The Invention Of Basketball Explained By James Naismith Himself

Photo Credit: The New York Times

The Invention Of Basketball Explained By James Naismith Himself


James Naismith, the inventor of our beloved sport, was born exactly 159 years ago today, on November 6, 1861.

University of Kansas researcher, Michael J. Zogry, discovered an audio at the Library of Congress in which Naismith, talks to a New York City radio station about how the sport came to be in 1891.

He was a physical educator and because of the terrible weather during winter in New England, the students got bored with all the indoor activities. So he came up with an idea – the foundation stone of the invention of basketball:


“I showed them two peach baskets I’d nailed up at each end of the gym, and I told them the idea was to throw the ball into the opposing team’s peach basket, I blew a whistle, and the first game of basketball began.”


Unfortunately, his students played the game too physical:


“The boys began tackling, kicking and punching in the clinches. They ended up in a free-for-all in the middle of the gym floor.”


The result of the first game of baskteball: several black eyes, one separated shoulder and one player knocked unconscious. This led to Naismith setting up rules, which needed to meet the requirements of a ‘clean sport’


“The most important one was that there should be no running with the ball, that stopped tackling and slugging. We tried out the game with those rules, and we didn’t have one casualty.”


Listen to the interview, what a valuable piece of history!


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