James Naismith

1861 – 1939   Inventor of Basketball

Naismith was born in Ontario and studied physical education at McGill University. Moving to the United States, he accepted a position teaching athletics at the YMCA International Training School in Springfield, Mass. In 1891, he invented the game of basketball, using a soccer ball and two peach baskets hung from the gymnasium gallery. He also developed basketball’s original rulebook. Naismith was in addition an author, medical doctor and Presbyterian minister. He served for many years as the Honourary President of the International Basketball Association and presented the medals to winning teams (USA, Canada and Mexico) at the 1936 Olympic Games, the first to feature basketball. The Basketball Hall of Fame is named after him.

Roswell Lee Lodge, Springfield, Mass.


“The invention of basketball was not an accident. It was developed to meet a need. Those boys simply would not play ‘Drop the Handkerchief.’ “