The Springfield Republican reported on March 12th, 1892, that the first public game of basketball was played at a YMCA gymnasium. The professors competed with the pupils. Around 200 onlookers came to learn about this new sport that they had never heard of or seen before. The boys were judged by a panel of judges who went over certain rules and regulations before they would award the prizes. If anyone was injured during the game, it was stopped immediately and medical help was called for.
Basketball is an American sports invention. Dr. James Naismith invented it in 1891 while he was teaching physical education classes at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. He wanted to find a way to keep his students active and entertained between exercises, so he decided to come up with a new sport that could be played indoors on bare floors. His first prototype was a round ball made out of leather that someone had given him as a gift. It was about the size of a modern soccer ball. The original game was played with only men's rules, but women's rules were later added. In 1955, the term "nonslip" was added to the game, which means that a player cannot use their hands to stop themselves from falling during a jump shot or free throw.
The first basketball game of the season Naismith created rules for a new game on December 21, 1891, based on five fundamental principles and thirteen regulations. On that day, he challenged his kids to a 9-versus-9 game on the Armory Street court, using a soccer ball and two peach baskets. The rules were published in the newspaper the following week.
There are many stories about what happened at that first game. Some say it was close at halftime, but Louisville won by one point; others report that it was quite a battle all the way until the end, with both teams being almost even in points scored. But no matter how it went, there's no doubt that Louis Manning, who played for Louisville, invented the shot clock.
After the game, Mr. Naismith announced that he had just signed a contract to teach physical education at the University of Kansas, and that he wanted to play another game before the semester started. So the next morning the streets of Lawrence were filled with people waiting for the opening bell of the university gymnasium. When the doors opened, hundreds of students were standing in line trying to get in!
But there was only room for 200 people, so Mr. Naismith picked names out of a hat. He said that if your name was drawn then you could play in this final game.
No examination of basketball's origins would be complete without mentioning the popular alternative "conspiracy theory" origin. This idea emerged in the 1950s, alleging that Lambert G. Will, the director of a YMCA in Herkimer, New York, devised the game almost a year before Dr. Naismith said the first basketball game took place.
Naismith became the first men's basketball coach at the University of Kansas in 1898. (Intriguingly, he is the only men's coach in program history with a losing record.) During his tenure, he witnessed the evolution of his 13 rules.