Timeline: History of Balls

Balls are an integral part of the game in many sports, and are an athlete's prized possession. How did such a mild-mannered shape come to dominate the world of sports? Below is a detailed timeline of the history of the sports ball.

A "beach" ball (not to scale).

10,000 BC: The first ball created; it is immediately lost on neighbor's roof.

9,999 BC: After a year's sabbatical, the man who created the first ball creates a second ball and trades it for a cube, which is also lost immediately.

5,000 BC: Balls replace rocks in most sporting events. Rocks remain a fan favorite.

0 AD: Jesus of Nazareth given frankincense, myrrh, and gold by three wise men. "But if they were really wise, they would have just gotten me a toy ball. What the hell do I do with myrrh? What even is myrrh?" Jesus complained to Mark 20 years later (Mark, 4:56).

1106: Pope Gregory III outlaws balls in a Vatican edict.

1106: Pope Gregory III murdered.

1493: Returning from his adventures in the New World, Columbus reports the world is "like a ball-shape," asks for more money and a ball. His request is denied.

1861: Civil War breaks out after President Lincoln's 4-year old son Fitz steals a ball from Jefferson Davis' son, Tony; slavery also a factor.

1873: Pete Randerson of Sacramento, California sits on a ball for too long and accidentally invents the football.

1901: The Wright Brothers take the historic "first flight" at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Decades later, Kitty Hawk becomes famous for its rubber ball factory.

2000: Homeowner finally gets around to getting that twelve thousand year old ball off the roof.

Nate Odenkirk had three balls in his garage. At the time of writing, none have enough air.

Never miss cutting-edge sports journalism. Click SUBSCRIBE above to receive OSN content in your inbox daily.