Sports in the 1920s included basketball, baseball, football, horse racing, tennis, golfing and boxing. As in modern times, the popularity of sports varied; baseball legend Babe Ruth propelled baseball into the sports spotlight while basketball did not instantly win the hearts of the American public.
Prior to the Great Depression, many types of sports enjoyed a surge in popularity. The year 1920 brought a change in American culture and society. Affluence increased, as did leisure time. Free time gave Americans a chance to participate in athletic endeavors as viewers and participants. Historians even call the 1920s the "Golden Age of American Sports." Gymnasiums and sports venues emerged. Newspapers and radio followed seasonal journeys of sports teams, reporting wins and losses to fans. Baseball enjoyed a surge of popularity early in the 1920s; so much so that baseball adopted the title of "national pastime." Football teams formed in colleges and universities. Baseball overshadowed football during the early 1920s. However, football produced several famous teams: Notre Dame, the University of North Carolina and Duke University emerged as leaders. Heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey earned professional boxing respect as a sport throughout the country, minus several states, such as North Carolina, that associated boxing with gambling. People watched professional athletes play during the 1920s, and formed social clubs and recreational teams to enjoy favorite sports as well.