James Naismith

In the winter of 1891, when a 30-year-old physical education instructor from the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts invented an indoor game that could be played between football and baseball seasons, basket ball – originally two words – was born. James Naismith wrote and developed the game’s original thirteen rules and, through the YMCA network, quickly spread the news throughout the country. As basketball’s popularity grew, Naismith neither sought publicity nor engaged in self-promotion. He was first and foremost an educator, holding posts at the International YMCA Training School and the University of Kansas. He embraced recreational sport but shied away from the glory of competitive athletics. Although he never had the opportunity to see basketball become the astonishing success it is today, Naismith’s biggest thrill came when he was sponsored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches to witness basketball become an Olympic sport at the 1936 Games held in Berlin, Germany. Today, basketball has grown into one of the most popular sports in the world.