Google Doodle celebrates basketball inventor James Naismith

On Friday, 15 January 2020, Google Doodle celebrates James Naismith who is popularly referred to as the ‘inventor of basketball‘.

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The animated Doodle tells some of the real details about James Naismith and why he came up with basketball, or ‘basket ball’ as it was initially idealised. The Google Doodle shows three people in a room with heavy snowing outside.

James Naismith is the man in the corner and he was a Canadian-American physical educator, professor, doctor and coach. He and other teachers were cooped up with Springfield YMCA students during winter and he had to come up with the game as a sort of distraction that encouraged athleticism.

This was because the students had become restless and rowdy since they could not have outdoor sporting events.

Naismith had unveiled the 13 rules of basketball in 1892 in a Springfield College school newspaper. However, before that, there was a game of “Basket Ball’ in December 1891 and they followed the same basic rule. Also, the first Basket Ball match had nine players on each side and they used a soccer ball.

Before he went into teaching, James Naismith was a talented and versatile athlete that represented McGill University in football, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, and gymnastics.

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Basketball became popular very fast and while there were calls to name it after him, Naismith declined. The YMCA movement also made the game internationally popular.

In 1904, the Olympic Games adopted basketball as a demonstration sport and at the 1936 Games in Berlin. it became an official event.

James Naismith retired from the University of Kansas in 1937 where he had gotten a medical degree and served as the first Jayhawks basketball coach. He died in November 1939 of a brain haemorrhage.

Besides inventing basketball, he was also well-known for his strong feelings against segregation. He tried to get African-Americans onto Kansas’ varsity Jayhawks team but failed. But he assisted black students to get access to the university’s ‘all-white’ swimming pool.

His legacy lives on after his death. The National Collegiate Athletic Association rewards its best players and coaches annually with the Naismith Awards. Among them are; the Naismith College Player of the Year, the Naismith College Coach of the Year, and the Naismith Prep Player of the Year.

Google Doodle on Friday celebrates basketball inventor James Naismith
Kevin Durant won the Naismith College Player of the Year in 2007 as a Freshman

Additionally, The FIBA Basketball World Cup trophy is named the “James Naismith Trophy” in his honour. Basketball is now one of the most widely played sports in the world.

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About The Author


Obinna is a fiction writer from Lagos, Nigeria, and grew up loving comic book characters and superheroes. He watches lots of action films and writes entertainment and technology articles. He is also interested in science and how things work.

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