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That Game Called "Basket Ball" - Friday, May 20, 2016

First draft of Basket Ball rules, which hung in the gym so that the boys might learn the rules.  (Photo Courtesy of KU University Archives/Spencer Library)

Q: In the earliest version of basketball, there was no dribbling, dunking, three-pointers or shot clocks. The original rules of the game are now on display at the DeBruce Center at the University of Kansas. Those rules were typed up by the inventor of the game, Dr. James Naismith, who became KU’s first basketball coach. In what year did Naismith first publish his rules of the game?

A: 1892 
It was on January 15, 1892, that James A. Naismith published his rules for the game of "Basket Ball" – the game he invented. The original game was much different than the game we know today. For instance, there was no dribbling, dunking, three-pointers or shot clock. And goal tending was legal. Oh, and the original “bucket?” It was a peach basket.  Naismith came to KU in 1898. He was hired as campus chaplain and to teach physical education. Naismith wasn’t interested in self-promotion concerning his invention and actually preferred wrestling and gymnastics over basketball when it came to physical fitness. Before his death, Naismith saw his increasingly popular game played at the 1936 Olympics.  The DeBruce Center at the University of Kansas is now open, where you can see Naismith's original, 13 rules of "basket ball" on display!

Fun Factoid: In the history of the University of Kansas, the only men’s basketball coach with a losing record was Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of the game.


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