The Creation of a Worldwide Sport: In Memory of James Naismith


Conar Abrahamson-Davis, Staff Writer

basketball like many other sports has changed significantly over the 19 decades it has been around. The game was created in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts, by James Naismith, a Physical Education teacher at Springfield College. It was a useful alternative to outdoor sports in the winter.

The game consisted of a soccer ball that would be thrown into a peach basket nailed to
the gym balcony. After the game was presented to the public, Naismith decided to call it basketball.
The sport spread throughout Europe and South America due to the influence of the YMCA,
which adopted the sport. During World War I, the game waas played by army recruits since many
Physical Education teachers familiar with the game were drafted. Since then, professional games
have occurred around the world.

The first league, known as the National Basketball League, was created in 1898 and had six
teams. When the league disbanded in 1904, smaller championships continued. The most wellknown
team was the Original Celtics, who often travelled from town to town, competing against
rivals in local school gyms, with tickets costing $1. Known as the “Fathers of Basketball,” the
Original Celtics participated in the first World Professional Basketball Tournament and won. The
team joined the American Basketball League (ABL), but were forced to disband after their second

When Basketball arrived in Europe, it quickly became a popular sport, leading to the first international game in 1909 in Saint Petersburg. During World War II, France, Italy, and the U.S. competed against one another in the Inter-Allied Games, and the U.S. emerged as champions. Due to the rising popularity of basketball, the International Basketball Federation was created. This
allowed for the sport’s introduction into the Olympics in 1936 with the Berlin Olympic Games.
During the 20th century, many new Leagues and Championships were founded. A prime
example was the creation of the modern National Basketball Association (NBA).
Since its beginning, the game has pushed players to their limits, creating
amazing teams that have been honored in our Halls of Fame. Basketball
has become a huge public event that entices millions of people.
Today, everyone from PE students to adults plays basketball,
and it’s all thanks to James Naismith.