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Basketball Christmas Ornaments

The Invention of Basketball

James Naismith was born and educated in Canada, before taking a job as a physical education teacher at the YMCA International Training School (now Springfield College) in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1891 his boss gave him two weeks to come up with an indoor game to keep the school’s track athletes in shape during the winter. He further specified that the game should be:
  1. Not too rough
  2. Not take up too much space
  3. Be fair to all players
Naismith gave a lot of thought about how to minimize contact in the game. After thinking about other popular games at the time, he came up with three ways to accomplish this. First, the baskets were elevated to reduce contact around them. Secondly, he used a soccer ball, since it was softer than balls used in other sports. Third, he decided that the ball could only be advanced by passing (Dribbling was not allowed initially). He came up with this idea after the initial trial of the game did not go so well. There was a big fight and one player suffered a separated shoulder and another was knocked unconscious. After that change the game seemed to go pretty well.

Originally, Naismith laid out thirteen rules for the game. Many others were later added and a few of the original ones were changed. Under the original rules, there was a jump ball after each basket was scored. Dribbling was added to the game in 1901, but was limited to a single bounce. In 1909 the rules were changed again to allow continuous dribbling. The jump ball after a score was not eliminated until 1938. The first game was played with nine players on each side. Five players on each side became the standard by 1900.