James Naismith invented the game of basketball as a winter distraction in the year 1891, when he was in Springfield, Massachusetts. He was a Canadian physical educator, who wrote the original basketball rule book. Today, on his 130th birthday, the world’s biggest search engine –Google–honors the legendary man with an animated doodle on its search page.
The animation features two children, who seem to be throwing a ball in a hoop by their turns, and a caricature of Naismith standing aside like a coach is observing the game and taking down his observations on a clipboard that he is holding in his hands.
Where everyone seems to be talking about Google’s doodle, Google India tweeted, “Today’s #GoogleDoodle celebrates James Naismith, who invented the game of basketball when tasked with devising an indoor game during the harsh New England winters. Today, the popularity of the sport has grown by leaps and (re)bounds across the globe.”
Being the professor of sports at the Springfield YMCA, under the orders from Dr. Luther Gulick, head of physical education there, Naismith was given 14 days to invent an indoor game to assist “athletic distraction”. Luther also demanded that it would not take up much room, and also help athletes to keep in shape and clearly emphasized to “make it fair for all players and not too rough.” Therefore, James devised a game that is a kind of combination of indoor and outdoor sports such as American football, soccer, and field hockey.
In the year 1904, basketball was adopted as an Olympic demonstration sport because of the contributions of James Naismith. Basketball became an official event at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. This event gave birth to the National Invitation Tournament in 1938 and the NCAA Tournament in 1939. He also established the University of Kansas basketball program. Naismith was a renowned sports coach and Christian chaplain.