Ideas rule the world―they say so―and the world has witnessed the power of ideas in few magnificent examples. The start of many games and enterprises were born out of a mere curiosity or experiment. None would have imagined that such small ideas would one day rule the world. The story of the invention of basketball started as a small idea too, and today, it is one of the most popular games, not only in the US, but all around the globe. It is played in over 200 countries around the world.
The Invention of Basketball
The inventor of basketball was Dr. James Naismith (6th November 1861 - 28th November 1939 ), a Canadian, who, during most years of his career, worked as a physical and athletic trainer. Dr. Naismith officially introduced basketball in the US, in December 1891, after he posted a set of 13 rules for playing the game.
The idea behind the invention of basketball came to James Naismith when he was working for the Young Men's Christian Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. He was a person who never allowed laziness and physical inactivity to creep into the lives of his students. However, during the winters, when outdoor activities were difficult, he felt helpless to see his students just doing rigorous, and often monotonous gym routines. The idea of some indoor game that could be a holistic approach and mix of all games came to his mind. But what to invent? Hockey, football, baseball, etc., were all in existence, and he needed to devise some new game that could be a good exercise regime which demanded good stamina.
Dr. Naismith worked hard to modify games like football, hockey, etc., and invent something that he imagined would be played easily in the comfort of a large room or hall. Since he was unable to come up with any modifications in the existing games, he analyzed elements of indoor sports which he wished to include in his new game. After his analysis, Dr. Naismith found that he required a ball that can be easily picked up and thrown around. The dimensions of the ball could not be very big or too small. Since Naismith's mind was in search of some new game, he dropped the idea of traditionally carrying the ball in the hand and running to the target. He concluded that the players could not run with the ball, and needed to pass it instead. The target where the ball was to be put, was placed at some height, to test the skills and deftness of the player's hands and their strength.
For every successful shot, the team was awarded a point. Initially, it is said that they used peach baskets to let the balls pass through, instead of the currently-used rope baskets. An extremely modest human being, Dr. Naismith did not allow the game to be named 'Naismith Balls', and preferred the name 'Basketball'.
Slowly and steadily, the game grew, and its popularity spread in schools and colleges. Basketball became a sensation and a favorite sports among youngsters. It is today one of the most popular games in the world. Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant are names that everyone is now aware of, because of the glamor, passion, and success associated with this game. The world owes a lot to Dr. James Naismith, who gave us such a wonderful sport.