You probably never thought about it but basketball started up in the US and it’s very exististence is credited to a one James Naismith. A few decades ago, James Naismith or NAY-smith invented basketball, which is one of the world’s most popular games. He lived through 1861 to 1939. He was a physical educator, physician, Christian chaplain, sports coach, and inventor of this amazing game. Today the highest paid NBA player, Warriors PG Stephen Curry earns a whooping $45,780,966. This is awesome right? And you know even basketballers are standardized icons in showbiz and entertainment,so now you can appreciate the man behind all this!
After his YMCA Physical Director training program at Springfield University, Naismith became a full-time faculty member in 1891 where he struggled with a rowdy class that was confined to indoor games throughout the harsh New England winter, thus was perpetually short-tempered. Under orders from Dr. Luther Gulick, head of physical education there, Naismith was given 14 days to create an indoor game that would provide an “athletic distraction”; Gulick demanded that it would not take up much room, could help its track athletes to keep in shape and explicitly emphasized to “make it fair for all players and not too rough”.
In his attempt to think up a new game, Naismith was guided by three main thoughts. Firstly, he analyzed the most popular games of those times (rugby, lacrosse, soccer, football, hockey, and baseball); Naismith noticed the hazards of a ball and concluded that the big, soft soccer ball was safest. Secondly, he saw that most physical contacts occurred while running with the ball, dribbling, or hitting it, so he decided that passing was the only legal option. Finally, Naismith further reduced body contact by making the goal unguardable by placing it high above the player’s heads with the plane of the goal’s opening parallel to the floor. This placement forced the players to score goals by throwing a soft, lobbing shot like that which had proven effective in his old favorite game duck on a rock. For this purpose, Naismith asked a janitor to find a pair of boxes, but the janitor brought him peach baskets instead. Naismith christened this new game “Basket Ball” and put his thoughts together in 13 basic rules.
In a radio interview in January 1939, Naismith gave more details of the first game and the initial rules that were used:
I showed them two peach baskets I’d nailed up at each end of the gym, and I told them the idea was to throw the ball into the opposing team’s peach basket. I blew a whistle, and the first game of basketball began. … The boys began tackling, kicking, and punching in the clinches. They ended up in a free-for-all in the middle of the gym floor. [The injury toll: several black eyes, one separated shoulder, and one player knocked unconscious.] “It certainly was murder.” [Naismith changed some of the rules as part of his quest to develop a clean sport.] The most important one was that there should be no running with the ball. That stopped tackling and slugging. We tried out the game with those [new] rules (fouls), and we didn’t have one casualty.
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