Google Doodle Honours Dr James Naismith, The Man Who Invented Basketball

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Google doodle on Friday honoured the rich legacy of Dr James Naismith, the inventor of basketball in 1891. In the animated doodle, Naismith can be seen standing with a cardboard inside a gymnasium as his wards play basketball with snow falling outside.   

Besides being a doctor and a coach, Naismith also was a Canadian-American physical education professor. It was on this day in 1891, Naismith wrote about the sport and laid down its original rules in the Springfield College newspaper. The sport, which initially started inside a gymnasium has expanded into a global phenomenon and caters to audiences in almost 200 countries. 

Naismith was born on November 6, 1861 in a small town based in Ontario, Canada. After completing his graduation in physical education from McGill University, Naismith took up a job as an instructor at the YMCA International Training College in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1890. 

How was Basketball invented?

Naismith struggled with a rowdy class at Springfield. Dr. Luther Gulick, the head of physical education department gave Naismith 14 days to create an indoor game which would distract the students and the sport which would be fair and not at all rough for the students.

Naismith took care of the following three things while inventing Basketball:

  • He analysed the famous sports like rugby, soccer, football etc. and noticed the harmful effect of the balls and therefore, concluded that bigger softer balls are the safest
  • He knew that most of the physical contact between the players was made while running, dribbling and hitting, so he made the sport more about passing the ball
  • Naismith further decided to keep the goal unguarded so that there would be less physical contact among the players. He forced the players to throw the ball with a soft lob to score goals.

The game which was introduced to the students of YMCA, Springfield back in December 21, 1891 initially had nine players a side. It also had elements from several outdoor sports such as American football, soccer, and field hockey.  

The sports since then gained immense popularity and was introduced in the Olympic roster in 1936 at Berlin, Germany. The historic moment was kicked-off by Naismith as he threw the ball for tip-off to commence the first match.    

Naismith believed the sport would help students enhance themselves both physically and mentally. Dedicating his life to the sport, Naismith worked on ways to help it reach more young masses. 

James Naismith’s statue in the Basketball Hall of Fame & Museum in Springfield, Massachusetts Source: Wikipedia, By randomduck –, CC BY-SA 2.0,

In the year 1959, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame was incorporated in Springfield, Massachusetts, and the institute still carries Naismith’s rich legacy to this day. 

Source: Independent, India Today, Wikipedia, Zee News

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