"Harrumph. Another new game”
That was the damning indictment of a brand new ballgame that was first played in its modern form on this day in 1891. A Canadian PE instructor called James Naismith decided that he wanted to devise a sport that would condition his athletic students during the cold winter months, but which was less physically damaging than American Football. By nailing a peach basket to the gym wall and utilising a soccer ball, he created what was originally going to be catchily called ‘Naismith’s Game’ but then someone had the better idea of dubbing it ‘basketball’.
There was a slight drawback to this early version of the game, however. For reasons that no one really understands, they didn’t cut the bottom out of the peach baskets, so every time a point was scored the janitor had to be summoned who would fetch their ladder and get the ball back out. It wasn’t until 1906 that metal hoops, nets and backboards were introduced, which saved a great deal of time.