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James Naismith Father of Basketball

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1 James Naismith Father of Basketball
Angela Lumpkin University of Kansas

2 His Early Years He was born on November 6, 1861, in
Almonte, Ontario, Canada, the son of Scottish immigrants (John and Margaret [Young] Naismith). He attended a one-room schoolhouse in Bennie’s Corners near Almonte, where he developed strength and skill in physical activities. He became an orphan at age nine (along with older sister Annie and younger brother Robert) when his parents died from typhoid fever. He was then raised by his unmarried uncle, Peter Young, and learned lessons from him in honesty, initiative, reliability, and self-reliance.

3 His Education He graduated from Almonte High School in 1883, but only after dropping out and working for four years. He earned his B.A. in physical education from McGill University in Montreal in 1887. He graduated from Presbyterian College of Theology in 1890 (while teaching physical education at McGill). He attended the YWCA Training School in , serving on the faculty from (It was there in 1891 he invented basketball). He earned his medical degree between while serving as Physical Director of the YMCA in Denver.

4 James Naismith, Student
McGill University—Literary Society; debater; cited for Honors in Hebrew and philosophy and was one of the top ten in his class when he graduated at age 25 Presbyterian College—he was associate editor of the Presbyterian College Journal; president of the Philosophical and Literary Society; active in the Missionary Society; each year, he was recognized as the second highest academically in his class YMCA Training School—he was so competent that he joined the faculty while completing the two-year program (committed to development of whole man) Gross Medical College—graduated at age 37½ while working full-time

5 James Naismith, Athlete
McGill University—gymnastics; rugby; lacrosse; he won the top medal as the all-around gymnastics champion in his junior and senior years Presbyterian College—rugby Played for the Shamrocks, a professional lacrosse team While a theology student, he began to consider how he might help men through athletics, rather than the ministry. YMCA Training School—played rugby and football Played basketball only twice—once at the YMCA Training School (1892) and once at KU (1898)

6 Need for a New Game Structured gymnastics work was not exciting or enjoyable. A new, interesting game was needed. There was no competitive game for the winter months (between football and baseball seasons). The first players, who were in a class for preparing YMCA secretaries, seemed to be interested in participating only in something playful, yet competitive. Naismith told Dr. Luther Gulick, who assigned him the class, “All that we have to do is to take the factors of our known games and recombine them, and we will have the game we are looking for.” (p. 33) He tried modifications of football, soccer, and lacrosse but without success.

7 Take the Best from the Rest
All team games used a ball; a bigger, lighter ball was easier to handle; could be easily caught and thrown; and no other equipment needed. To eliminate roughness, tackling, and physical contact, there could be no running with the ball, other than the steps needed to stop. To advance the ball, a player would have to throw or bat it with his hand, not fist, in any direction. Remembering the lobbed, arching shots from Duck on the Rock and to prevent men from defending a goal on the floor, the objective of the game should be to throw the ball at a elevated box above their heads. Starting the game by throwing the ball up between just two players would reduce roughness.

8 The Circumstances No basketball, so a soccer ball was used
No boxes available, but had two peach baskets No standard for the baskets, so the baskets were nailed to the balcony (which just happened to be 10’ high) There were 18 students in the class, so the first game was played with 3 forwards, 3 centers, and 3 backs on each team

9 December 15, 1891 “The game was success from the time that the first ball was tossed up. The players were interested and seemed to enjoy the game. Word soon got around that they were having fun in Naismith’s gym class, and only a few days after the first game we began to have a gallery.” (p. 57)

10 In the Beginning… A student who played in the first game suggested that the name of the new game should be “Naismith ball.” The inventor declined saying that name would kill the game. So the student suggested “basketball.” Females played basketball almost immediately (on an early team was Maude Sherman, the future Mrs. Naismith). The first rules (the original 13) were published in the YMCA’s school newspaper, the “Triangle,” in January of 1892 under the heading “A New Game.” This new game was spread by the YMCA as international students took the game home from their studies at the YMCA Training School. The rules were published in many languages.

11 Thirteen Original Rules*
The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands. The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands (never with the fist). A player cannot run with the ball. The player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it; allowance to be made for a man who catches the ball when running at good speed. The ball must be held in or between the hands; the arms or body must not be used for holding it. No shouldering, holding, pushing, tripping, or striking, in any way the person of an opponent shall be allowed; the first infringement of this rule by any person shall count as a foul, the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is made, or, if there was evident intent to injure the person for the whole of the game, no substitution allowed. A foul is striking at the ball with the fist, violations of Rules 3, 4 and such as described in Rule 5. If either side makes three consecutive fouls, it shall count as a goal for the opponents. (Consecutive means without the opponents in the meantime making a foul.) (*Naismith, 1941, pp )

12 A goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from the grounds into the basket and stays there, providing those defending the goal do not touch or disturb the goal. If the ball rests on the edge, and the opponent moves the basket, it shall count as a goal. When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall be thrown into the field and played by the person first touching it. In case of a dispute, the umpire shall throw it straight into the field. The thrower-in is allowed five seconds. If he holds it longer it shall go to the opponent. If any side persists in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on them. The umpire shall be judge of the men and shall note the fouls and notify the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made. He shall have power to disqualify men according to Rule 5. The referee shall be judge of the ball and shall decide when the ball is in play, in bounds, to which side it belongs, and shall keep the time. He shall decide when a goal has been made and keep account of the goals, with any other duties that are usually performed by a referee. The time shall be two fifteen minute halves, with five minutes rest between. The side making the most goals in that time shall be declared the winners. In case of a draw, the game may, by agreement of the captains, be continued until another goal is made.

13 Basketball Equipment 1895 — Five players to a side
The ball—first made in 1894 The goal evolved Peach baskets (used a ladder to retrieve the ball) Peach baskets with a hole drilled in bottom; used a pole to punch out the ball Cylindrical wire baskets with a chain to allow the ball to drop Black iron rim with heavy cord nets The backboards—to prevent interference from fans Screen to wood (1905) to plate glass (1909) The court—imaginary boundary lines to regulation dimensions

14 Attributes Developed by Basketball
Initiative Agility Accuracy Alertness Cooperation Skill Reflex judgment Speed Self-confidence Self-sacrifice Self-control Sportsmanship “When he meets an entirely new condition, he can not depend on the coach, but must face the emergency himself. I consider initiative one of the most valuable attributes, and the present tendency of the player to depend on the coach for the next more largely destroys the opportunity of acquiring this quality.” (p. 184)

15 Amos Alonzo Stagg, the famous University of Chicago football coach and friend from the YMCA Training School, recommended him for a position at KU. Stagg may have told Chancellor Strong that Naismith was an all-around athlete, medical doctor, and Presbyterian minister, who did not smoke, drink, or cuss. Note the “helmet” being worn by Naismith. He is credited with inventing the football helmet.

16 Career at KU He became the Director of Physical Education and Campus Chaplain in 1898. As Chaplain, he conducted one-hour required daily devotional exercises (later weekly and then voluntary). As Director of Physical Education, he taught the required hygiene course for freshmen, gymnastics classes, and a kinesiology course. He established intramural athletics for all students. He introduced fencing, rowing, track, and lacrosse, and got a golf course built on campus. At the age of 76 and after 39 years of service to KU, he retired in 1937.

17 James Naismith, Coach* 1898-1899 7-4
           5-7    7-8    5-8    5-6   12-7   Overall Established KU’s first team, which played initially on February 3, 1899 He told one of his players, Forrest “Phog” Allen, “You can’t coach basketball, Forrest, you play it.”* (Phog Allen coached KU’s basketball team for 39 years.) *KU Basketball Media Guide

18 James Naismith, Coach Most games were played against YMCA teams or athletic clubs, not colleges. The points scored were much lower; for example, in the first season, the team’s high game score was 31 points; twice the team scored only 5 points in a game. His teams had no adequate home court; they played in rented space off-campus or in Snow Hall with its 11’ ceiling, but mostly away games (often without him). The first real basketball court in Robinson Gymnasium was not ready for use until the season when Phog Allen coached the team.  

19 Coaching Legacies

20 James Naismith, Family Man
In 1894 he married Springfield, Massachusetts, native Maude Sherman. Mrs. Naismith suffered from deafness due to typhoid fever suffered before the birth of the second of their five children (Margaret; Helen; Jack; Maude Annie; James). Although he raised his family according to a strict religious code a behavior, he was playful with his children and a reluctant disciplinarian. He was accomplished in woodworking. He built and refurbished numerous pieces of furniture and helped construct a couple of the houses in which he and his family lived.

21 James Naismith, Educator
He was interested in using sports to develop men morally, spiritually, and physically, as Luther Gulick and the YMCA stressed. He used his ministerial preparation to teach moral lessons, his medical education to measure, heal, and care for their bodies, and his physical education expertise to teach them sports to strengthen their bodies and to emphasize sportsmanship. He zealously took anthropometric measurements of his students, in part to prove that basketball was not too strenuous. His book Basketball—Its Origin and Development was published posthumously in 1941.

22 James Naismith, Citizen-Soldier
In 1915, although 54 years old and a Canadian citizen, he volunteered to serve as chaplain with the Kansas National Guard. In 1916, he served with the First Regiment, Kansas Volunteer Infantry in General Pershing’s Punitive Expedition to quell the Border War with Mexico. His taught sports and sex education to keep soldiers out of trouble. Continuing his commitment to the goals of the YMCA, between he helped provide athletic activities to soldiers in France and while directing the Bureau of Hygiene taught sex education to soldiers. He stressed vigorous physical exercise, sexual morality, and social hygiene.

23 James Naismith, Public Servant
For years, he was a popular Sunday School teacher. He was a popular speaker with the Chautauqua program, on topics ranging from child development to the physical development of college athletes to the origin of basketball. As an ordained minister (from 1916), for years he filled Presbyterian pulpits in and around Lawrence. He was an active member of and honored by the Douglas County and Kansas Medical Societies. Throughout his career, he lectured on behalf of the YMCA and was honored by the YMCA and Springfield College (YMCA Training School) for his distinguished service.

24 Ambassador for Basketball
He threw up the ceremonial first ball for the inaugural game of basketball in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin and presented the first gold medal to the U.S.A. team. (His trip was sponsored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches through “Naismith nights” when one penny was collected for each ticket sold.) He was named Honorary Chairman and life member of the National Basketball Committee and Honorary President of the Basketball Coaches’ Association and International Federation of Basketball Leagues.

25 Received the Legum Doctorate degree from McGill University (1938)
Received Honorary Doctor of Divinity from Presbyterian College in Montreal (1939) Honors Canadian Sports Hall of Fame (1955) Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (the first inductee in 1959) Kansas Sports Hall of Fame (charter inductee in 1961) Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame (1986) Ontario Sports Legends Hall of Fame (1996) McGill University Sports Hall of Fame (inaugural inductee in 1996)

26 From his Citation in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame:
“As basketball's popularity grew, Naismith neither sought publicity nor engaged in self-promotion. He was first and foremost an educator. He embraced recreational sport but shied away from the glory of competitive athletics.”

27 Remembering James Naismith
From the eulogy that appeared in the Journal of Health and Physical Education, Naismith was described as "a physician who encouraged healthful living through participation through vigorous activities" and a builder of "character in the hearts of young men." He died in Lawrence on November 28 , 1939.

28 I will be a man Strong in body, Clear in mind Lofty in Ideals.*
*Written on the flyleaf of the New Testament he carried in France as a YMCA leader during WW I

29 References James Naismith. Available from Naismith, J. (1941) Basketball—Its origin and development. New York: Association Press. The original Dr. J. Available from Webb, B. L. (1973; 1994). The basketball man—James Naismith. Lawrence, KS: Kappelman’s Historic Collections.

30 100th Anniversary of James Naismith's Birth

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