TOPEKA, Kan. – The inventor of basketball, Dr. James Naismith, who was also the University of Kansas first men’s basketball coach, will be one of five Laureates inducted into the Kansas Hall of Fame on Friday, June 21, 2013, at the Great Overland Station in Topeka, it was announced Thursday by the Great Overland Station.
Naismith will be joined by Clark Kent/Superman, KANSAS, the band, Drs. C.F., Karl and Will Menninger and the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry. CBS newsman, Kansan, University of Kansas graduate, and Washburn law school graduate Bill Kurtis will serve as master of ceremonies at the event.
Dr. James Naismith November 6, 1861 – November 28, 1939
“From a peach basket in 1891 to the Olympics in 1936″
Known world-wide as the “Father of Basketball,” Canadian-born James Naismith spent more than four decades at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, founding one of the most storied programs in college athletics.
As a physical education teacher at the Y.M.C.A. International Training School in Springfield, Mass., Naismith was given two weeks to create an indoor game to occupy a rowdy class of young men during the brutal New England winter. After tacking two peach baskets to the walls, Naismith gave the men a soccer ball to throw into them – and basketball was born. His first game was played December 15, 1891. A month later, his “Rules of Basketball” were published, many of which continue to govern the game today.
After receiving his medical degree at the University of Colorado in 1898, Naismith came to KU as Associate Professor of Physical Culture and Chapel Director. He was not only an athlete, but a minister, teacher, physician, sportsman, spiritual leader and military chaplain. This broad background led Dr. Naismith to promote the idea that physical exercise was necessary for a healthy life. He instituted basketball as a winter sport for both boys and girls and oversaw the early development of the game while coaching the first KU basketball teams. He was a good teacher: one of his players, Forrest C. “Phog” Allen is recognized as the “Father of Basketball Coaching.”
The game of basketball became an Olympic sport at the 1936 games in Berlin. James Naismith attended and tossed up the first ball, a fitting honor for the game’s creator.