Dr. James Naismith is known world-wide as the inventor of basketball. He was born in 1861 in Ramsay township, near Almonte, Ontario, Canada. The concept of basketball was born out of his early school days when he played a simple game known as duck-on-a-rock outside his schoolhouse. The game involved attempting to knock a “duck” off the top of a large rock by tossing another rock at it. This is the beginning of a brief history of basketball as we know it.
Naismith served as at the YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA in 1891, and this is where the sport of basketball was born. Naismith was faced with the challenge of finding a sport that was suitable for play inside during the winter for the students. Naismith wanted to create a game of skill that could be played indoors in a relatively small space. The very first game of basketball was played with a soccer ball and two peach baskets used as goals. The history of basketball started right here.
James Naismith devised a set rules for these early games as follows:
„« The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.
„« A player cannot run with the ball, but instead the player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it.
„« The ball must be held in or between the hands, not any other body parts.
„« No shouldering, holding, pushing, striking or tripping in any way of an opponent is permitted. The first infringement of this rule by any person shall count as a foul; the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is scored.
„« If either side make three consecutive fouls it shall count as a goal for the opponents (consecutive in these rules means without the opponents in the meantime making a foul of their own).
„« A goal is scored when the ball is thrown from the ground into the basket and stays there. If the ball rests on the edge of the basket and the opponents move the basket, it shall also count as a goal.
„« When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall be thrown into the field and played by the first person touching it.
„« The umpire shall be judge and have the power to disqualify or foul players as required.
„« The referee shall be the judge of the ball and decide when it is in play in bounds, to which side it belongs, and shall keep the time.
„« The time shall be two 15-minute halves with five minutes’ rest between.
„« The side scoring the most goals in that time shall be declared the winners.
Today basketball has grown to become one of the world’s most popular sports, all thanks to Dr Naismith.