The History of Basketball

The history of basketball and its evolution into the game we recognize today is fascinating. Dr. James Naismith, a teacher at the School for Christian Workers (YMCA), was the man who invented basketball in December 1891.

James Naismith

James Naismith

His first teaching assignment was to invent a game that his male students could play indoors during winter to fill the time between baseball and football seasons.

He remembered a game he used to play as a child that involved knocking a softball-sized rock off a fence from 20 feet away.

He combined aspects of this game with another game invented by a group of Canadian rugby players trying to break up the boredom of indoor track running.

They placed a wooden box in the middle of the gym floor and tossed a ball into it. However, the game ended when players surrounded the box, making it almost impossible to toss the ball in.

history of basketball

One of the first adjustments James Naismith made in his new version of the game was to nail a couple of wooden peach baskets onto the bottom of the elevated track at the school, which happened to be 10 feet off the ground.

At this height, no one could block the goal.

A janitor had to climb up a ladder to retrieve the ball after every made basket, which really made for a slow game.

What began as a simple game with few rules among a small group of people has evolved into a highly advanced, hugely popular sport around the world!

More interesting articles about the history of basketball:

Original 13 Rules of Basketball - See how far the game has come from the original rules of James Naismith.

Official Basketball Rules - Compare those original rules with the ones used today.

Major Rule Changes from Basketball's Birth to the Present - Some interesting basketball history can be found in this timeline of rule changes. It also highlights significant events and interesting facts from the past century.  


History of Basketball for Women - Though the inventor of basketball originally intended the sport to be played by males, the sport of women's hoops developed alongside the men's game in its own unique way with its own unique set of rules.

The history of the women's game is a fascinating one, yet much of it remains unknown to the majority of basketball fans.

History of the NBA - It wasn't long before a professional basketball league was born. The NBA has its own interesting evolution.

Cool and Unusual NBA Records - Check out some of the remarkable NBA records that have been established along the way.

>> History of Basketball