December 15, 1891
On this day, James Naismith is credited as organizing the first “official” basketball game in 1891. He was Canadian and is also often credited with introducing the first football helmet – which means, of course, Canadians denounce him and Americans claim him as one of their own.
Naismith’s basketball featured nine versus nine players, a soccer ball instead of a basketball, and a pair of peach baskets as “baskets”. Above all else, without Naismith’s innovation, we would sorely miss the following banner moments from the game of basketball.
Impress your co-workers: Naismith’s original rules for basketball did not include standard “dribbling”. The ball was moved up the court via a pass. Following each “basket,” a jump ball was taken in the middle of the court. And perhaps the finest rule of them all; when balls traveled out of bounds, the first player to retrieve the ball received possession.
(Subscribe to our daily insights of sports yesteryear right here. Do it. You know you want to.)
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!