Graphic His­tory

The in­ven­tion of bas­ket­ball ..............................

History Revealed - - CONTENTS -

When Mas­sachusetts PE teacher James Nai­smith was given two weeks to in­vent a new in­door game, his head­mas­ter could never have imag­ined that it would be­come one of the most pop­u­lar – and lu­cra­tive – sports in the USA. The chal­lenge was to pro­vide an “ath­letic dis­trac­tion” to a class of par­tic­u­larly rowdy school­boys dur­ing the cold win­ter months. It had to be playable in small spa­ces and “not too rough” – this bois­ter­ous bunch had a habit of be­ing some­what overzeal­ous with a ball, and the head­mas­ter was tired of hav­ing to deal with the re­sult­ing in­juries.

Nai­smith de­cided that a big, soft ball would be the safest op­tion. He also knew that he’d have to min­imise the op­por­tu­nity for con­tact be­tween play­ers, so de­cided that the ball could only be passed – tack­ling or run­ning with the ball was strictly for­bid­den (it wasn’t un­til many years later that ‘drib­bling’ was in­tro­duced). Fruit bas­kets were nailed up at each end of the gym to act as goals, and ev­ery time a point was scored, the game had to be halted while the jan­i­tor climbed up and re­trieved the ball. It wasn’t per­fect, but the boys loved it. And there wasn’t a sin­gle ca­su­alty.

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