From Peach Basket to Fame

20 Feb

Basketball is a sports game that’s familiar to everyone worldwide. I don’t think there are many who do not know about basketball, or even a few rules of how the game is played.  But some do not know the history of the game.  Allow me to offer a quick refresher.

  • James Naismith, Canadian educator and a sports recreationalist, invented the game in 1891.
  • The game was created in Springfield, Massachusetts
  • It took Naismith and his team about 14 days to form the rules of the game.
  • That basketball was initially played using peach baskets as hoops.
  • That it was then played with 9 players on the court per team.
  • That the first ball use in basketball was actually a soccer ball.

Throughout the years, basketball has been polished and the rules were changed that only 5 players per team are now playing on the court. The peach baskets were also replaced by iron rims with nylon nets beneath. The point system was also refined. The soccer ball was replaced with an official basketball. Long range shooting or the three-point shot were also included in the game.

James Naismith was born on November 6, 1861 in Almonte, Ontario (Canada); he passed away on November 28, 1939 at the age of 78 in Lawrence, Kansas (United States).

He studied physical education in Montreal (Quebec) before moving to the United States, where he developed basketball while teaching at the International YMCA Training School (now Springfield College) in Springfield, Massachusetts.

First basketball team at the University of Kansas, 1899.  Coach James Naismith is on the far right.

First basketball team at the University of Kansas, 1899. Coach James Naismith is on the far right. Source Author: Clendening History of Medicine Library, University of Kansas Medical Center.

Naismith was also a National Guard chaplain with the First Kansas Infantry Regiment. He taught his soldiers basketball to control their excess energy. His effort helped increase morale and even lowered the rate of disciplinary actions among soldiers.

He lived to see basketball adopted as an Olympic demonstration sport in 1904 and as an official event at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, as well as the birth of both the National Invitation Tournament (1938) and the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship (1939).

Naismith’s contributions to basketball have earned him several posthumous honors, such as in the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame, the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, the Ontario Sports Legends Hall of Fame, the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame, the McGill University Sports Hall of Fame, the Kansas State Sports Hall of Fame, and the FIBA Hall of Fame. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, where he is a member of the original Hall of Fame class, was named in Naismith’s honour.





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12 responses to “From Peach Basket to Fame

  1. L. Marie

    February 23, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    I had to write an article on basketball, so I’m familiar with Jim Naismith. Great post!

    • tkmorin

      February 23, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      Thanks. It is an amazing story, though, eh? Glad you stopped by! 🙂

  2. avwalters

    February 23, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Basletball–a surprise Canadian slam dunk!

    • tkmorin

      February 23, 2015 at 5:27 pm

      Oh yeah! LOL. 🙂

  3. Gypsy Bev

    February 22, 2015 at 12:54 am

    Nice history lesson. The neighbor kids didn’t have a basketball so they rolled up a burlap sack and used it at their ball.

    • tkmorin

      February 22, 2015 at 9:36 am

      Nice, Bev! Which just shows you the if there’s a need or want, there’s a way! Thank you! 🙂

  4. hermitsdoor

    February 21, 2015 at 5:46 am

    Peach baskets in Massachusetts? I did not know that peaches grew there? Well, mabye that is why they had surplus peach baskets to hang on the walls.

    • tkmorin

      February 21, 2015 at 9:55 am

      LOL. That’s funny! 🙂

  5. IzaakMak

    February 20, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    So cool. I can’t help but wonder what he would think of how the sport has evolved.

    • tkmorin

      February 21, 2015 at 9:48 am

      I would certainly hope he’d be pleased. 🙂

  6. weggieboy

    February 20, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Once again, a Canadian was behind something typically thought of as an American invention! Fascinating!

    • tkmorin

      February 20, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      … but he moved to the U.S. before creating it … LOL Have a great day, Doug! 🙂


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