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James Naismith

Enshrined 1959
Almonte, Ontario, Canada
11/06/1861 - 11/28/1939


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.

Career Highlights

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