Who was James Naismith? Google Doodle celebrates the inventor of basketball

BASKETBALL inventor James Naismith was left an orphan after his Scottish parents tragically died amid a typhoid fever epidemic.

It was game on, though, when the devout Christian aspired to help an “incorrigible” group of rowdy boys, pent up inside a snowed-in gymnasium. We look at today's inspiring Google Doodle…

Who is James Naismith?

James Naismith was born in 1861 near Almonte, Ontario, the son of Scottish-born John Naismith and Margaret Young, writes Canada’s Walk of Fame website.

He was raised as a "wee Scot" but tragically, at the age of nine, lost both of his parents amid a typhoid fever epidemic.

James was taken in by family, and within two years, he was left with his bachelor uncle Pete, the site adds.

He quickly dropped out of high school in Almonte and started farming and lumbering, to help Uncle Pete with the bills.

Young James soon developed a bit of a reputation as a boozer, until a horrified family friend spotted him drinking at a bar and told him that his dearly departed mother would "roll over in her grave if she saw you now".

After four years in physical education and three years at the Presbyterian Theological School, to pursue the ministry, James found himself at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) school in Springfield, Massachusetts.

In 1891, the website explains, he was tasked with tending to an “incorrigible” group of rowdy boys, stuck inside a snowed-in gymnasium.

Armed with two peach baskets and a soccer ball, he established 13 rules – slightly revised for safety after a couple of black eyes and an injured shoulder – and gave birth to basketball.

Forty years later, he was handing out medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, the first to feature basketball as a sport.

Today, the National Basketball Association is a multi-billion-dollar business, and the sport is played by more the 300million people around the world.

But humble James didn’t want any credit for creating the popular sport beloved by fans across the globe – he refused to patent the game.

All he wanted was simple: “I would like the world to be a better place for my having been here.”

What does the inventor of basketball's Google Doodle show?

Today’s Doodle celebrates Canadian-American physical educator, professor, doctor, and coach Dr James Naismith, who invented the game of basketball in 1891.

On this day of the following year, James announced the new game and its original rules in the pages of The Triangle, a Springfield College school newspaper.

From its humble beginnings in a school gymnasium, the sport has grown into an international colossus played in more than 200 countries today.

He envisioned basketball as a way for all students to better themselves physically and mentally, explains Google.

The sport was introduced in a time when schools were segregated, but James saw everyone as someone with potential for the game.

In his lifetime, he took steps to help basketball reach more young people, and it has since evolved into a global phenomenon that crosses racial and gender barriers.

What is a Google Doodle?

In 1998, Google founders Larry and Sergey drew a stick figure behind the second 'o' of Google to show they were out of office at the Burning Man festival and with that, Google Doodles were born.

The company decided that they should decorate the logo to mark cultural moments and it soon became clear that users really enjoyed the change to the Google homepage.

Now, there is a full team of doodlers, illustrators, graphic designers, animators and classically trained artists who help create what you see on those days.

Among the many noted by the search engine giant via its Doodles celebrations are Sudan, the last male northern white rhinoceros, and inventor Georgios Papanikolaou, creator of the cervical cancer test.

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