Thursday, 13 April 2017

James Naismith - Inventor of Basketball

This one may be more of a technicality than anything, but Basketball was invented by James Naismith, a Canadian while working in the United States.

By D. Gordon E. Robertson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

While teaching at Springfield College (known as International YMCA Training School then) in 1891, Naismith was tasked to create a safe indoor game for the rowdy students during the harsh winters in New England. He took the softest ball at the time, a soccer ball, eliminated contact by not allowing players to run with the ball and hung peach baskets up on each end of the gymnasium. This was the rough introduction to basketball. In his own account Naismith described the first game as “a free-for-all in the middle of the gym floor”, so he drafted up the original 13 rules, posted them on a bulletin board and later played a more regulated game. Eventually holes were cut into the baskets to allow the ball to fall out rather than climb up to retrieve it each time.

 In 1905 basketball was formally recognized as a permanent winter sport in high schools and colleges. Over the years there have been many tweaks to the game but it has not strayed too drastically from the original 13 rules. Naismith now has the honour of having the Basketball Hall of Fame named after him and many trophies for different leagues recognizing player’s accomplishments. Basketball as we all know is a huge success today and is played by more than 300 million people worldwide. You can thank the Canadian guy from a little town called Almonte, Ontario for inventing it.

What is 150 of our favourite Canadian things? Read about it here


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