- historical event: Naismith was given the task to invent a new sport which will not require a lot of space and will not be too rough. He was suggested to name the sport “Naismith Ball”, after himself, but he refused out of modesty.
The inventor of basketball, Canadian James Naismith, died on this day. He developed basketball while teaching physical education at the YMCA Training School in Springfield in the United States. In this school there existed a problem of how to provide training for athletes during the winter months. Naismith was given the task to invent a new sport which will not require a lot of space and will not be too rough. He concluded that a big soft ball is the least dangerous, and that the rules should require that it constant travels – in already existing games, like football, the most dangerous physical contact occurred while running with the ball or hitting it.
Finally, Naismith concluded it would be best to place the goal above the player’s heads, making it almost impossible to defend, and reducing physical contact. The first basketball game was played in 1891, and the game then rapidly spread through the YMCA Association (Young Men’s Christian Association), for which Naismith worked. It was suggested to him to name the sport “Naismith Ball”, after himself, but he rejected it out of modesty. He later completed his medical studies and became a professor at the university. He died on this day in 1939 and lived to see his basketball become an Olympic sport.