They say baseball is the great American pastime, and it's obviously quite popular in the United States. Yet whose home doesn't have a basketball hoop sprouting up in their driveway or backyard? Like baseball, basketball is a home-grown American sport, invented in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith, a Massachusetts physical education instructor. Naismith was charged with creating a new game that could be played indoors to keep students occupied and out of trouble during Massachusetts' harsh winters. He came up with Basket Ball, which today, after a slight name change, is played by more than 250 million people around the globe in some kind of organized manner, plus who-knows-how-many others in pick-up games [source: U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Germany].
And then there are basketball's innumerable variations, which can be played alone or with at least one other [source: Basketball]. It's hard to say who created these variations over the last 120-some years, and it probably doesn't matter. But here are five you can test out for yourself. Maybe afterwards, you'll be inspired to create one of your own.