Naismith, James

James Naismith, physician, educator, inventor of basketball (b at Almonte, Canada W [Ont] 6 Nov 1861; d at Lawrence, Kansas 28 Nov 1939). Orphaned at age 9, James Naismith dropped out of high school in his teenage years, but returned to Almonte High School at age 20 to complete his education. He showed prowess in athletics at McGill, and in December 1891, as a young instructor at the YMCA International Training School at Springfield, Mass (now Springfield College), he invented the game of basketball. At 37, Naismith graduated from the Gross Medical School of Colorado University with a medical degree.

Naismith was associated with the University of Kansas for some 40 years (1898 - 1938) as professor, physician and director of physical education, during which time he also served twice in military conflict and published several books. He saw basketball make its Olympic Games debut in 1936 at Berlin. At 64 James Naismith became an American citizen. He is a member of the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame, Canada's Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame.