Google Doodle, 10 Interesting Facts about the Basketball Inventor, James Naismith!

  • AUTHOR: dua
  • POSTED ON: January 15, 2021

Today Google Doodle has
decided to celebrate the Canadian-American educator who invented the game of
basketball in 1891! For those of you who don’t know much about the famous
inventor, we’ve provided ten interesting facts below!

Before discovering the
man of the day, make sure you like our page on Facebook as we share information
about James Naismith and other legendary individuals of history along with interesting
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Shall we get on with
the ten interesting facts?

First, here’s everything you need to know about the basketball inventor!

Birth and Early Life of James Naismith

Let’s start with the
basics – he was born in Almonti, Ontario in Canada. He tragically lost both his
parents to typhoid fever when he was still a child. This is when he was made to
go live with his Uncle who lived in the United States. He lived on a farm and
helped his uncle with his work.

As a young kid, he
loved games that were physical and strategic. His favorite at the time was
called “duck on a rock” in which a small rock was to be placed on top of a big
rock. After this, the players had to knock the duck off the rock and throw the
small stone. As you can tell by the description, this game became the
inspiration behind basketball.  

Early Career

Naismith got admission
into the McGill University in Montreal where he participated in several sports,
like Lacrosse, gymnastics, rugby, and football. Once he graduated from the
school with a degree in Physical Sports, he started working as a PE teacher at
the same school. Soon, he left to work for the YMCA in Massachusetts.

Related: Google Doodle celebrates Sir Arthur Lewis!

Invention of Basketball

In 1891, he was put in
charge of a class where the students were rowdy and bulked up. He was asked to
come up with a game as a sports coach that would not just keep them indoors but also help them
burn off some calories. At first, Naismith considered sports like baseball and
lacrosse but they were too rough and have little scope to be played inside.
This is when he came up with the game of basketball.

Of course, the idea was
still in the initial stage but all the main ingredients were already there. He
asked the basket to be positioned really high on the wall. Next, he told
players to throw the soccer ball into the basket to score points. He also kept
injuries in mind so he also instructed the players to not run with the ball.

Related: The issues faced by women in sports.

13 Rules

Soon, he wrote down 13
basic rules of the game. These rules included the clause that no player can run
with a ball, he also warned against shouldering, striking, pushing, tripping,
and holding, and he also clocked it at two fifteen-minute halves. The rules were
then placed on the bulletin board and the boys were asked to read them before
entering the class.

The First Game

In the first game,
there were two peach baskets and he had placed them 10 feet high at the two
corners of the gym room. Next, he explained the rules to the teams which the
boys didn’t understand at first. Due to misunderstanding, the game turned into
a huge brawl. This continued for several sessions but soon the boy got a grip
over it and learned that fouling and hurting others would lead to serious

Basketball Gained Popularity

It didn’t take long
until the game earned popularity amongst the boys. Other classes started
playing this game as well, and by 1893, the game got introduced to the entire

Head Coach

Naismith ended up
becoming the first-ever basketball coach at the University of Kansas. His
record is highly admirable at 55-60!

Later Life

Of course, as the world
knew, the game of basketball earned prestigious and popularity and so does the innovator. In fact, it
wouldn’t be wrong to claim that it became one of the most popular games in the
sports history. It became an official member of the Olympics in 1936. Naismith
handed out the medals to the winning teams and soon formed the National
Association of Intercollegiate Basketball.


Naismith died at the
age of 78 after suffering from a brain hemorrhage. His name will forever be
placed on the Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The legacy has continued as
every year since the 1959, players and coaches get honored with the Naismith

Additional Facts

In the beginning, some
people wanted to call the game the Naismith Ball – like every other inventor
gives his/her name to the invention – but Naismith had other plans. He knew
that the game should be called Basketball. Furthermore, you must know that he
also served as a chaplain in the First World War for the First Kansas Infantry.
Also, he doesn’t have a middle name but some people add James “A.” Naismith.

So, this was our list
of facts about The Basketball Inventor and Christian chaplain. What do you know
about Naismith? Are you a fan of the game, too? Do let us know in the comment
section below!


Updated January 15, 2021
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