History of Basketball
Dr. James Naismith, Inventor of Basketball
Dr. James Naismith is known world-wide as the inventor of basketball.
He was born in 1861 in Ramsay township, near Almonte, Ontario, Canada.
The concept of basketball was born from Naismith's school days in the area
where he played a simple child's game known as duck-on-a-rock outside his
one-room schoolhouse. The game involved attempting to knock a "duck" off
the top of a large rock by tossing another rock at it. Naismith went on
to attend McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
After serving as McGill's Athletic Director, James Naismith moved on to
the YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA in 1891, where
the sport of basketball was born. In Springfield, Naismith was faced with
the problem of finding a sport that was suitable for play inside during
the Massachusetts winter for the students at the School for Christian
Workers. Naismith wanted to create a game of skill for the students
instead of one that relied solely on strength. He needed a game that
could be played indoors in a relatively small space. The first game was
played with a soccer ball and two peach baskets used as goals. Naismith joined
the University of Kansas faculty in 1898, teaching physical education and being a
James Naismith devised a set of thirteen rules of basketball:
- The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.
- The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands, but
never with the fist.
- A player cannot run with the ball. The player must throw it from the
spot on which he catches it, allowance to be made for a man running at
- The ball must be held in or between the hands. The arms or body must
not be used for holding it.
- No shouldering, holding, pushing, striking or tripping in any way of
an opponent. The first infringement of this rule by any person shall count
as a foul; the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is made or,
if there was evident intent to injure the person, for the whole of the
game. No substitution shall be allowed.
- A foul is striking at the ball with the fist, violations of Rules 3
and 4 and such as described in Rule 5.
- If either side make three consecutive fouls it shall count as a goal
for the opponents (consecutive means without the opponents in the meantime
making a foul).
- Goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from the ground
into the basket and stays there, providing those defending the goal do not
touch or disturb the goal. If the ball rests on the edge and the opponents
move the basket, it shall count as a goal.
- When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall be thrown into the field
and played by the first person touching it. In case of dispute the umpire
shall throw it straight into the field. The thrower-in is allowed five
seconds. If he holds it longer, it shall go to the opponent. If any side
persists in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on them.
- The umpire shall be judge of the men and shall note the fouls and
notify the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made. He shall
have the power to disqualify men according to Rule 5.
- The referee shall be the judge of the ball and decide when it is in
play in bounds, to which side it belongs, and shall keep the time. He
shall decide when a goal has been made and keep account of the goals with
any other duties that are usually performed by a referee.
- The time shall be two 15-minute halves with five minutes' rest
- The side making the most goals in that time shall be declared the
In addition to the creation of the basketball, James Naismith graduated
as a medical doctor, primarily interested in sports physiology and what we
would today call sports science and as Presbyterian minister, with a keen
interest in philosophy and clean living. Naismith watched his sport,
basketball, introduced in many nations by the YMCA movement as early as
1893. Basketball was introduced at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. Naismith was
flown to Berlin to watch the games. He died in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1939.
Today basketball has grown to become one of the world's most popular