(November 6, 1861 - November 28, 1939)
Doctor James Naismith, is the inventor of the sport of basketball and the first to introduce the use of a helmet in American football.
In 1891, while working as a physical education teacher at the YMCA International Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts he was asked to look for a way to relieve his students' boredom during indoor winter gym classes.
Inspired in part by a game he played as a child inOntario called Duck-on-a-Rock, Naismith's basketball started December 15th 1891 with thirteen rules, a peach basket nailed to either end of the school's gymnasium, and two teams of nine players. On January 15, 1892 Naismith published the rules for basketball.
Basketball became popular in theUnited States very quickly, and spread to other countries as well. The sport was added to the Olympic program at the 1936 Summer Olympics inBerlin (although there had been a basketball competition in connection with the 1904 Games). There, Naismith handed out the gold medals to the American team, which beat Canada in the final.
Naismith became a professor at theUniversity of Kansas and the school's first basketball coach.Kansas went on to develop one of the nation's most storied college basketball programs. Ironically, Naismith is the onlyKansas coach to have a losing record during his tenure at the school.
In the late 1930s he played a role in what became the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball.
He was born inAlmonte, Ontario, Canada, the older son of Scottish immigrants who had arrived there in 1852. Naismith was a graduate of McGill University in 1887, where he studied philosophy and thePresbyterian Theological College (Montreal) in 1890. He also got a physical education degree from a YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891 and in 1898; he received a medical degree fromGross Medical College (which later merged into the University of Colorado).
Naismith married Maude Sherman in 1894. They had five children. Naismith became a naturalized American onMay 4, 1925. After Maude's death in 1937, he remarried less than six months before his own death, in Lawrence, Kansas, of a cerebral hemorrhage. He is buried there alongside his first wife.
Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Naismith