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Naismith, James (nāˈsmĭth), 1861–1939, American athletic director, inventor (1891) of basketball, b. Almonte, Ontario. While an instructor of physical education at the International YMCA Training School (now Springfield College) at Springfield, Mass., he originated basketball as a gymnasium sport. The game was originally played with a soccer ball and two peach bushel baskets, from which the game took its name. Twelve of the thirteen rules Naismith created are still basic to the game. Naismith was later (1898–1937) director of physical education at the Univ. of Kansas.
See biography by B. L. Webb (1973).
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Naismith, James(1861–1939) physical education teacher, inventor of basketball; born in Almonte, Ontario, Canada. A graduate of McGill (Montreal), he was at the Young Men's Christian Association Training School (now Springfield College) in Springfield, Mass., when he was invited by Luther Gulick, head of the school's physical education department, to devise some form of indoor team sport for the winter, one that would not involve expensive equipment; he devised a game (based on 13 rules) that required throwing balls through hoops—half-bushel peach baskets were used at first, thus providing the name "basketball." The game spread quickly, eventually attaining international popularity; its Hall of Fame is located in Springfield, Mass. Naismith moved on to teach physical education at the University of Kansas (1898–1937).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.