1891 Dec 15 - James Naismith, a Canadian, invents basketball, while working at the Y.M.C.A. College at Springfield, Massachusetts

Dec 21 - 18 - students play 1st college basketball game (Springfield College).

1892 Jan 15 - Triangle magazine in Springfield, MA published the rules for a brand new game: the one we know that began by attaching peach baskets to a suspended board. It is better known as basketball.

Jan 20 - The first official basketball game was played by students at the Springfield, MA YMCA Training School.

Mar 11 - First publicly played basketball game.

1892 - Lew Allen of Hartford Connecticut makes cylindrical baskets of heavy woven wire to eliminate peach baskets.

The original rules as they appeared under the heading, “A New Game” in the school paper, the Triangle:

The goals are a couple of baskets or boxes about fifteen inches in diameter across the opening, and about fifteen inches deep.  These are suspended, one at each end of the grounds, about ten feet from the floor.  The object of the game is to put the ball into your opponent’s goal.  This may be done by throwing the ball from any part of the grounds, with one or both hands, under the following conditions and rules:

  “The ball to be an ordinary Association football.

1.        The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.

2.        The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hand (but never the fist).

3.        A player can not run with the ball.  The player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it, allowance to be made for a man who catches the ball while running at a good speed if he tries to stop.

4.        The ball must be held in or between the hands.  The arms or body must not be used for holding it.

5.        No shouldering, holding, punching, tripping, or striking in any way the person of an opponent shall be allowed; the first infringement of this rule by any player shall count as a foul, the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is made, or , if there was evident intent to injure the person, for the whole of the game, no substitute allowed.

6.        A foul is striking at the ball with the fist, violation of Rules 3, 4, and such as described in Rule 5.

7.        If either side makes three consecutive fouls, it shall count a goal for the opponents (consecutive means without the opponents in the meantime making a foul).

8.        A goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from the ground into the basket and stays there, providing those defending the goal do not touch or disturb the goal.  If the ball rests on the edges and the opponents move the basket, it shall count as a goal.

9.        When the ball goes out of bounds it shall be thrown into the field of play by the person first touching it.  In case of a dispute, the umpire shall throw it straight into the field.  The thrower-in is allowed five seconds, if he holds it longer, it shall go to an opponent.  If any side persists in delaying the game, an umpire shall call a foul on that side.

10.     The umpire shall be judge of the men and shall note the fouls and notify the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made.  He shall have power to disqualify men according to Rule 5.

11.     The referee shall be judge of the ball and shall decide when the ball is in play, in bounds, to which side it belongs, and shall keep time.  He shall decide when a goal has been made, and keep account of the goals with any other duties that are usually performed by a referee.

12.     The time shall be fifteen minute halves, with five minutes rest between.

13.     The side making the most goals in that time shall be declared the sinner.  In case of a draw, the game may, by agreement of the captains, be continued until another goal is made.


The number composing a team depends largely on the size of the floor space, but it may range from three on a side to forty.  The fewer players down to three, the more scientific it may be made, but the more players, the more fun.  The men may be arranged according to the idea of the captain, but it has been found that a goal keeper, two guards, three center men, two wings, and a home man stationed in the above order from the goal is the best.


It shall be the duty of the goal keeper and the two guards to prevent the opponents from scoring.  The duty of the wing men and the home man is to put the ball into the opponents goal, and the center men shall feed the ball forward to the man who has the best opportunity, thus nine men make the best number for a team.”

Three points for a goal and 1 for each foul called; pivoting allowed; two 20-minute halves; 5-man team suggested; center jump initiated