Early Basketball Games in Hawaii
Basketball got its start in Hawaii around 1899 shortly after the U.S. annexation of Hawaii. On February 21, 1899, The Pacific Commercial Advertiser reports that basketball was “booming”: “Three teams have already been organized and a fourth is in contemplation.” The three organized teams included the Business Men, the Unknowns, and the Rough Riders.
Four months later, female students at Oahu College (later known as Punahou School) would play basketball games in several teams during graduation on a Saturday afternoon. Team Buffs played against team Blues. The girls could be seen running after the ball and dribbling it. The Hawaiian Gazette reports that the girls “gave a decidedly pretty exhibition, playing fast with side systems and signals complete.” The audience of 600 to 700 people “caught the fever of the excitement,” and their frequent applauds and the music played by Capt. Berger’s band could be heard. While the losing Blues tried to make a comeback, the Buffs defeated them at the score of 16-7.
Fourteen years later, in Hawaii’s first college basketball game, the College of Hawaii (University of Hawaii) played against McKinley High School at the Honolulu YMCA and won at 14-13.
“A Jolly Rally: Former Students of Oahu College Meet”
The Hawaiian gazette., June 20, 1899, Page 3, Image 3
“Oahu College Commencement”
Austin’s Hawaiian weekly., June 24, 1899, Page 13, Image 13