“He Sings A Lot”
Starting with a peach basket, an indoor track and a soft soccer ball, without Naismith there would be no Michael Jordan, LeBron James or Brain Scalabrine (aka the White Mamba).
Naismith, a Springfield graduate and first ballot Hall of Famer, was also commonly known for his friendship with Albert Spalding, the eventual founder of the Spalding sporting goods company and as of recently, thought to be the actual founder of basketball in a shocking discovery.
Spalding, born and raised in Illinois, moved to Chicopee, Mass., for one reason: sports. With baseball taking off in the late 1880s and teams in need of equipment, Spalding seized the opportunity.
Buying out a local factory, Spalding became the first to invest in the business of sporting goods. Starting with baseballs and bats, Spalding was presented with yet another opportunity to make history.
Approached by his friend Naismith, Spalding was asked to design a newer, softer soccer ball that can be used indoors. Intrigued, the “master of sporting goods” took the challenge.
Albert Spalding presented his new “ball” to Naismith and his class on December 21, 1891, as stated in Spalding’s journal, which was recently found in his Chicopee tomb.
“Spalding’s journal contains pages and pages of how he actually invented basketball,” commented Jeff Quaker, the archeologist who found the journal. “He wrote that Naismith allowed him to take over the class and show how his new ‘ball’ worked.”
Directing his friend to hang two peach baskets on the elevated track 10 feet above their heads, Spalding put his new ball to the test and the rest is history.
“Albert Spalding is the true founder of basketball,” stated Quaker. “All evidence points to Spalding leading the class and coming up with the rules. It was his ball, his game and his legacy that Naismith stole.”
In fact, Albert Spalding can be seen holding his new ball in the famous picture of Naismith’s class after the conclusion of the first ever basketball game.
Spalding, however, did not care that he had invented a new sport; he just saw the class time as a way to test his new ball. Naismith, on the other hand, took this brilliant idea, wrote the rules down and ran with it.
Running all the way to Kansas, Naismith was able to spread basketball and his namesake around the country while coaching the Jayhawks’ first basketball team.
“James Naismith took Spalding’s game and spread it to thousands of people,” continued Quaker. “He was the one who told the world about the game, so in turn the world made him the founder of basketball without any thought of its true inventor, Spalding.”
Although Albert Spalding never received credit for his invention, he was able to achieve some revenge as the Spalding Basketball became the official basketball of the NBA and ABA in 1983, thus returning the Spalding name to the hardwood.
Disclaimer: All facts, interviews, details and sources are completely false. Actually, this entire story is made up. Happy April Fools’ Day!