The Inventor of Basketball
25 Interesting Facts About James Naismith

inventor of basketball

Dr. James Naismith, 1933

The inventor of basketball led a very interesting life. Check out 25 fun facts about James Naismith that I bet you didn't know!


Born in Canada on November 6, 1861


His mother died on his 9th birthday. His father died 3 weeks before


Played the violin


Dropped out of school at age 15


Worked as a lumberjack for several years before going back to school at age 20


Completed high school in 2 years


Presbyterian minister but never had a church


Good rugby and football player


Graduated college Top 10 of his class with degrees in Philosophy & Hebrew


Eventually earned 11 degrees

man who invented basketball
James Naismith glossy photo at Amazon


One of his students, Amos Alonzo Stagg, went on to become one of the greatest football coaches in history


Man who invented basketball is also credited with inventing the first football helmet


Present when first football game and basketball game were played indoors


Only played basketball twice in his life. Once a few weeks after he invented it and then a second time 7 years later at the University of Kansas


James Naismith had 5 children


Doctor of medicine but never really practiced


Inventor of basketball never understood why the simple game he created, with only 13 rules, should require much coaching


His wife, Maude, played in the first women's basketball game at Springfield College


Served as Chapel Director/Athletic Director/Physical Education Department Head at the University of Kansas for a salary of $1,300 per year


His basketball players had to use a ladder to get up and down from the Univ of Kansas basketball court after he had to lower the gym 5 feet into the basement to make the ceiling high enough to play


Cared little about making money and lost 2 houses to foreclosure for not making payments


Became a naturalized American citizen in 1925


Served in the National Guard on the South Texas border


Tossed up the ball for the opening tip-off at the very first Olympic basketball competition at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin


James Naismith died of a stroke at his home on November 28, 1939

Inventor of Basketball
Related Articles

Brief History of Basketball in America - Read more about James Naismith and the history of the game.

The Rules of Basketball. Boy How They've Changed! - There have been a lot of changes in the game since the inventor of basketball published his 13 original rules. See the major rule changes that have had the greatest impact on the way the game is played today.

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