Who Invented Basketball?
In today's world, most of us have a habit of taking for granted the things we're born into. For instance, do you think kids today under 20-years-old actually realize what dial-up Internet was or what those bulky monitors and slow computers were? Do you think they even remember a time pre-Internet, where you didn't have HD TVs or cell phones to waste your time? Of course they don't; they can't even conceive of such a day, just like no one alive today can really fathom a world without the automobile. We take for granted the invention of these things and sort of assume that they just always were. The same goes for sports. While we might love watching the fast-paced action of basketball today, rarely do we stop to realize that this game was invented by a normal guy over a hundred years ago.
Dr. James Naismith, former head coach of Kansas, invented the game we know of today as basketball. It's hard to believe, but all the basketball action we play, watch and bet on today was all the gift of one visionary man. In fact, we have him to thank for the excitement of legal basketball betting and everything that goes with it. If not for him, there would be no basketball games, teams or players on which to wager.
The History of the Game in Brief
Dr. Naismith was once in charge of teaching a rowdy youth class at the Springfield YMCA. To get his kids through the harsh winters indoors, without them becoming too unruly, the head of the YMCA, Dr. Luther Gulick, tasked Naismith with inventing an indoor game that was fair for all players and that wouldn't cause too much commotion. Naismith, while surveying the other popular sports of the day, realized the dangers in running with the ball. So, as a remedy, he proposed a game where passing the ball was mandatory. He also feared the hardness of a baseball, so he conceived a game that used a larger, softer ball. Lastly, he feared the physical contact of sports like rugby, so he conceived of "13 basic rules" for this new game he called "basket ball," which was played with a peach basket nailed to the wall.
Amazingly, the game was an instant hit. And by 1892, a year after Naismith invented the game, it was already sweeping over college campuses. The YMCA took the game, now "basketball," international only a year later, and after joining the University of Kansas, Naismith took the game there and invented the Jayhawks - who are today still one of the best and most popular basketball teams.
In 1904, basketball had such a sweeping impact on the world that the Olympics adopted it as one of their international games. And while it took until 1949 for the NBA to come into existence, it didn't take long until the league cemented its spot as one of America's favorite sports. The game had changed tremendously since Dr. Naismith's initial incarnation, but it was a game that was loved by all, and could be played by practically anyone. Women's basketball started soon after men's basketball, so it was always an inclusive sport, unlike baseball or football.
Dr. Naismith died in 1939, but did live to see his sport played at the Olympics. It's hard to say what he may think of today's game, but he may certainly be proud to see that his remedy for rowdy children in winter has become such an internationally beloved sport.