Inventors are inspirational. James Naismith is a Canadian-American inventor, teacher, author, coach, physician, and chaplain. In 1891, he invented the sport of basketball. He wrote the original 13 rules of basketball, founded the University of Kansas basketball program, and saw basketball played in the Olympics, and the start of the National Invitation Tournament and the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship.
Naismith was born on November 6, 1861 in Ontario, Canada. When he was young, he was orphaned and went to live with his aunt and uncle. He graduated high school in 1883. He went to McGill University. There, he played multiple sports and won awards. He earned a degree in Physical Education in in 1888 and another from Presbyterian College in Montreal in 1890. He taught physical education at McGill before becoming the physical education teacher at the YMCA International Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The head of the department at the YMCA ordered Naismith to come up with an indoor athletic game students could play. Remembering a game he played as a child and keeping safety as a concern helped him to create the basic rules. Naismith had two peach baskets secured up ten feet on the wall at each end of the gym. The first game was played in 1891. The ball could not be ran with and had to be passed between players with no one acting as a goalie. More rules, beyond the basic 13, developed as the game was played and then became a popular sport. The YMCA introduced the game internationally.
Naismith was hired as a chapel director and physical education teacher at the University of Kansas. The basketball program officially began there in 1898. Soon there were enough college teams in the United States that intercollegiate competitions could be played. Naismith appreciated the benefits of the sport for physical education. He continued to teach, patrolled the Mexican border for four months, went to France, and wrote two books. In 1925, he became in American citizen.
In 1894, before basketball was played in college, Naismith married Maude Evelyn Sherman. They had five children. After 40 plus years Maude died. In 1939, he married Florence B. Kincaid. Naismith died after suffering a brain hemorrage later that same year. Naismith has awards and organizations named after him including the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Basketball has become one of the most popular team sports in the world. Basketball playlers, such as Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, and Bill Russell, are admired and appreciated thanks to James Naismith. Be inspired! Have a bright day!