A Canadian Invented One of America’s Top Sports: Basketball Origins

When you think of basketball, the initial thought would be that an American had invented it. The country is renowned for its abilities with the ball and how good they have become playing the sport, while the NBA is the biggest sports league in the world for the game, with people worldwide continuously watching it.

However, all is not as seems, as the game’s birthplace might be in the USA, it was actually invented by a Canadian. James Naismith is widely credited with the invention of one of the world’s most popular sports, as the 30-year-old created a game that allowed those in Springfield, Massachusetts, who were a part of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Training School to be played indoors during a snow blizzard that was experienced.

On December 21, 1891, the then-30-year-old would combine his knowledge of other sports to create a new one. He already knew about rugby and lacrosse, while he also had background knowledge of a children’s game that was widely played called “duck on a rock” – a game of tag and throwing.

Having picked up a soccer ball in the gymnasium, he got to work as a janitor had managed to get him two baskets. Naismith would then mount these to the gym’s balcony’s lower rail, which sat around 10 feet above the floor. He then told the boys he had with him that the aim was to score by shooting the ball into the basket, which still had its bottom in place.

Dr. James Naismith holding a basket and a ball
Photo Courtesy Wikimedia Commons in the public domain of Dr. James Naismith holding a basket and a ball, later to be known as the Father of Basketball.

Introduction of the Rules

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Aside from the main objective, Naismith had not introduced any rules until it became evident that they were needed. Boys started to get physical with each other during the game, as they would fight and kick each other. Although there was a lot of physicality and damage to the boy’s bodies, they wanted to keep playing after the first game, so the Canadian decided to implement some rules. These are known as his 13 rules. They were as follows…

1. The ball can go in any direction with either one or two hands being used

2. The ball can be battered in any direction with your hands (no closed fists)

3. No running with the ball is allowed. It must be thrown from the spot it is caught

4. The ball must only be held with hands, not other body parts

5. No contact is allowed, or it will be punished as a foul with repercussions

6. A foul would be made if the ball is struck by a fist

7. If three fouls are made by one team consecutively, then a goal will be awarded to the other

8. A goal is achieved when the ball is thrown into the basket and stays there

9. If the ball goes out of bounds, it is thrown by the player first touching it. The umpire can throw it back in if there is a dispute. Five seconds are allowed in which the ball must be thrown back into the game

10. The umpire is the judge and will notify the referee when three consecutive fouls are made by one team

11. The referee is the “man who judges the ball and decides each of the rules

12. The game will consist of two halves that last 15 minutes with 5 minutes rest in between

13. The team with the most goals is the winner. If the scores are tied at the end, then the game can be extended until another goal is scored.

How Has Basketball Transformed Throughout History?

Basketball has continued to transform from its humble beginnings of Naismith’s invention, and it has become one of the world’s biggest sports. It has become one that is followed all around the world, with many combining it with other activities.

Some have found it to be a sport that has become ideal to enjoy their wagering pastime with, as they can use NBA odds to place a wager and maximize the entertainment that they can receive from the games that are played.

The sport has also been transformed in terms of its rules, with newer ones having been created. Some have also taken on those that Naismith created, thus helping to keep it to its roots and build its legacy even further.

For instance, it is now possible to dribble with the ball instead of being required to stand where it is caught (which is what netball does), while the points system has also been brought in place as notable differences.

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