later. 

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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