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When Was Basketball Invented [Where, Why & Who Created] History

Last Updated April 22, 2024 Last Updated February 28, 2024 by Brian Aquino

Basketball was invented in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith. The first basketball game was played at the International Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Training School (now Springfield College), Springfield, Massachusetts, on December 21, 1891.

When Was Basketball Invented

When Was Basketball Invented – Historical Background

Dr. James Naismith was a Canadian physical education instructor working at the International Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1891, Naismith was given the task (by Dr. Luther Gulick: College’s physical education superintendent) of creating an indoor activity that would keep young athletes active and fit in the cold months of winter. Dr. Naismith hung a peach basket on the lower rail of the ceiling rafter and players threw a ball into the basket to score points. So, the game was created and the original name of the sport was “Basket Ball”.when was basketball created

The first official basketball game was held on December 21, 1891 at the YMCA Training School in Springfield. The final score was 1-0 and it took place in a gymnasium with nine players on each team, following Naismith’s original rules of basketball. Now the game is being played on indoor and outdoor courts by every age and gender athletes.

Here is the audio interview of basketball creator “Dr. James Naismith” held in 1939.


Why Was Basketball Invented

The reason to create a basketball game was to keep the athletes active during winter. Naismith purposely designed a game that required so much movement it would be considered a form of exercise.

According to Naismith, “Basketball is a game that requires good sportsmanship; anyone can ref an entire game and make snap decisions about who did what to whom and when. Referees have a job that can be learned by anyone willing to learn the rules, but it takes years of experience to know when not to call a foul” (Zogry).


What Year Was Basketball Invented

Basketball was invented in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith. The official game was first played on December 21st at the International Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts.


Where Was Basketball Invented

Basketball was invented in Springfield, Massachusetts at the International Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Training School (now Springfield College), which is located in Springfield, Massachusetts.



Original 13 Rules of Basketball by Dr. James Naismith’s

The game was named “Basket Ball” originally with two words. Dr. James typed 13 rules of basketball and tacked them on a bulletin board. Later on, the rules were published in the Springfield College school newspaper “The Triangle” on January 15, 1892.

original rules of basketball ball by Dr. James Naismith

ESPN published an article in 2009 entitled “Naismith’s Original 13 Rules of Basketball”.


Dr. James Naismith’s Original 13 Rules of Basketball;

  1. The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.
  2. The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands (never with the fist).
  3. 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 a good speed if he tries to stop.
  4. The ball must be held in or between the hands; the arms or body must not be used for holding it.
  5. 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 player 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 substitute allowed.
  6. A foul is striking at the ball with the fist, violation of Rules 3,4, and such as described in Rule 5.
  7. If either side makes three consecutive fouls, it shall count a goal for the opponents (consecutive means without the opponents in the mean time making a foul).
  8. 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 edges, and the opponent moves the basket, it shall count as a goal.
  9. When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall be thrown into the field of play 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 that side.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. The time shall be two 15-minute halves, with five minutes’ rest between.
  13. The side making the most goals in that time shall be declared the winner. In case of a draw, the game may, by agreement of the captains, be continued until another goal is made.



Historical Growth of Basketball

As early as 1892, basketball was being played on college campuses across America. The first official collegiate game was between the University of Vermont and the University of Massachusetts. In 1895 the first professional basketball league was started in Pennsylvania and it went by the name “National Basketball League” (NBL).

James Naismith soon realized that his sport had grown and could be played by a number of people who were not necessarily members of a YMCA. He then created a 13-letter word, “Basket Ball”, to make sure the sport was known by all.first played basketball game

In 1899 the NBL became the National Basketball League (NBL) and two years later changed its name to the National Basketball Association in 1901.

Basketball was first included as an Olympic Sport at St. Louis 1904 Games where a YMCA team from Springfield participated. It wasn’t until 1936 when basketball was first played at the Berlin Olympics.

In 1946, the Basketball Association of America (BAA) and the National Basketball League merged to form today’s NBA, which is now made up of 30 teams in America and one each in Canada, Mexico City and Toronto. See which are the most popular NBA players shoes.

It wasn’t until the mid-1950 that black players were allowed to play in the NBA. African American players did not start having major impacts on the game of basketball until after 1964 when the U.S. government abolished rules put in place by America known as “the Caucasians only rule“.

Today, basketball is played by more than 450 million people around the world and it continues to grow as a popular sport worldwide

In 2008, Forbes Magazine ranked Michael Jordan as the highest paid athlete of all time due to his net worth of over $500 million. Jordan also signed with Nike Sports to create basketball shoes.

Now, Stephen Curry is the highest paid basketball player in 2024.

So that was when basketball started being played, where it was invented, who created it and how rapidly it grew globally.



Frequently Asked Questions: (FAQs)

What state was basketball invented in?

Basketball was invented in Massachusetts State in 1891.


Where did basketball originate?

Basketball originated in Springfield, Massachusetts, United State.


How many players on a basketball team?

There are 12 players in a basketball team but only 5 players play in the court – the rest are to replace players when needed.


Who first invented basketball?

Dr. James Naismith first invented the basketball game in December, 1891 during winter.


What was the date that basketball invented?

Basketball was invented in December, 1891. The first basketball game was played on the 21st of December, 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts.


Was basketball invented by a black man?

No, James Naismith was white and invented the game of basketball. There were no black players until after 1964 when the U.S. government abolished rules put in place by America known as “the Caucasians only rule”.