While millions of individuals throughout the world enjoy playing or watching basketball, few take the time to ask who invented the game of basketball. Despite being one of the most popular sports in the world, basketball is a relatively new addition to the sports landscape.
Many other sports such as baseball, soccer, tennis, and golf have been around for many more decades, and in some cases centuries, than basketball. While who invented the game of basketball is rarely a hot topic in modern sports headlines, the story itself is fascinating.
Who invented the game of basketball And When?
Basketball was invented by James Naismith in December 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Naismith was a 31-year-old graduate student at the YMCA training school in Springfield when he invented the game. While the year when it was invented came during a time before sports were as popular as they are now, basketball quickly exploded in popularity with the general public.
Birth of Basketball – Why did James Naismith Invent Basketball?
The story of who invented the game of basketball began in the early winter months of 1890 in a small YMCA training school in New England. James Naismith was struggling with a rowdy class of students who were confined to indoor activities during the frigid winter months.
The head of physical education at the school, Luther Gulick, gave Naismith 14 days to invent an indoor game that would occupy the students’ attention. Gulick specifically stated that the game could not take up too much space, needed to be fair for all players, and could not be too rough.
Derived from the medieval game “duck on a rock”, Naismith created a game whose object, unlike other popular sports of the day, was to score using a lob shot. For this purpose, he hung 2 peach baskets from the gallery railing in the gym about 10 feet off of the ground. Naismith created 13 rules to govern the game, posting them on the bulletin board inside the gymnasium.
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Why was the Game Called Basketball?
Because the game originally involved throwing a ball into peach baskets, the game was known as “basket ball”. Eventually, the two words became fused, forming the new designation “basketball”.
What was the first Basketball made of?
The ball used in the first game of basketball was a soccer ball. Although this may seem problematic at first due to its lack of bouncing ability compared to a basketball, it is important to note that the original rules of basketball did not allow for dribbling. Advancing the ball was to be done exclusively by passing.
Basketball James Naismith – 5 Little Known Facts
- James Naismith was a Physician
While many individuals are familiar with James Naismith being referred to as, Dr. James Naismith, many probably assume that the “Dr.” designation refers to an academic education status. However, Naismith was actually a licensed physician, receiving his medical degree from the University of Colorado Medical School in 1898. When most people ask who invented the game of basketball, they probably don’t expect to hear that a doctor did so.
- James Naismith was a Presbyterian Minister
Naismith attended The Presbyterian College in Montreal from 1887 to 1890, receiving a degree in theology and becoming a minister. He would eventually use basketball as an evangelism outreach program. Basketball was originally introduced to the country of China, where it is now the country’s most popular sport, through religious YMCA missionary and outreach programs.
- James Naismith was the 1st Basketball Coach for the Kansas Jayhawks
The Kansas Jayhawks are one of the most successful college basketball programs in the history of the game. James Naismith became the program’s first-ever basketball coach in 1898, coaching the team until 1907. During his time the school compiled a record of 55-60, ironically, making Naismith the only basketball coach with a losing record in the school’s long history. It is certainly appropriate that the person who invented the game of basketball was the first coach of the Jayhawks.
- James Naismith Attended the Infamous 1936 Berlin Olympics
The 1936 Berlin Olympics are most famous for showcasing Adolph Hitler’s Germany to the world, just a few years before the outbreak of World War 2. However, on another note, for the first time in the history of basketball, the sport became a recognized medal event. Naismith himself, who invented the game of basketball nearly a half-century earlier, attended the 1936 Olympics and handed out the medals to the United States (gold), Canada (silver), and Mexico (bronze).
- James Naismith played College Football
Naismith played 1 year of college football while at Springfield College, then known as the YMCA International Training School. He was coached by the legendary Amos Alonzo Stagg, a pioneer in the history of football. It’s quite incredible that one of the most important early football innovators coached the person who invented the game of basketball. Naismith scored a touchdown during the first exhibition game of indoor college football at Madison Square Garden.
One of the most popular sports in the United States
Some sports fans may ask, “Who invented the game of basketball?” or “When was the game invented?” James Naismith invented basketball as a graduate student at the YMCA training school in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The game itself soon became one of the most popular sports in the United States, captivating individuals of all ages. Naismith himself would go on to compile many academic and sports-related achievements, himself becoming a legendary American figure.