I Am Incensed by a Quote I Found Attributed to James Naismith



  • I didn’t think it could get worse than losing two straight at AFH and Sprint.

    But. I. Was. WRONG!

    I just searched for inspirational quotes from James Naismith and found the following.

    “Basketball really had its origin in Indiana, which remains the center of the sport.” –James Naismith, as cited on AZ Quotes http://www.azquotes.com/quote/803188

    WTF!!!

    Was Jimmy trying to get a pay increase and a new job at IU?

    I don’t believe this quote.

    When and where and why did he say this?

    Help me, help me, help me, I think I am going insane.

    This Has to be some KU-hating degenerate’s idea of a joke.

    I don’t believe anyone in Indiana would ever be capable of doing such a thing. Yes they think they play better basketball and that is their right. But this quote above is blaspheming.

    Who are the blasphemers?

    Round up the usual suspects.

    Fizzourah.

    Silo Tech.

    KENSUCKY.

    Dick Vitale.

    Fran Whazzzihiz Name since Self turned down his son for a walk-on.

    The PetroShoeCo-Agency Complex.

    Who is it?

    Not even Steve Bannon, nor John Podesta, would stoop to this.

    These are fighting words.

    These are bring down fire and fury words.

    If Naismith really said this, then why, oh why did Daddy say that!!!

    Board rats, this has to be researched and either debunked, or understood for the sake of basketball history and THE LEGACY.

    ROCK CHALK!!!



  • @jaybate-1.0 Date?



  • I researched this quote a little.

    1. If you type into yahoo “Did James Naismith really say Indiana is where basketball really was founded” you’ll see the title of your little post here!

    2. He said it in 1936 in a speech at the Y in Indianapolis.



  • @wissox

    Thank you sooooooo much.

    Now is there any possible way to find out anymore about what he said and his reasoning. If James Naismith said it, he must have meant it. If he meant it, I want to to understand this crucial piece of basketball history. We all know Indiana has long been one of the greatest hotbeds of the game at every age category. But I never knew that Naismith thought Indiana decisively determined the game’s early evolution. This is hugely important to understand, if true.



  • @jaybate-1.0 He had to get his room and meal comped. He couldn’t go to the Indiana yokels and say Kansas was best, so he had to give them some fluff.



  • KUSTEVE said:

    @jaybate-1.0 He had to get his room and meal comped. He couldn’t go to the Indiana yokels and say Kansas was best, so he had to give them some fluff.

    Yesssssssss! I like your hypothesis.

    But it still needs some backup! 😀



  • This just points to the fact that Naismith eventually found the need to inject some politics into the game. the game had grown and spread across America and no one was better leveraged to make political comments than Naismith.

    The survival of the game was at stake. It just makes me wonder if Naismith said the same thing about other states…



  • @jaybate-1.0 This quote gives a partial explanation:

    The Cradle of Basketball By Jason Crowe From the Summer 1995 issue of Indiana Basketball History Magazine

    It was in 1891 when James A. Naismith invented the game of basketball for his physical education class at a YMCA in Springfield, Mass. They played with a pair of peach baskets and an old soccer ball. It was just a year later when Rev. Nicholas McKay brought the game to Indiana. McKay was taking charge of the Crawfordsville YMCA. He felt this new game of basketball might help keep Hoosier athletes active in the winter months. McKay hired a local blacksmith to forge two hoops. He attached old coffee sacks to catch the ball. And an Indiana tradition was born.

    It didn’t take long for this sport to catch on, with players from Crawfordsville spreading the word about this new game of hoops to nearby communities. As the game spread, innovations began to appear. Like backboards, to keep partisan fans in the balconies from interfering with visitor’s shots. And bottomless nets so the ball no longer needed to be pushed out with a pole.

    Although Naismith had published 13 original rules to govern his game, the actual interpretation of these rules varied widely among Indiana communities.

    By 1911, the state had a state high school basketball tournament, won by none other than the team from Crawfordsville. In 1913 and 1914, the state saw its first back-to-back champions from Wingate High School: a team led by six-foot, four-inch Homer Stonebraker. It was said that Homer Stonebraker could launch his shot from anywhere in the gymnasium with deadly accuracy.

    Teams from Thorntown, Lebanon and Lafayette Jefferson dominated the sport in the early years. And through the 1920s and 1930s basketball spread throughout the state, earning converts in schools from Evansville to Gary. And the state tournament grew as well.

    In 1925, James Naismith himself visited Indiana, to see what enthusiasm his game had inspired among Hoosiers. He watched the state finals among 15,000 screaming fans of Hoosier Hysteria. Later he wrote, “Basketball really had its origin in Indiana, which remains the center of the sport.”



  • Difficult to say why he made that comment; moat logical explanation is that he was just complimenting the local crowd in Indiana which had become very active in basketball.

    Another hypothesis with no proof whatsoever. When Phog Allen told Naismith he was leaving to coach basketball at Baker University Naismith told him: “You can’t coach basketball; you just play it.” Of course Allen went on to become a great coach and is considered the Father of Basketball Coaching. Naismith stopped coaching in 1907 and afterwards he was more involved in academics than sports and he long regarded basketball as a curiosity and preferred gymnastics and wrestling as better forms of physical activity. Looks like there might have been a philosophical difference between them on the approach to the game.

    At the time of the alleged quote, 1936, Allen had been not only coaching at KU since 1919 but was also the Athletic Director until 1937 but continued coaching until 1956. Allen went on to become the best know coach of his time and was key in the formation of the National Association of Basketball Coaches which went on to create the NCAA tournament while Naismith played a role in the formation of the less prestigious National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball, which later became the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

    Again, no proof, but it could have been a veiled stab at Allen which was at the time head of the basketball program at Kansas and ground zero for college basketball.



  • @mayjay

    I have to say I am skeptical of this Indiana historian’s take AND of Naismith’s opinion, and I apologize if that sounds presumptuous, or arrogant. I will try to explain.

    As Solzhenitsyn said, we never understand our own experiences until long afterwards if ever. I suspect Naismith had a great deal of trouble making sense of what exactly he had done and why his game had gone off in so many directions that he could neither control, nor approve of, given his professional standing over time.

    The game developed fastest on the east coast.

    Professional basketball arguably outstripped amateur basketball in development and popularity during the first 30 years after 1891.

    I suspect amateur highschool basketball probably reach an early ubiquity in Indiana, ahead of other places, but I have never read anything documenting that.

    And it likely galled Naismith that professional basketball staged by vaudeville, prize fighting and gambling promoters outstripped the popularity of amateur basketball almost immediately. Naismith was an academician, a scholar, an osteopathic doctor, an amateur athletic administrator and a minister. It was likely that Naismith wanted to view Indiana as being the origin of the kind of basketball that his game ought to be. But that is quite different than how and where most of the sport originated.

    The game flourished most and soonest in the big cities of the east. as a professional sport promoted to be gambled on. Some players were making livings at the game by the late 1890s. By the 19TEENs professional basketball was very popular in most of the big cities of the north east and Great Lakes regions.

    Its second greatest early popularity centered in the YMCA and club teams of the East.The Buffalo Germans were the greatest amateur team of the early era and formed at the Buffalo, NY, YMCA in 1895. The won the Pan American Games in 1901 and the Olympics in 1904.

    Indiana state high school basketball did not even have a state championship until 1911.It was early for high school basketball, but it was late coming in comparison to professional and club basketball.

    Now I want to inject my speculation about Naismith’s take on the game. It got away from him immediately. He favored amateur sports and could not shape either its club amateurism, or its professional development. A minister and an academician, it did not look respectable being the father of a professional sport run for gambling. He always distanced himself from the pro and club sides of the game and tried to help it flourish in college amateurism and apparently from this quote tried to call attention high school amateurism, too.

    This Indiana historian did not even understand Naismith enough to know that Naismith was an athletic director for many years and lent his reputation and influence to promoting college amateur basketball on many occasions. Naismith definitely was NOT indifferent to the development of the game he invented. His problem was that after having lost control of it and having seen it become a fairly sleazy activity on many levels, he had to protect his professional standing be being very selective about how much and in what ways he promoted his affiliation with the game.



  • No theory, just some notes…

    The quote first appeared in the Indianapolis News on March 28, 1936 as “basketball really had its beginning in Indiana which remains today the center of the sport.” He reportedly said it the day before at a dinner at the YMCA in Indianapolis. Naismith was in town to speak at the dinner and to attend the state high school tournament.

    The article went on to say, “Enlarging on his statement, Dr. Naismith pointed to the early organization in 1911 of an Indiana high school basketball tournament and to the success enjoyed by this tourney during the intervening twenty-six years.” “Yes, Indiana’s leadership in the game today is unchallenged, especially in high schools,” he said, "but as for skill – that is to be seen.”

    The Indianapolis Star also covered the dinner but does not mention any such quote by Naismith.

    The quote jaybate gave has a slightly different wording using the word origin instead of beginning and eliminating the word today. This version of the quote is much more widespread.



  • @5yardfuller

    Thanks for the assist!!!

    This is getting interesting as the info accrues!



  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Forgot to say thanks for the assist. Noteworthy about article timing at 1936.

    Thanks!



  • @jaybate-1.0 I’d like to believe that Naismith was trying to curry favor with the folks in Indiana, as he was heading to the Berlin Olympics later that year for basketball’s first appearance in the Games.

    Earlier in the year, according to the book “The Basketball Man” by Bernice Larson Webb, there was a nationwide “Naismith Night” where one penny from each ticket sold at all games went to a fund so that Dr. Naismith and his wife could travel to Berlin. I wouldn’t be surprised if a big chunk of that money came from Indiana, hotbed of high school basketball that it was (and is).

    His statement could have just been a bit of hyperbole and gratitude to the folks in Indiana as the Naismith Fund continued to snowball. I also wouldn’t discount that as he neared retirement at KU, he was getting nostalgic for the “pure” roots of the game. Maybe he believed that Indiana was doing a better job of developing the sport in a manner that he preferred.

    In an ironic sidebar, KU failed to make it into the tournament that decided the two teams that would qualify for the playoff finals to get that initial USA Olympic berth. But the state of Kansas would still be represented by an AAU team, the McPherson Oilers, who lost in the final to a club sponsored by Universal Pictures (whose big movie that summer, by the way, was “Show Boat”).



  • @nwhawkfan

    JUST AN AWESOME ASSIST. THANKS FOR WEIGHING IN.



  • I’m from Indiana and I’m currently doing an informative essay on Indianas history with basketball. A lot of interesting insight but after reading everyone’s response, I think that you may argue that James was being a suck-up, but none of you have seem to find any information where James complimented another state or school (like Kansas). Now, I’ve stayed in Kansas City for a few months, and my take away from there was that no one really cared about basketball. So if you feel like you have a stake in the origins of Basketball, you don’t. I don’t think I’ve ever heard in my life that Kansas was anything significant in early process of developing basketball. I had never heard of Phog Allen until I read this post, and if we’re being real here, who is he compared to John Wooden? Like come on. Don’t lie to me. If you ever feel like watching a movie, dont forget to watch “Hoosiers”. Reply once you find a movie about Kansas. (Glory Road features Kansas as the championship opponent, but is inaccurate. The oilers played against a team from utah). Have fun dealing with the fact that nobody considers Kansas as a significant piece of basketball history.



  • @pmann “Glory Road features Kansas as the championship opponent, but is inaccurate. The oilers played against a team from utah.”

    It is remarkable that in 2 sentences, you could assert a total of 3 facts, all of which are utterly wrong.

    Perhaps you can research the history of trolling on the internet, something you might be able to get right?



  • This bump made me think maybe jb was back. I hope he is living it up.



  • pmann said:

    I’m from Indiana and I’m currently doing an informative essay on Indianas history with basketball. A lot of interesting insight but after reading everyone’s response, I think that you may argue that James was being a suck-up, but none of you have seem to find any information where James complimented another state or school (like Kansas). Now, I’ve stayed in Kansas City for a few months, and my take away from there was that no one really cared about basketball. So if you feel like you have a stake in the origins of Basketball, you don’t. I don’t think I’ve ever heard in my life that Kansas was anything significant in early process of developing basketball. I had never heard of Phog Allen until I read this post, and if we’re being real here, who is he compared to John Wooden? Like come on. Don’t lie to me. If you ever feel like watching a movie, dont forget to watch “Hoosiers”. Reply once you find a movie about Kansas. (Glory Road features Kansas as the championship opponent, but is inaccurate. The oilers played against a team from utah). Have fun dealing with the fact that nobody considers Kansas as a significant piece of basketball history.

    I would suggest that you miss the sarcasm in the original post. I don’t think anyone here would downplay the state of Indiana’s role as a centerpiece of basketball.

    It would seem to say a lot about you that you would make a point of finding your way to this site, locating a very old thread, and attempting to denigrate Kansas basketball.

    An interesting fact is that the inventor of the game, James Naismith, chose to coach at Kansas and founded our basketball program. It’s also odd, that as a purported student of the game, you wouldn’t know that Phog Allen was commonly referred to as the “father of basketball coaching.” Of course, KU’s fieldhouse is named after Allen. I am just a fan of the game, but I know the names and origins of most of the arenas of the top CBB programs. It would seem to be a reasonable base of knowledge if I were an essayist.

    You might also not know that that a number of great coaches played basketball at Kansas, including Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp, and Ralph Miller. Each went on to impressive careers, of course, at UNC, UK, and Oregon St. And each of them was coached by the fellow you’ve never heard of, Phog Allen. Allen also coached the 1952 gold medal winning Olympic team.

    Allen, the guy you’ve never heard of, was in the inaugural class of the Naismith memorial basketball hall of fame.

    So get back to your informative essay, cubby. Research abounds. You could note in that essay that no one considers IU or the state of Indiana a significant piece of recent basketball history, but that might not be appropriate. I suggest you stick to the good stuff.



  • pmann said:

    I’m from Indiana and I’m currently doing an informative essay on Indianas history with basketball. A lot of interesting insight but after reading everyone’s response, I think that you may argue that James was being a suck-up, but none of you have seem to find any information where James complimented another state or school (like Kansas). Now, I’ve stayed in Kansas City for a few months, and my take away from there was that no one really cared about basketball. So if you feel like you have a stake in the origins of Basketball, you don’t. I don’t think I’ve ever heard in my life that Kansas was anything significant in early process of developing basketball. I had never heard of Phog Allen until I read this post, and if we’re being real here, who is he compared to John Wooden? Like come on. Don’t lie to me. If you ever feel like watching a movie, dont forget to watch “Hoosiers”. Reply once you find a movie about Kansas. (Glory Road features Kansas as the championship opponent, but is inaccurate. The oilers played against a team from utah). Have fun dealing with the fact that nobody considers Kansas as a significant piece of basketball history.

    You don’t do any favors to Indiana or its fans by posting something like this.

    Fortunately, this community, which understands Kansas legacy in basketball, also appreciates Indiana’s legacy in basketball.

    I also suspect that the larger community who appreciate and understand Indiana basketball will have an appropriate understanding and appreciation for Kansas basketball.

    Keep researching and good luck on your high school essay.



  • @bskeet “high school essay”? Really?

    We all know it’s middle school.



  • @pmann You’re as useful and goofy as a football bat. Everyone living in this country has heard of Kansas Basketball. Anyone that considers themselves a fan of the game knows of Phogg and Naismith. Tell your Mom to get you another hot pocket and your Hoosier ain’t done jack crap in 30 years, ever since they stopped letting Knight choke people.



  • @pmann, I would say many more recruits know about Kansas basketball than Indiana basketball. I would also say we KU fans are still fresh off the glow of 3 different national championship games and 1 other final four since you lost the NC in 2002, a final four that we were at too. In fact, since your last championship in 1987 you’ve made 3 elite 8’s. We’re winning that contest by 17, as in we’ve had 20. Indiana is a has been. They’re like Nebraska football who keeps crowing how great they are based on the 70’s-90’s. Indiana is like the 70 year old man you see on the beach who everyone’s thinking dude, you’ve lost your glory days, cover that mess up. I live in Indiana. It smells like steel and oil. The whole state smells. There’s nothing good in it. There’s just trolls there. Thanks for visiting.



  • wissox said:

    @pmann I live in Indiana. It smells like steel and oil. The whole state smells. There’s nothing good in it. There’s just trolls there. Thanks for visiting.

    I live in Dayton Ohio and have a lot of IU fan friends. The one thing I will agree with them on is that if they recruited the state they would be national contenders a lot. Kansas cant say that.



  • @BigBad said " if they recruited the state they would be national contenders a lot."

    If a frog had wings they wouldn’t wear their butt out hoppin.



  • I miss Jaybate. At first, when I see these old posts, I think he has finally returned.



  • @stoptheflop I had the same thought.



  • @wissox PHOF!


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