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Who invented the game of basketball?

I watched basketball game in person today. It's been a long time, and just about as long as I have not played the sport. But I was challenged to shot the ball during halftime, so why not. And to be honest, I was pleasantly surprised at how close to accurate I was shooting the ball! So today's Doodle (yes even though we are in the last minutes of the day) is to find out who invented basketball?

Turns out basketball is one of the few games which can be pinpointed to when it was created, not just a version of something prior. James Naismith invented basketball in 1891. He was a graduate student at the time of what is now known as Springfield College. He was given the task of creating an indoor game “that would be interesting, easy to learn, and easy to play in the winter and by artificial light.” He needed to capture the attention of restless boys forced inside during bad weather.

Naismith took parts from several games...these included American rugby (passing), English rugby (the jump ball), lacrosse (use of a goal), soccer (the shape and size of the ball), and something called duck on a rock, a game Naismith had played with his childhood friends in Bennie’s Corners, Ontario. Duck on a rock used a ball and a goal that could not be rushed. The goal could not be slammed through, thus necessitating “a goal with a horizontal opening high enough so that the ball would have to be tossed into it, rather than being thrown.” (of course we can now dunk...)

That brings me to the next point. The original game of basketball started with13 rules... and two peach baskets! They were nailed to the balcony rail and a guy would remove the ball any time a basket was scored. It actually took a couple years for them to finally cut the bottoms out of the peach baskets.

The 13 original rules, which described, among other facets, the method of moving the ball and what constituted a foul. A referee was then appointed. The game would be divided into two, 15-minute halves with a five-minute resting period in between. Naismith’s secretary typed up the rules and tacked them on the bulletin board. A short time later, the gym class met, and the teams were chosen with three centers, three forwards, and three guards per side. Two of the centers met at mid-court, Naismith tossed the ball, and the game of “basket ball” was born.

The rules have been tinkered with, but by-and-large, the game of “basket ball” has not changed drastically since Naismith’s original list of “Thirteen Rules” was tacked up on a bulletin board at Springfield College.

The game caught on quickly. The game of basketball was introduced to many foreign nations in a relatively short period of time. High schools and colleges began to introduce the new game, and by 1905, basketball was officially recognized as a permanent winter sport. By 1936, the sport became an official event at the Summer Olympics (in Berlin that year). Naismith lived long enough to see these honors and also the beginnings of the National Invitation Tournament (1938) and the NCAA Tournament (1939).

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