Download App

Today (1891): Naismith's First “Basket Ball” Game is Played

JoeSportsFanSenior Analyst IDecember 22, 2016

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.)

Subscribe (for free!!) to our weekly sports podcast, deemed "incredible" by two out of three of our moms.

©, 2009. | Permalink | Tweet This

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices