The origins of basketball — in Dr. Naismith’s own words

VIDEO: NBA TV’s Fan Night crew listens to the Naismith audio

By Jeff Case

Were it not for the innovation one winter in Massachusetts by Dr. James Naismith, the game of basketball we all love around here would perhaps never exist. The founder of basketball has the sport’s Hall of Fame named in his honor, as well as a trophy and is an icon in the game at large. It was in 1891 that Naismith — while serving as a teacher at YMCA International Training College in Springfield, Mass. — would develop the first rules and oversee the first game of basketball.

But what was that inaugural game of basketball like?

The New York Times‘ Richard Sandomir reports on a recently unearthed two-and-a-half minute radio interview Naismith did in the 1930s that may be the only existing recording of Naismith’s voice. It’s a cool listen for both the nostalgia factor and to hear the father of basketball explain how that first game went down.


Dr. James Naismith (Courtesy The University of Kansas)



  1. dd def says:

    oh my goodness!!! that’s really really really cool! amazing to hear the story of the first ever game of hoops straight from the Good Doctor himself. what a great piece of history for anyone who’s ever been a fan, player, or any other affiliate of the game.

  2. Fr3D says:


  3. Kevin says:

    Wao iiiiThis is an amazing recording. I felt like I was in that first game! Great archive.

  4. DONNA says:

    thx for sharing this. really enjoyed it

  5. Raptor4Life says:

    Tip of the hat to the University of Kansas for sharing this !!!
    A great listen, history from the man himself.