Who Invented Basketball?

Basketball has a huge global fan base and it’s probably the most popular sport after soccer. It fills entire stadiums with hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts, it creates role models and it has even generated a profitable industry, because many online merchants sell NBA clothing on sites such as But did you ever stop to think about the story of the man who invented it and how a simple idea turned into a massive world phenomenon? In order to find the answer to the question “Who invented basketball?” you must take a look back to the basketball history, and learn more about James Naismith. He was born in 1861 and died in 1939 after living a life filled with accomplishments and achievements.

The person who invented basketball was a Canadian sports instructor and an innovator, and his name was James Naismith. He was born in Almonte, Ontario and he studied physical education in Montreal at McGill University where he served as Athletic Director. In 1891 the inventor moved to Springfield, Massachusetts to work at the YMCA Training School, which is now the Springfield College.

When he invented basketball, James Naismith was inspired by a kids’ game that he knew. The game was called duck-on-a-rock and it involved throwing a small rock at a duck that was placed on top of a big rock. The game was simple because all that players had to do was knock the duck off. Due to the cold weather and the harsh winters that existed in Massachusetts, the instructor thought at basketball as an indoors game. That way he found a solution for people who wanted to practice sports, but didn’t have the proper conditions to do so.

The sports coach was helped by the American phys-ed Luther Halsey Gulick to develop the rules of the indoor sport of basketball. He wrote the original basketball rulebook which included thirteen official rules, and he founded many basketball programs. For the first game that was played the two teams used a soccer ball and two baskets which weren’t opened as the ones that we know today. The innovator understood that the game would be more interesting if he would change the baskets for open hoop nets, and that is what he did.

The first basketball game was played in 1896, on January 18, when the University of Iowa wanted to try an experimental game, so they invited student athletes from the University of Chicago. The score was Chicago 15 and Iowa 12, so it was different from the scores of today which involve hundred of points.

The man who invented basketball lived to see his creation adopted as an Olympic demonstration sport in 1904. Later, he was proud to see that basketball was adopted as an official event at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, and he got the chance to see the National Invitation Tournament in 1938 and the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship in 1939.

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