Culture and Recreation


Who invented basketball?

The ball-and-hoop game was invented by Canadian American James Naismith (1861–1939) in December 1891. An instructor at the YMCA College, in Springfield, Massachusetts, Naismith was asked by the head of the physical education department to come up with a game to keep students active indoors during the winter months. It had to fit inside the confines of a gym, have no physical contact, use a soft ball, and give everyone who participated a chance to handle the ball. Naismith nailed two peach baskets, which he found in the storeroom, to balcony railings at each end of the school’s gym, found a soccer ball, divided his class of 18 men into two teams, and introduced them—and as it would turn out, the rest of the world—to the game, which was later dubbed basket ball (two words). Improvements to the game came over the next two decades as it spread in popularity. In 1910 the important change of allowing ball handlers to move by dribbling was made. In 1916 the rules were changed to allow dribblers to shoot the ball.


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