[Worldkings] Top 100 pioneers in all fields (P. 11) James Naismith (Canada): The man who wrote down the history of basketball


(Worldkings.org) James Naismith was a Canadian physical education coach who invented the game of basketball in 1891 while working at the YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts.

James Naismith (November 6, 1861 – November 28, 1939) was a Canadian-American physical educator, physician, Christian chaplain, and sports coach, best known as the inventor of the game of basketball. After moving to the United States, he wrote the original basketball rule book and founded the University of Kansas basketball program.


Born and raised on a farm near Almonte in the Province of Canada’s Canada West region which corresponds to today’s Province of Ontario, Naismith studied and taught physical education at McGill University in Montreal until 1890 before moving to Springfield, Massachusetts, United States later that year, where in 1891 he designed the game of basketball while he was teaching at the International YMCA Training School.

At the Springfield YMCA, he was tasked with coming up with an indoor, contactless sport for his students during the miserable winter months. With only two peach baskets to hand, little did Naismith know that his new game ‘basket-ball’ would become a national sensation that his name would forever be associated with.

Applying his college experience, Naismith selected features of football, American football, field hockey and other outdoor sports for his new game. In theory, he removed any contact between players so it could be played inside. The game also featured 9 players on each side because his class at that time numbered 18 men.


While designing his new game, Naismith had tried to reduce body contact by making the goal tricky to guard. Rather than on the ground, the goal was suspended above the player’s heads, and they would have to score by throwing the ball soft and high, which had worked well in his favourite childhood game ‘duck on a rock’.

Seven years after inventing basketball, Naismith received his medical degree in Denver in 1898. He then arrived at the University of Kansas, later becoming the Kansas Jayhawks' athletic director and coach. While a coach at Kansas, Naismith coached Phog Allen, who later became the coach at Kansas for 39 seasons, beginning a lengthy and prestigious coaching tree. Allen then went on to coach legends including Adolph Rupp and Dean Smith, among others, who themselves coached many notable players and future coaches.

Naismith lived to see basketball adopted as an Olympic demonstration sport in 1904 and as an official event at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, as well as the birth of the National Invitation Tournament (1938) and the NCAA Tournament (1939).


According to Wikipedia & historyhit.com

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