Basketball Hall of Fame
James Naismith enshrined as a contributor in 1959

James Naismith

Enshrined 1959
Born: November 6, 1861
Almonte, Ontario, Canada
Died: November 28, 1939

In the winter of 1891, when a thirty-year old physical education instructor from the local YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts named James Naismith invented an indoor game that could be played between football and baseball seasons, basketball was born. Naismith wrote and developed basketball's original thirteen rules and, through the YMCA network, quickly spread the news throughout the country. As basketball's popularity grew, Naismith neither sought publicity nor engaged in self-promotion. He was first and foremost an educator. He embraced recreational sport but shied away from the glory of competitive athletics. Although he never had the opportunity to see basketball become the astonishing success it is today, Naismith's biggest thrill came when he was sponsored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) to witness basketball become an Olympic sport at the 1936 Games held in Berlin. Today, basketball has grown into a sport that more than 300 million people play worldwide.

  • Physical education instructor, Springfield College, 1890-95
  • Invented the game of "basket ball," as basketball was originally called
  • Developed basketball's original thirteen rules
  • Physical education professor, University of Kansas, 1917-37
Basketball Hall of Fame
Basketball Hall of Fame