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People - Notable Kansans - Naismith, James, 1861-1939

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James Naismith

James Naismith
Date: Between 1920 and 1930
James Naismith invented the game of basketball. In 1891, while working as a physical education teacher at the YMCA International Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, Naismith was asked to develop a game that would not take up much room, was not too rough, and at the same time, could be played indoors. Inspired by a game he played as a child in Canada called "Duck on a Rock," his game was first played on December 15, 1891, with thirteen rules (modified versions of twelve of those are still used today), a peach basket nailed to either end of the school's gymnasium, and two teams of nine players. On January 15, 1892, Naismith published the rules for basketball. The original rules did not include what is known today as the dribble, and only allowed the ball to be moved up or down the court via passes between players. Naismith moved to Lawrence, Kansas, in 1898, following his studies in Denver, to serve as a professor, and the school's first basketball coach, at the University of Kansas. The University of Kansas went on to develop one of the nation's most storied college basketball programs.


James Naismith's medical license application

James Naismith's medical license application
Creator: Board of Healing Arts
Date: February 04, 1902
James Naismith's application for a medical license from the Kansas State Board of Medical Registration and Examination. Naismith is credited with inventing the game of basketball. In 1890 he entered the YMCA college in Springfield, Massachusetts, and it was there that James Naismith came up with the new game. From Springfield, Naismith went to Denver where he acquired a medical degree and in 1898 he joined the University of Kansas' faculty at Lawrence. He remained in Lawrence until his death in 1939. Along with the application, is a notice of Naismith's death.


James Naismith and Forrest Claire (Phog) Allen

James Naismith and Forrest Claire (Phog) Allen
Creator: D'Ambra, Duke
Date: 1932
Photograph of Dr. James Naismith and Forrest Claire (Phog) Allen holding a basketball at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.


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