First Team

Enshrined 1959


In an attempt to increase participation in his gym class, which consisted of older gentlemen training to become executive secretaries, James Naismith invented a game he called basket ball (then two words). Initially, his class, a group of eighteen "incorrigibles" who had already driven off two previous instructors, scoffed at the idea. But from the moment the first ball was tossed into the air, the class played with an enthusiasm never before seen at the Springfield YMCA. Initially, the class concentrated on individual skills. But when both the class and Naismith realized that group effort was needed to play the game well, the first true basketball team was born. Word spread quickly. Spectators flocked to watch this exciting, new sport. By playing the first game of basketball on December 21, 1891, Naismith and the First Team laid the groundwork for what would become the fastest growing game in sports history.


Career Highlights

First game of basketball played on December 21, 1891
First game of basketball consisted of eighteen players, nine to a side
Score of first game was 1-0
First Team toured U.S. and helped popularize basketball in the months following its invention.
First team founded during a class at the Springfield YMCA