On this day in 1861 Dr. James Naismith was born. James Naismith is the inventor of the game of basketball. Naismith wrote the original basketball rulebook, started the basketball program at the University of Kansas and lived to see the game of basketball become an Olympic sport. He invented basketball in Springfield, Massachusetts where the Basketball Hall of Fame would later be located. Naismith died in 1939 at the age of 78.