James Naismith – The Invention of Basketball

While the Americans have made basketball famous and turned it into a mainstream sport with the NBA, the idea of the game came from a Canadian man. Join me on a stroll through history to see how this interesting bit of sports genius came to be.

The days in which basketball was created resemble today’s world when a contagious disease was wreaking havoc among the YMCA’s training school in Springfield. The young men that were studying in their halls just would not have any of this lockdown and rest period, and the roughhousing started to go a bit overboard in the halls.

After failing to calm everybody down by implementing a form of indoor football in the gymnasium, James Naismith took on the challenge to come up with a sport for winter. He was a 31-year-old Canadian second-year graduate and had just become a PE instructor, who also happened to love rugby, lacrosse and a game called duck on a rock.

Right before Christmas, on December the 21st, James grabbed a soccer ball and procured himself two peach baskets from the custodian at the gymnasium. He promptly put the baskets on the rail of the gym’s balcony, 10 feet up in the air.

After everything was set up, James called the hyperactive and bored students to the gym and created two teams with nine boys each. He then explained the goal was to put the ball through the opposing team’s basket, and thus the first-ever basketball game took place in 1939.

The game has evolved considerably from these humble beginnings to the big mainstream sport that it is nowadays, but it is quite impressive to see how it was the creation of a Canadian.