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Basketball a game that started with 18 men in a YMCA gymnasium in Springfield Mass has grown into a game that more than 300 million people play worldwide The man who created this instantly successful sport was Dr James Naismith Under orders from Dr Luther Gulick head of Physical Education at the School for Christian Workers Naismith had 14 days to create an indoor game that would provide an athletic distraction for a rowdy class through the brutal New England winter Naismiths invention didnt come easily Getting close to the deadline he struggled to keep the class faith His first intention was to bring outdoor games indoors ie soccer and lacrosse These games proved too physical and cumbersome At his wits end Naismith recalled a childhood game that required players to use finesse and accuracy to become successful After brainstorming this new idea Naismith developed basketballs original 13 rules and consequently the game of basketball As basketballs popularity grew Naismith neither sought publicity nor engaged in self-promotion He was first and foremost a physical educator who embraced recreational sport but shied away from the glory of competitive athletics Naismith was an intense student collecting four degrees in the diverse fields of Philosophy Religion Physical Education and Medicine Although he never had the opportunity to see the game become the astonishing spectacle it is today Naismiths biggest thrill came when he was sponsored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches NABC to witness basketball become an Olympic sport at the 1936 Games held in Berlin Naismith became famous for creating the game of basketball a stroke of genius that never brought him fame or fortune during his lifetime but enormous recognition following his passing in 1939 For his historic invention Naismiths name adorns the worlds only Basketball Hall of Fame a tribute that forever makes James Naismith synonymous with basketball
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