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Who Invented Basketball
Unusually, for team sports, it is known exactly who invented basketball and exactly when it was invented. It is more common that such a sport has just evolved and has no clear starting point or name for a true inventor of the game.
It was a Mr James A Naismith who invented basketball. He was born on November 6, 1861 and died on November 28, 1939. He was born Canadian near Ontario in the township of Ramsay. His parents were Scottish immigrants who had crossed the Atlantic around 1851. His father, John, was involved in the mining industry. As a youngster, James was always athletic and was an excellent gymnast. He also played football for McGill University where he was studying physical education. After earning a bachelor’s degree in the subject, James attended the Presbyterian College of Montreal and later graduated with a degree.
After graduation, James Naismith began working as a teacher at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. It was while he was here that he was asked to come up with a game for students that could be played indoors. He had various stipulations to follow regarding the size of the room and the number of people etc. He remembered playing a game called “duck on a rock” as a child and decided to implement some of the ideas into his new game. The game involved two teams with nine players on each team, a ball and two peach baskets – one nailed to each end of the gymnasium. The principle was simple; you had to pass the ball to your team members and then score a goal by throwing it into the peach basket. The game was an instant hit and James Naismith’s name went down in history as the man who invented basketball.
In January 1892, just a month after being asked to design a game, James Naismith published the rules of the game. These rules were very similar to those of today’s game. The main difference was the lack of dribbling. At this point, the ball has just been thrown between the players. Although it was Naismith who invented basketball and wrote the rulebook, dribbling, which is one of the most important aspects these days, has only evolved over time. Another interesting difference in the rules is the possession decision when the ball is out of play. In Naismith’s original rulebook, the ball became the possession of whoever picked it up first!
It’s great to know the history of the game and have so many details about how it came to be. James Naismith is indeed known not only as the man who invented basketball, but also as a great gymnast and sportsman in his own right. He is also highly regarded for his continued support of his game and his work to bring basketball to schools and colleges nationwide.
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