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The Miraculous Invention of Basketball

Dr. James Naismith invented the game of basketball in 1891 at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. In a 1939 radio interview he said, “I called the boys to the gym, divided them up into teams of nine and gave them a little soccer ball. I showed them two peach baskets I’d nailed up at each end of the gym, and I told them the idea was to throw the ball into the opposing team’s peach basket. I blew the whistle, and the first game of basketball began. After that first match, I was afraid they’d kill each other, but they kept nagging me to let them play again, so I made up some new rules.”

The miraculous invention of the game of basketball is the result of the power of polarities. How? Allow me to explain using the four temperaments of the personality.

The invention of basketball started with a perceived practical human need (related to the Terracotta Temperament of the Helper). It was winter and Naismith had a rowdy and unruly class of students that needed a suitable indoor activity. His boss, Dr. Luther Gulick, instructed him to create an indoor game within 14 days. Next, the Orange Temperament of the Visionary in him started to dream up a new sport. He imagined a game which was like some favorite ball games of those times, but with reduced body contact by allowing players only to pass the ball and making the goal unguardable by placing it above the heads of the players. The Turquoise Temperament of the Inventor in him set up the court, the ball, and the peach baskets. And the Teal Temperament of the Technician created a set of 13 basic rules that all players had to adhere to. The rest is history of course.

* lllustration in the Springfield College school newspaper in 1892. (PD-US)

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