And on the eighth day, God created basketball and gave it man and woman. “Play of it, and be joyful,” God said; and basketball was good.
No, that is not exactly how it happened but close. Basketball was invented one East Coast winter by Dr. James Naismith. The 115 years of growth and evolution of the sport all began with two peach baskets and some cabin fever.
The winter winds were a limit on the physical activity at the YMCA International Training College as a severe blizzards kept people inside for long stretches at a time in Springfield Massachusetts in 1891. 30-year-old, James Naismith was a physical education instructor, tasked with developing a game to help the restless students relieve their cabin fever and get some much-needed exercise. Naismith grabbed two peach baskets and a soccer ball, nailing the baskets high above the ground and gathered a group to participate in the world’s first ever basketball game.
A recording rare recording of a radio interview with James Naismith shared the details of basketball’s invention from its creator himself.
“I called the boys to the gym, I showed them two peach baskets I had nailed up at each end of the gym, and I told them the idea was to throw the ball into the opposing team’s peach basket,” he said. “I blew a whistle, and the first game of basketball began,” said Naismith.
Naturally, all hell broke loose…
“The boys began tackling, kicking and punching in the clinches,” Naismith said. “Before I could pull them apart, one boy was knocked out, several had black eyes, and one had a dislocated shoulder.”
Naismith was then prompted to make the original 13 rules. In 1936, Naismith would watch what started with two peach baskets be played in the Olympics. Roughly ten years later, the Toronto Huskies took on the New York Knickerbockers in the NBA’s first-ever game. Naismith could not possibly have imagined the global phenomenon that has grown out of those two peach baskets in 1891.