James Naismith

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James Naismith
Dr. James Naismith.jpg
Naismith holding a basketball and basket
Biographical details
Born(1861-11-06)November 6, 1861
Almonte, Canada West, Province of Canada
DiedNovember 28, 1939(1939-11-28) (aged 78)
Lawrence, Kansas, U.S.
Alma mater McGill University
Springfield College
Presbyterian College
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Basketball
1898–1907 Kansas
Track and field
1900–1906 Kansas
Head coaching record
Overall55–60 (basketball)
Accomplishments and honors
Awards
Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1959
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

James Naismith (NAY-smith; November 6, 1861 November 28, 1939) was a Canadian-American physical educator, physician, Christian chaplain, and sports coach, best known as the inventor of the game of basketball. [1] [2] [3] After moving to the United States, he wrote the original basketball rule book and founded the University of Kansas basketball program in 1898. [4] Naismith lived to see basketball adopted as an Olympic demonstration sport in 1904 and as an official event at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, as well as the birth of the National Invitation Tournament (1938) and the NCAA Tournament (1939).

Contents

Naismith studied and taught physical education at McGill University in Montreal until 1890, before moving to Springfield, Massachusetts, United States later that year, where in 1891 he designed the game of basketball while he was teaching at the International YMCA Training School. [5] Seven years after inventing basketball, Naismith received his medical degree in Denver in 1898. He then arrived at the University of Kansas, later becoming the Kansas Jayhawks' athletic director and coach. [5] While a coach at Kansas, Naismith coached Phog Allen, who later became the coach at Kansas for 39 seasons, beginning a lengthy and prestigious coaching tree. Allen then went on to coach legends including Adolph Rupp and Dean Smith, among others, who themselves coached many notable players and future coaches. [6]

Early years

Sculpture in Almonte, Ontario Naismith statue, Almonte.jpg
Sculpture in Almonte, Ontario

Naismith was born on November 6, 1861, in Almonte, Canada West, Province of Canada (now part of Mississippi Mills, Ontario, Canada) to Scottish parents. [7] Despite some sources to the contrary Naismith never had a middle name and never signed his name with an "A" initial. The "A" was added by someone in administration at the University of Kansas. [lower-alpha 1] Gifted in farm labour, Naismith spent his days outside playing catch, hide-and-seek, or duck on a rock, a medieval game in which a person guards a large drake stone from opposing players, who try to knock it down by throwing smaller stones at it. To play duck on a rock most effectively, Naismith soon found that a soft lobbing shot was far more effective than a straight hard throw, a thought that later proved essential for the invention of basketball. [9] Orphaned early in his life, Naismith lived with his aunt and uncle for many years and attended grade school at Bennies Corners near Almonte. Then, he enrolled in Almonte High School, in Almonte, Ontario, from which he graduated in 1883. [9]

In the same year, Naismith entered McGill University in Montreal. Although described as a slight figure, standing 5 feet 10+12 inches (1.791 m) and listed at 178 pounds (81 kg) [10] he was a talented and versatile athlete, representing McGill in football, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, and gymnastics. He played centre on the football team, and made himself some padding to protect his ears. It was for personal use, not team use. [11] He won multiple Wicksteed medals for outstanding gymnastics performances. [2] Naismith earned a BA in physical education (1888) and a diploma at the Presbyterian College in Montreal (1890). [9] At the end of his career, in 1938 and 1939, he would receive honorary doctorates from both institutions. [12] [13] From 1888 to 1890, Naismith taught physical education and became the first McGill director of athletics, but then left Montreal to study at the YMCA International Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. [14] [15] Naismith played football during his one year as a student at Springfield, where he was coached by Amos Alonzo Stagg and scored a touchdown in the first exhibition of indoor college football at Madison Square Garden. [16]

Springfield College: Invention of basketball

The original 1891 "Basket Ball" court in Springfield College. It used a peach basket attached to the wall. Firstbasketball.jpg
The original 1891 "Basket Ball" court in Springfield College. It used a peach basket attached to the wall.

Naismith is credited with inventing basketball. Naismith was an outstanding football player at McGill University in Montreal when he realized he needed to invent an indoor game for the winter due to the weather conditions.[ clarification needed ] He later decided to become a physical education teacher at McGill University for his three postgraduate years and then went to Springfield, Massachusetts, to study at the YMCA International Training School in the 1890s.

After completing the YMCA physical director training program that had brought him to Springfield, Naismith was hired as a full-time faculty member in 1891. [17] At the Springfield YMCA, Naismith struggled with a rowdy class that was confined to indoor games throughout the harsh New England winter, and thus was perpetually short-tempered. Under orders from Luther Gulick, head of physical education there, Naismith was given 14 days to create an indoor game that would provide an "athletic distraction"; Gulick demanded that it would not take up much room, could help its track athletes to keep in shape [2] and explicitly emphasized to "make it fair for all players and not too rough". [10] Naismith was later employed to teach physical education using two boxes. He told the superintendent he needed the two boxes to be put onto a pole so a large ball could be thrown into them. [18]

In his attempt to think up a new game, Naismith was guided by three main thoughts. [9] Firstly, he analyzed the most popular games of the times (rugby, lacrosse, soccer, football, hockey, and baseball); Naismith noticed the hazards of a ball and concluded that the big, soft soccer ball was safest. Secondly, he saw that most physical contact occurred while running with the ball, dribbling, or hitting it, so he decided that passing was the only legal option. Finally, Naismith further reduced body contact by making the goal unguardable by placing it high above the player's heads with the plane of the goal's opening parallel to the floor. This placement forced the players to score goals by throwing a soft, lobbing shot like that which had proven effective in his old favorite game, duck on a rock. [19] For this purpose, Naismith asked a janitor to find a pair of boxes, but the janitor brought him peach baskets instead. [20] Naismith christened this new game Basket Ball [9] and put his thoughts together in 13 basic rules. [21]

The first game of "Basket Ball" was played in December 1891. In a handwritten report, Naismith described the circumstances of the inaugural match; in contrast to modern basketball, the players played nine versus nine, handled a soccer ball, not a basketball, and instead of shooting at two hoops, the goals were a pair of peach baskets: "When Mr. Stubbins brot [ sic ] up the peach baskets to the gym I secured them on the inside of the railing of the gallery. This was about 10 feet [3.0 meters] from the floor, one at each end of the gymnasium. I then put the 13 rules on the bulletin board just behind the instructor's platform, secured a soccer ball, and awaited the arrival of the class ... The class did not show much enthusiasm, but followed my lead ... I then explained what they had to do to make goals, tossed the ball up between the two center men and tried to keep them somewhat near the rules. Most of the fouls were called for running with the ball, though tackling the man with the ball was not uncommon." [22] In contrast to modern basketball, the original rules did not include what is known today as the dribble. Since the ball could only be moved up the court by a pass early players tossed the ball over their heads as they ran up court. Also following each "goal", a jump ball was taken in the middle of the court. Both practices are obsolete in the rules of modern basketball. [23]

In a radio interview in January 1939, Naismith gave more details of the first game and the initial rules that were used:

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 a whistle, and the first game of basketball began ... The boys began tackling, kicking, and punching in the clinches. They ended up in a free-for-all in the middle of the gym floor. [The injury toll: several black eyes, one separated shoulder, and one player knocked unconscious.] It certainly was murder. [Naismith changed some of the rules as part of his quest to develop a clean sport.] The most important one was that there should be no running with the ball. That stopped tackling and slugging. We tried out the game with those [new] rules (fouls), and we didn't have one casualty. [24] [25]

Naismith was a classmate of Amos Alonzo Stagg at the YMCA School, where Stagg coached the football team. They became close friends and Naismith played on the football team and Stagg played on the basketball team. Naismith invited Stagg to play in the first public basketball game on March 12, 1892. The students defeated the faculty 5–1 and Stagg scored the only basket for the faculty. [26] The Springfield Republican reported on the same: "Over 200 spectators crammed their necks over the gallery railing of the Christian Workers gymnasium while they watched the game of 'basket ball' between the teachers and the students. The most conspicuous figure on the floor was Stagg in the blue Yale uniform who managed to have a hand in every scrimmage." [27]

By 1892, basketball had grown so popular on campus that Dennis Horkenbach (editor-in-chief of The Triangle, the Springfield college newspaper) featured it in an article called "A New Game", [7] and there were calls to call this new game "Naismith Ball", but Naismith refused. [9] By 1893, basketball was introduced internationally by the YMCA movement. [7] From Springfield, Naismith went to Denver, where he acquired a medical degree, and in 1898, he joined the University of Kansas faculty at Lawrence. [10]

The family of Lambert G. Will, disputing Naismith's sole creation of the game, has claimed that Naismith borrowed components for the game of basketball from Will, citing alleged photos and letters. In an interview, the family did give Naismith credit for the general idea of the sport, but they claimed Will changed aspects of Naismith's original plans for the game and Naismith took credit for the changes. [28] [29]

Spalding worked with Naismith to develop the official basketball and the Spalding Athletic Library official basketball rule book for 1893–1894. [30] [31]

University of Kansas

1899 University of Kansas basketball team, with James Naismith at the back, right Kansas U team 1899.jpg
1899 University of Kansas basketball team, with James Naismith at the back, right
Basketball games at Allen Fieldhouse take place on the James Naismith Court. Allen Fieldhouse.jpg
Basketball games at Allen Fieldhouse take place on the James Naismith Court.

The University of Kansas men's basketball program officially began following Naismith's arrival in 1898, seven years after Naismith drafted the sport's first official rules. Naismith was not initially hired to coach basketball, but rather as a chapel director and physical-education instructor. [32] In those early days, the majority of the basketball games were played against nearby YMCA teams, with YMCAs across the nation having played an integral part in the birth of basketball. Other common opponents were Haskell Indian Nations University and William Jewell College. Under Naismith, the team played only one current Big 12 school: Kansas State (once). Naismith is, ironically, the only coach in the program's history to have a losing record (55–60). [33] However, Naismith coached Forrest "Phog" Allen, his eventual successor at Kansas, [34] who went on to join his mentor in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. [35] When Allen became a coach himself and told him that he was going to coach basketball at Baker University in 1904, Naismith discouraged him: "You can't coach basketball; you just play it." [2] Instead, Allen embarked on a coaching career that would lead him to be known as "the Father of Basketball Coaching". During his time at Kansas, Allen coached Dean Smith (1952 National Championship team) and Adolph Rupp (1922 Helms Foundation National Championship team). Smith and Rupp have joined Naismith and Allen as members of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

By the turn of the century, enough college teams were in the East that the first intercollegiate competitions could be played out. [34] Although the sport continued to grow, Naismith long regarded the game as a curiosity and preferred gymnastics and wrestling as better forms of physical activity. [34] However, basketball became a demonstration sport at the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis. As the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame reports, Naismith was not interested in self-promotion nor was he interested in the glory of competitive sports. [36] Instead, he was more interested in his physical-education career; he received an honorary PE master's degree in 1910, [9] patrolled the Mexican border for four months in 1916, traveled to France, and published two books (A Modern College in 1911 and Essence of a Healthy Life in 1918). He took American citizenship on May 4, 1925. [5] In 1909, Naismith's duties at Kansas were redefined as a professorship; he served as the de facto athletic director at Kansas for much of the early 20th century.

Naismith had "strong feelings against segregation," dating back to his World War I-era service in France and his service on the United States-Mexico border, and he strove for progress in race relations through modest steps. During the 1930s, he would not or could not get African-Americans onto Kansas' varsity Jayhawks, but he did help engineer the admission of black students to the university's swimming pool. Until then, they had been given automatic passing grades on a required swimming test without entering the pool, so it could remain all-white. [37]

Through Naismith's association with Baker University Basketball Coach Emil Liston, he became familiar and impressed with Emil Liston's fraternity at Baker University, Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp). As a result, he started the effort to bring a Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter to his University of Kansas (KU). On February 18, 1923, Naismith, intending to bring a SigEp Chapter to KU, was initiated as a SigEp member by national office of the fraternity. Under Naismith's leadership, the University of Kansas Sigma Phi Epsilon Chapter was founded and officially Charted on April 28, 1923, with Naismith leading the new 40-member fraternity as "Chapter Counselor." Naismith was deeply involved with the members, serving as Chapter Counselor for 16 years, from 1923 until his death in 1939. During those 16 years as Chapter Counselor, he married SigEp's housemother, Mrs. Florence Kincaid. Members who were interviewed during that era remembered Naismith: "He was deeply religious", "He listened more than he spoke", "He thought sports were nothing but an avenue to keep young people involved so they could do their studies and relate to their community", and "It was really nice having someone with the caliber of Dr. Naismith, he helped many a SigEp."

In 1935, the National Association of Basketball Coaches (founded by Naismith's pupil Phog Allen) collected money so the 74-year-old Naismith could witness the introduction of basketball into the official Olympic sports program of the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin. [36] There, Naismith handed out the medals to three North American teams: the United States, for the gold medal, Canada, for the silver medal, and Mexico, for their bronze medal. [38] During the Olympics, he was named the honorary president of the International Basketball Federation. [9] When Naismith returned, he commented that seeing the game played by many nations was the greatest compensation he could have received for his invention. [34] In 1937, Naismith played a role in the formation of the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball, which later became the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). [39]

Naismith became professor emeritus at Kansas when he retired in 1937 at the age of 76. In addition to his years as a coach, for a total of almost 40 years, Naismith worked at the school and during those years, he also served as its athletic director and was also a faculty member at the school. In 1939, Naismith suffered a fatal brain hemorrhage. He was interred at Memorial Park Cemetery in Lawrence, Kansas. His masterwork "Basketball — its Origins and Development" was published posthumously in 1941. [9] In Lawrence, Naismith has a road named in his honor, Naismith Drive, which runs in front of Allen Fieldhouse and James Naismith Court therein are named in his honor, despite Naismith's having the worst record in school history. Naismith Valley Park, located at the south end of Naismith Drive in Lawrence is also named in his honor. Naismith Hall, a dormitory, is located on the northeast corner of the intersection of 19th Street with Naismith Drive on the KU campus is also named for him. [40]

Head-coaching record

Basketball

Naismith as University of Kansas athletics director, c. 1920 James Naismith at Springfield College circa 1920.jpg
Naismith as University of Kansas athletics director, c. 1920

In 1898, Naismith became the first basketball coach of University of Kansas. He compiled a record of 55–60 and is ironically the only losing coach in Kansas history. [33] Naismith is at the beginning of a massive and prestigious coaching tree, as he coached Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame coach Phog Allen, who himself coached Hall of Fame coaches Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp, and Ralph Miller who all coached future coaches as well. [34] In addition to Allen, Naismith also can be seen as a mentor and therefore beginning for the coaching tree branches of John McLendon who wasn't permitted to play at Kansas but was close to Naismith during his time as an athletic director. [41] Amos Alonzo Stagg, was primarily a football coach, but he did play basketball for Naismith in Springfield, coached a year of basketball at Chicago and had several football players who also coached basketball such as Jesse Harper, Fred Walker and Tony Hinkle. [26]

Statistics overview
SeasonTeamOverallConferenceStandingPostseason
Kansas Jayhawks (Independent)(1898–1907)
1898–99 Kansas 7–4
1899–00 Kansas 3–4
1900–01 Kansas 4–8
1901–02 Kansas 5–7
1902–03 Kansas 7–8
1903–04 Kansas 5–8
1904–05 Kansas 5–6
1905–06 Kansas 12–7
1906–07 Kansas 7–8
Total:55–60 (.478)

Legacy

Statue of James Naismith at Basketball Hall of Fame and Museum in Springfield, Massachusetts James Naismith.jpg
Statue of James Naismith at Basketball Hall of Fame and Museum in Springfield, Massachusetts

Naismith invented the game of basketball and wrote the original 13 rules of this sport; [36] for comparison, the NBA rule book today features 66 pages. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, is named in his honor, and he was an inaugural inductee in 1959. [36] The National Collegiate Athletic Association rewards its best players and coaches annually with the Naismith Awards, among them the Naismith College Player of the Year, the Naismith College Coach of the Year, and the Naismith Prep Player of the Year. After the Olympic introduction to men's basketball in 1936, women's basketball became an Olympic event in Montreal during the 1976 Summer Olympics. [42] Naismith was also inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame, the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame, the McGill University Sports Hall of Fame, the Kansas State Sports Hall of Fame, FIBA Hall of Fame. [9] [43] The FIBA Basketball World Cup trophy is named the "James Naismith Trophy" in his honor. On June 21, 2013, Naismith was inducted into the Kansas Hall of Fame during ceremonies in Topeka. [44]

Naismith's home town of Almonte, Ontario, hosts an annual 3-on-3 tournament for all ages and skill levels in his honor. Every year, this event attracts hundreds of participants and involves over 20 half-court games along the main street of the town. [45] All proceeds of the event go to youth basketball programs in the area.[ citation needed ]

Today basketball is played by more than 300 million people worldwide, making it one of the most popular team sports. [2] In North America, basketball has produced some of the most-admired athletes of the 20th century. ESPN and the Associated Press both conducted polls to name the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century. Basketball player Michael Jordan came in first in the ESPN poll and second (behind Babe Ruth) in the AP poll. Both polls featured fellow basketball players Wilt Chamberlain (of KU, like Naismith) and Bill Russell in the top 20. [46] [47]

Typewritten first draft of the rules of basketball by Naismith Naismith Rules of Basketball 1892 first draft.jpg
Typewritten first draft of the rules of basketball by Naismith

The original rules of basketball written by James Naismith in 1891, considered to be basketball's founding document, was auctioned at Sotheby's, New York, in December 2010. Josh Swade, a University of Kansas alumnus and basketball enthusiast, went on a crusade in 2010 to persuade moneyed alumni to consider bidding on and hopefully winning the document at auction to give it to the University of Kansas. Swade eventually persuaded David G. Booth, a billionaire investment banker and KU alumnus, and his wife Suzanne Booth, to commit to bidding at the auction. The Booths won the bidding and purchased the document for a record US$4,338,500, the most ever paid for a sports memorabilia item, and gave the document to the University of Kansas. [48] Swade's project and eventual success are chronicled in a 2012 ESPN 30 for 30 documentary "There's No Place Like Home" and in a corresponding book, The Holy Grail of Hoops: One Fan's Quest to Buy the Original Rules of Basketball. [49] The University of Kansas constructed an $18 million building named the Debruce Center, which houses the rules and opened in March 2016. [50]

Naismith was designated a National Historic Person in 1976, on the advice of the national Historic Sites and Monuments Board [51]

In 1991, postage stamps commemorated the centennial of basketball's invention: four stamps were issued by Canada Post, including one with Naismith's name; one stamp was issued by the US Postal Service. Another Canadian stamp, in 2009, honored the game's invention.

In July 2019, Naismith was inducted into Toronto's Walk of Fame. [52]

On January 15, 2021, Google placed a Google Doodle celebrating James Naismith on its home page in 18 countries, on five continents. [53]

Personal life

Naismith was the second child of two Scottish immigrants. [9] His father left Europe when he was 18, and also settled down in Lanark County. [54]

On June 20, 1894, Naismith married his wife in Springfield, Massachusetts. The couple had five children. [10]

He was a member of the Pi Gamma Mu and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternities. [10] Naismith was a Presbyterian minister and was also a Freemason. [55]

His first wife died in 1937, and on June 11, 1939, he married his second wife. On November 19 of that year, Naismith suffered a major brain hemorrhage and died nine days later in his home in Lawrence. [56] He was 78 years old. [57] Naismith died eight months after the birth of the NCAA Basketball Championship, which today has evolved to one of the biggest sports events in North America. Naismith is buried with his first wife in Memorial Park Cemetery in Lawrence. [58] Florence Kincaid died in 1977 at the age of 98 and is buried with her first husband, Frank B. Kincaid, in Elmwood Cemetery in Beloit, Kansas.

During his lifetime, Naismith held these educational and academic positions: [10]

LocationPositionPeriodRemarks
Bennie's Corner Grade School (Almonte, Ontario) Primary school 1867–1875
Almonte High School Secondary school 1875–1877, 1881–83Dropped out and re-entered
McGill University University student1883–87Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education
McGill UniversityInstructor in Physical Education 1887–1890Gold Wickstead Medal (1887), Best All-Around Athlete; Silver Cup (1886), first prize for a one-mile walk; Silver Wickstead Medal (1885), Best All-Around Athlete; Awarded one of McGill's first varsity letters
The Presbyterian College, Montreal Education in Theology 1887–1890Silver medal (1890), second highest award for regular and special honor work in Theology
Springfield College Instructor in Physical Education1891–1895Invented "Basket Ball" in December 1891
YMCA of DenverInstructor in Physical Education1895–1898
University of Kansas Instructor in Physical Education and Chapel Director1898–1909
University of KansasBasketball Coach1898–1907First-ever basketball coach
University of KansasProfessor and University Physician1909–1917Hiatus from 1914 on due to World War I
First Kansas InfantryChaplain/Captain1914–1917Military service due to World War I
First Kansas Infantry (Mexican Border)Chaplain1916
Military and YMCA secretary in FranceLecturer of Moral Conditions and Sex Education 1917–1919
University of Kansas Athletic Director 1919–1937 Emeritus in 1937

See also

Notes

  1. In 1982, Naismith's only living child stated that his father never had the middle initial "A". According to Canadian basketball historian Curtis J. Phillips, other members of Naismith's family and friends also confirm this. [8]

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John B. McLendon Jr. was an American basketball coach who is recognized as the first African American basketball coach at a predominantly white university and the first African American head coach in any professional sport. He was a major contributor to the development of modern basketball and coached on both the college and professional levels during his career. He has been enshrined three times in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and also inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Bunn (basketball)</span> American basketball player and coach

John W. Bunn was an American basketball coach and key contributor to the game of basketball. The Wellston, Ohio native played three seasons under coach Phog Allen at University of Kansas while earning his bachelor's degree (1917–21). He later became an assistant to Allen for nine seasons (1921–30). His In 1930, he became men's basketball head coach at Stanford University, where he coached college all-time great Hank Luisetti. His 1936–37 team finished the season with a 25–2 record and was retroactively named the national champion by the Helms Athletic Foundation and the Premo-Porretta Power Poll. After he left Stanford, Bunn went on to coach Springfield College (1946–56) and Colorado State College (1956–63).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The First Team</span> First basketball team

The First Team were the first players known to have played the sport of basketball, having been taught the game in 1891 by James Naismith, who is recognized as the inventor of the sport. The team comprised 18 players who were studying in Springfield, Massachusetts, to become executive secretaries of the YMCA and who, as part of their coursework, studied physical education with Naismith, who is said to have invented the game to teach teamwork skills to his charges. The team was inducted as a group into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of that organization's inaugural 1959 induction class for their efforts in popularizing the sport and as the game's first practitioners.

The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, is an American organization of men's college basketball coaches. It was founded in 1927 by Phog Allen, the men's basketball head coach for the University of Kansas.

The following are the basketball events of the year 1892 throughout the world.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of basketball</span> Account of the history and development of the sport of basketball

Basketball began with its invention in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts, by Canadian physical education instructor James Naismith as a less injury-prone sport than football. Naismith was a 31-year-old graduate student when he created the indoor sport to keep athletes indoors during the winters. The game became established fairly quickly and grew very popular as the 20th century progressed, first in America and then in other parts of the world. After basketball became established in American colleges, the professional game followed. The American National Basketball Association (NBA), established in 1946, grew to a multibillion-dollar enterprise by the end of the century, and basketball became an integral part of American culture.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of the University of Kansas</span>

The history of the University of Kansas can be traced back to 1855, when efforts were begun to establish a "University of the Territory of Kansas." Nine years later in 1864, together with the help of Amos Adams Lawrence, former Kansas Governor Charles L. Robinson, and several other prominent figures, the Kansas Legislature chartered the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. The university was initially funded by a $15,000 endowment on a 40-acre (160,000 m2) allotment of land from Charles Robinson and his wife Sara. The university commenced preparatory-level classes in 1866 and college-level classes in 1869.

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Further reading