It was 198, YMCA International Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. A 30-year-old physical education teacher from Canada was hired to work full time. His boss, Dr. Luther Gulick, gave him two weeks to come up with a game that could be played indoors and keep the class busy during cold New England winters.
As the purpose of the game was to keep players in shape, the primary focus was on reducing physical contact. So, the soccer ball was chosen as it was the softest one. In addition, most physical contact would occur while you were in possession of the ball so passing it was the only legal option. The final addition was to put the goal for the ball above players heads, so scoring a point wouldn’t require physical contact but throwing a high arching lob.
Two peach baskets were used for this purpose, and the game was called “Basket Ball.” In the report he filed, Dr. James Naismith wrote:
When Mr. Stubbins
brot[sic] up the peach baskets to the gym I secured them on the inside of the railing of the gallery. This was about 10 feet from the floor, one at each end of the gymnasium. I then put the 13 rules on the bulletin board just behind the instructor’s platform, secured a soccer ball and awaited the arrival of the class … The class did not show much enthusiasm but followed my lead … I then explained what they had to do to make goals, tossed the ball up between the two center men & tried to keep them somewhat near the rules. Most of the fouls were called for running with the ball, though tackling the man with the ball was not
A 127 years ago, basketball was invented. It was a much different sport at the time, running and dribbling with the ball was illegal. Teams had nine players and it took them a few games to cut out the bottom of the basket and make life easier. Climbing a ladder everytime someone scores can be a hassle. As you can see in the report, the game started with 13 rules:
- The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.
- The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands.
- A player cannot run with the ball. The player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it, allowance to be made for a man who catches the ball when running at a good speed if he tries to stop.
- The ball must be held in or between the hands; the arms or body must not be used for holding it.
- No shouldering, holding, striking, pushing, or tripping in any way of an opponent. The first infringement of this rule by any person shall count as a foul; the second shall disqualify him until the next basket is made or, if there was evident intent to injure the person, for the whole of the game. No substitution shall be allowed.
- A foul is striking at the ball with the fist, violation of rules three and four and such described in rule five.
- If either side makes three consecutive fouls, it shall count a goal for the opponents (consecutive means without the opponents in the mean time making a foul).
- A goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from the grounds into the basket and stays there (without falling), providing those defending the goal do not touch or disturb the goal. If the ball rests on the edges, and the opponent moves the basket, it shall count as a goal.
- When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall be thrown into the field of play and played by the first person touching it. In case of dispute the umpire shall throw it straight into the field. The thrower-in is allowed five seconds. If he holds it longer, it shall go to the opponent. If any side persists in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on that side.
- The umpire shall be the judge of the men and shall note the fouls and notify the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made. He shall have power to disqualify people according to Rule 5.
- The referee shall be judge of the ball and shall decide when the ball is in play, in bounds, to which side it belongs, and shall keep the time. He shall decide when a goal has been made and keep account of the baskets, with any other duties that are usually performed by a scorekeeper.
- The time shall be two fifteen-minute halves, with five minutes rest between.
- The side making the most points in that time is declared the winner.
David G. Booth purchased the manuscript at a Sotheby’s auction for a record $4,338,500. and it is considered to be one of the most expensive manuscripts in the world. It is on display at the University of Kansas.
Alongside inventing one of the most popular sports in the world, he was a Presbyterian minister, a World War I. veteran and a Freemason. Dr. James Naismith passed away on November 28, 1939, at the age of 78 in Kansas.