January 20 - The first official basketball game is played

On this day in 1892, both sports and Canadian history were made. Dr. James Naismith, also known as the Canadian who invented the game of basketball, put his soon to be revolutionizing idea in the practice as the first ever basketball game was played at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. The game was played with nine players and ended 1-0. The first ever basket was knocked down from 25 ft on court that was about half the size of today's current NBA standards. Needless to say, the game has evolved quite a bit in its 100+ year history!

Today, basketball is one of the biggest sports in North America. Athletes such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James, just to a name a few, have used basketball to become not only superstar athletes, but worldwide celebrities as well.

There have been several variations of basketball of the last 100 years including street ball, handball, wheelchair basketball, and the high flying and short lived "Slamball".




January 17 - Happy Birthday Al Capone!

On this day in 1899, the most notorious and feared gangster during the 1920's prohibition era was born. The legendary Al Capone turns 114 years old today, and now 80 years after his hey day, his name still resonates throughout North America. The Chicago gangster ran a prohibition era crime syndicate which included smuggling and bootlegging liquor as well as a slew of other illegal activities.

In his early twenties, Capone moved from Brooklyn to Chicago to take advantage of the opportunity to make bundles of money by smuggling illegal liquor during prohibition. Despite of his illegal occupation, Capone was seen as a modern day Robin Hood due to the amount of money he donated to charities from his illegal activities. Capone also has ties to the North of the 49th Parallel, as he smuggled liquor from Canada to the United States on many occasions.

Capone has been entrenched in popular culture over the last 70 years. He has been the topic of numerous books, articles, and films including being portrayed by Robert De Niro in the 1987 movie "The Untouchables". Most recently, Capone has been featured in the 2009 sequel to "A Night at the Museum" and the 2010 HBO hit "Boardwalk Empire".

In 1931, Capone's reign came to an end after he was charged and imprisoned for tax evasion. Capone spent the majority of his time in the Alcatraz Prison and in 1945 he passed away from cardiac arrest after suffering a stroke.




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