James Naismith

James Naismith: The Inventor of Basketball

In 1891, while he was teaching at the YMCA training school in Springfield, Massachusetts, James Naismith received instructions from his boss. Naismith was given 14 days to come up with an indoor game that students could play during the harsh New England winters. So, he invented the game of basketball.

After spending a few days thinking about other popular sports (like soccer, hockey, and football) Naismith hung two peach baskets at opposite ends of the gymnasium floor. Then, he informed his students that the object of the game was to toss the ball into the other team’s peach basket. Naismith posted 13 rules on the bulletin board and used a soccer ball to play with. And the rest, as they say, is history.

The game of basketball has changed a lot since the day James Naismith invented it. But the whole history of the game can be traced back to one man’s attempt to solve a simple problem: how to help his students have fun exercising indoors. Naismith’s invention made the world a better place. And, if you keep your eyes open, you’ll probably find ways to make your world a better place, too.

James Naismith Stamp
Bright Ideas

Words of Wisdom from the World of Basketball

“Be strong in body, clean in mind, lofty in ideas.”
James Naismith

“I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
Michael Jordan

“You can’t be afraid to make mistakes. You have to be able to accept failure to get better.”
Lebron James

“Attitude is a choice. Whatever you think you can do — whether it’s positive or negative — is probably what’s going to happen.”
Pat Summitt

“Be the best version of yourself you can be. You don’t have to live anybody else’s story.”
Steph Curry

Nifty Fifty

About Massachusetts

It’s a Fact: The game of basketball was invented in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith, a physical education instructor.

It’s a Fact: Harvard, America’s first college, was founded in 1636 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

It’s a Fact: The abbreviation for Massachusetts is MA.

It’s a Fact: Four American presidents were born in Massachusetts: John Adams (President #2), John Quincy Adams (the son of John Adams), John F. Kennedy (President #35), and George H. W. Bush (President #41).

It’s a Fact: The capital of Massachusetts is Boston. Boston is also the largest city in the state.

More Fun Facts
Fun Fact: The capital of Germany is Berlin.

Fun Fact: Franklin D. Roosevelt was the only American president to be elected 4 times.

Fun Fact: The longest international border in the world is between America and Canada. It’s over 5,500 miles long. By the way, over 1,500 miles of that border are between Canada and Alaska.

Fun Fact: The biggest bird in the world is the ostrich. A large male ostrich grow to be over nine feet tall and weigh over 340 pounds!

Fun Fact: The Earth has seven big areas of land called continents. The seven continents are: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica.

Fun Fact: Europa, which is one of many moons that orbit the planet Jupiter, is covered in an icy ocean over 60 miles thick. Although Europa is much smaller than Earth, it has about twice as much water as all Earth’s oceans combined.

Questions and Answers
Just for fun,
see if you can answer these questions.
When he invented basketball, was James Naismith trying to invent a game for summertime or wintertime?
Wintertime. He wanted a game that his students could play inside when it was too cold to play outside.
Is the capital of Massachusetts Boston or Springfield?
The capital of Massachusetts is Boston. Springfield is the town where James Naismith invented basketball.
Which bird is bigger: an ostrich or an eagle?
An ostrich is much bigger. A large eagle weighs about 15 pounds while a fully-grown ostrich can weigh over 300 pounds!
The Earth has seven major land masses. Are they called countries, continents, or hemispheres?
The Earth’s seven major land masses are called continents. They are: Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica.
Write Your Own Story

If you have time, you can write a story of your own.

Here are some story ideas to help you get started.

Story Idea #1: You can write about the life of James Naismith and the impact that basketball has had upon the world.


Story Idea #2: If you could invent a new sport, what it be? Describe that sport.

To help you write a great essay, we have some timely tips and helpful hints.

Today's Ryder Riddle
Here's a riddle for you:
Why did Cinderella get kicked off the basketball team?
Because she ran away from the ball.
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