Monday, February 28, 2011

The Rules of Basket Ball

American college basketball is a sport where how the team plays during the season is mostly meaningless except for Las Vegas bookmakers. The post season tournaments are what matters. It's where the money is.

It wasn't always thus.

Basketball, originally the proverbial, cut a hole in a peach basket affair, was invented, around 1890, by Dr. James Naismith in Springfield Massachusetts. Naismith invented the game, it was his basket, he got to make the rules. Eventually he codified his new game into 13 simple rules,which he typed and carbon copied. When asked, he would mail a carbon to anyone looking to create a team. The original 13 typed rules remained with the Naismith family.

Later, Naismith moved to the University of Kansas (1898) taking his game with him. To this very day, Dr. N is spoken of in hushed, reverential tones in the Land of Ahs, his grave site is near the University, the Field House is named for him. Kansans will broach no disrespect on this subject.

Last December an auction of historical memorabilia was held by Sotheby's. Included in the auction were Robert Kennedy's copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by Abe himself, a battle flag from the Little Big Horn and the original, typed by Naismith, rules of Basket Ball.

The Rules trumped all other items and were purchased for $4.3 million by the Booth's, a prominent Kansas family who immediately donated the rules to KU and tossed in a few more dollars to erect a shrine at Kansas University's Naismith Field House to awe all who enter their Basketball temple.

The shrine isn't yet ready, but Kansas City has a museum, and a tournament coming up. If you are in town for the Big 12 Conference tourney, March 5 -9 stop by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to take a look. The rules will be on display until May 29, 2011.



Suburban Princess said...

And...he is Canadian! ;o)

David said...

The Field House is our cathedral, and Naismith Court our altar. I can't wait to see these, SUCH a generous gift.

preppyplayer said...

Always learn something here.

Free Kansas said...

Let us not forget that the cathedral sits on Naismith Dr. ROCK CHALK!

Anonymous said...