In 1891, a Canadian-American physical educator named James Naismith founded the game of basketball.
James Naismith: Who Was He?
James Naismith was a sports coach and innovator from Canada and the United States. He is credited with inventing the game of basketball in 1891, as well as constructing the first football helmet.
He wrote the original basketball rulebook and founded the University of Kansas basketball program. For his contributions to athletics, Naismith has received multiple posthumous awards. He died on November 28, 1939, in Kansas, at the age of 78.
Naismith was born in Almonte, Ontario, Canada, on November 6, 1861, the second child of Scottish immigrants. In Springfield, Massachusetts, he married Maude Evelyn Sherman in 1894, and the couple had five children. In 1925, he became an American citizen.
Why did James Naismith invent basketball?
Naismith left his position as athletics director at McGill University in Montreal at the age of 30 to teach physical education at the YMCA International Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. Naismith was charged by his supervisor with developing an indoor sports game to help sportsmen stay in condition during the frigid New England winters. This new game must also be “fair for all players and not too rough,” according to Naismith’s manager.
The result was a basketball game. Naismith devised 13 basic rules for the game, which began with 10-foot high peach baskets as the goals for each 9-player team in 1891.
The game had grown in popularity to the point where the YMCA began promoting it globally in 1893, and it was used as a demonstration sport at the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, Missouri. By 1936, the sport had been made an official event at the Berlin Summer Olympics. Naismith lived long enough to witness not just these accomplishments, but also the birth of the National Invitation Tournament (1938) and the NCAA Tournament (1939). (1939).
Love For Physical Education
Despite the fact that his new sport was gaining popularity, Naismith was supposed to be more interested in his physical teaching job. In 1898, he traveled to Denver to pursue his medical degree after leaving the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. He subsequently established a basketball program at the University of Kansas, where he began a long lineage of illustrious basketball coaches, beginning with Phog Allen, who went on to train ace players-turned-coaches Adolph Rupp, Dean Smith, and Ralph Miller. Naismith had an almost four-decade career as a basketball player at the University of Kansas.
He was a founding member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball, which eventually became known as the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, in 1937. (NAIA). During his lifetime and after his death, he received various athletic accolades.
Death and Enduring Legacy
Naismith suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage in 1939. He died nine days later, on November 28, 1939, at the age of 78, in his Lawrence, Kansas, home. Basketball – Its Origins and Development, his seminal work, was released two years after his death.
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