In today’s fast pace world, we marvel as superstars such as Micheal Jordan leaps into the air like a bird taking off for flight. We give “ooh”-s as Clyde Drexler majestically glides across the wooden court, and “aah” as Shaq does a powerful slam-dunk, which shatters the glass backboard into millions of pieces. Watching all of these fantastic spectacles, one question unconsciously runs through our minds: How did this game get “invented” and how did it get its name?
On a cold winter day in 1891, a man by the name of James Naismith (after being assigned by his professor, Dr. Luther Culick, to invent a new game that could be played indoors during the winter season) slowly walked down the halls of the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts, while conjuring up a new game. Shortly after arriving at the gymnasium, he asked the janitor for two boxes. At his request, Naismith received two peach baskets. He instructed the janitor to place the baskets at opposite ends and tie them to a lower rail of the running track (which happened to be approximately ten feet tall) (Ebert and Cheatum 1-3). As it was just an experiment, Naismith had little confidence in having success; however, as history had come to prove, basketball has come to be known as one of America’s most popular game.
“From the first toss of the ball, the game was a success, yet it was not until a short time after Christmas that the game was named. Frank Mahan, who had scored the single point awarded in that first historical game, be called ‘Naismith ball.’ Claiming that such a title would kill any sport, Naismith accepted Mahan’s second recommendation, ‘basketball,’ since the essential equipment included only baskets and a ball.” (3)
As history progressed itself, basketball became widely known for its excitement, athletic purposes, and most of all, the players that made the game what it is today (but that is another essay yet to be written). Now that the origination of basketball is “out in the open”, we can learn to appreciate more what is now known as one of America’s most popular sport. Not only that, with this valuable knowledge of the game, we can pass on this knowledge to our children and to our children’s children so that they too may know who had contributed to creating this game that they have grown to love so much.