A game that started with eighteen men in a YMCA gymnasium in Springfield, Massachusetts, has grown into a game that more than 300 million people play worldwide. The man who created this instantly successful sport was Dr. James Naismith.
Under instructions from the head of physical education at the School for Christian Workers, Naismith was given two weeks to invent an indoor game that would provide an 'athletic distraction' for a rowdy class through the brutal New England winter. His creation didn't come easily. His first intention was to bring outdoor games such as soccer and lacrosse indoors. These games proved to be too physical and cumbersome. After brainstorming some new ideas, Naismith developed basketball's original 13 rules and, consequently, the game of basketball. The new indoor game was played with a soccer ball, peach baskets, and nine to a side. This first contest is believed to have been played on December 21, 1891.