Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Today 113 years ago: Basketball invented

Doctor James Naismith, (November 6, 1861 - November 28, 1939) was the inventor of the sport of basketball and the first to introduce the use of a helmet in American football.

In 1891, while working as a physical education teacher at the YMCA International Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts he was asked to look for a way to relieve his students' boredom during indoor winter gym classes.

Inspired in part by a game he played as a child in Ontario called Duck-on-a-Rock, Naismith's basketball started December 15th 1891 with thirteen rules, a peach basket nailed to either end of the school's gymnasium, and two teams of nine players. On January 15, 1892 Naismith published the rules for basketball.

Basketball became popular in the United States very quickly, and spread to other countries as well. The sport was added to the Olympic programme at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin (although there had been a basketball competition in connection with the 1904 Games). There, Naismith handed out the gold medals to the American team, which beat Canada in the final.