The game of basketball as it is known today was created by Dr. James Naismith in December 1891 in Springfield, here’s history of basketball.

History of Basketball : Invention, origin, timeline

The history of basketball began with its invention in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts by Canadian physical education instructor James Naismith as a less injury-prone sport than football.

Naismith was a 31-year old graduate student when he created the indoor sport to keep athletes indoors during the winters.

Contact Limited
Team members 5 per side
Mixed-sex Yes, separate competitions
Type Indoor/Outdoor
Equipment Basketball
Venue Indoor court (mainly) or outdoor court (Streetball)
Glossary Glossary of basketball

The game became established fairly quickly and grew very popular as the 20th century progressed, first in America and then in other parts of the world.

After basketball became established in American colleges, the professional game followed.

The American National Basketball Association (NBA), established in 1946, grew to a multibillion-dollar enterprise by the end of the century, and basketball became an integral part of American culture.

Naismith was a physical education instructor at YMCA International Training School (now known as Springfield College) in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Upon the request of his boss, Naismith was tasked to create an indoor sports game to help athletes keep in shape in cold weather.

He published 13 rules for the new game. He divided his class of eighteen into two teams of nine players each and set about to teach them the basics of his new game.


Dr. James Naismith was a Canadian physical education instructor who invented the game of basketball in 1891 while working at the YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts.

History of Basketball : Invention, origin, timeline

Dr. Naismith had been challenged to create a new game that could be played indoors in the cold Massachusetts winters to provide an “athletic distraction” to a disruptive group of students.

With a two-week deadline, Dr. Naismith decided to invent a game of skill, finesse, and accuracy, rather than one that relied on pure strength.

He was inspired by a game he had played as a child called “duck on a rock,” in which players lob a small rock at a “duck” placed on top of a large rock in an attempt to knock the “duck” off.

Using a soccer ball, two peach baskets placed 10 feet up in the air, nine players on each team, and a set of 13 basic rules, Dr. Naismith invented the game of “basket ball.” The first game was played on December 21, 1891.

Initially, players could only advance the ball by passing it. Bouncing the ball along the floor — what we call “dribbling” today — did not become part of the game until later.


Invented in 1891 by Canadian-American gym teacher James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts, United States, basketball has evolved to become one of the world’s most popular and widely viewed sports.

History of Basketball : Invention,  origin, timeline

Country or region Worldwide
Olympic Yes, demonstrated in the 1904 and 1924 Summer Olympics
Part of the Summer Olympic program since 1936
Paralympic Yes

Basketball was originally played with a soccer ball. These round balls from “association football” were made, at the time, with a set of laces to close off the hole needed for inserting the inflatable bladder after the other sewn-together segments of the ball’s cover had been flipped outside-in.

These laces could cause bounce passes and dribbling to be unpredictable. Eventually a lace-free ball construction method was invented, and this change to the game was endorsed by Naismith.

The first balls made specifically for basketball were brown, and it was only in the late 1950s that Tony Hinkle, searching for a ball that would be more visible to players and spectators alike, introduced the orange ball that is now in common use. 

History of basketball timeline

  • James Naismith – November 6 1891
  • The first public game was played – March 11 1892
  • first women game was played – March 22 1893
  • field goal and free throw points changed – 1895
  • first proffesional game 1896
  • college for basketball 1901
  • there became a national title 1904

History of Basketball : Invention,  origin, timeline

  • African Americans called gov. to build gov. body before to late 19051910
  • double dribble was invented – 1908
  • fouls not disqualified from game – 1909
  • double dribble was banned – 1910
  • Throw-in – 1913
  • All rules changed – 1914
  • The spelling of the name Basketball was changed – 1921 

By Rishabh

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