The Invention of Basketball at Springfield College

Perry Smith is a Nashville-based health and wellness entrepreneur who owns the fitness training business Perry Smith Fitness Concepts. When he isn’t helping others in Brentwood, TN, and surrounding areas achieve their fitness goals, Perry Smith enjoys athletic pursuits such as running and playing basketball.

Although the rules have changed substantially since the sport was created, the first-ever basketball game was played at the International Young Men’s Christian Association Training School, now known as Springfield College, in 1891. The sport was invented by James Naismith, a Canadian-American who, at the time, was serving as an instructor at the school. He and other instructors were asked by physical education department head Luther Halsey Gulick, Jr., to develop more exciting, but safe, indoor games for use during winter months.

Naismith employed elements of several sports, including soccer and field hockey, in his new game concept, but prohibited body contact. The first games involved nine players on each team, as Naismith’s class had 18 students, and peach baskets were used as targets. Because there was no hole in the bottom of the basket, players were required to retrieve the ball via a stepladder after successful shots. One of Naismith’s original rules that is still in place today is that players aren’t allowed to run with the ball.

Perry Smith — Nashville, Founder Perry Smith Fitness Concepts