Basketball was created in Massachusetts, however the spirit of the game rests in Lawrence where its unparalleled history with the game has earned it the title of the Cradle of Basketball. This history began when James Naismith, the creator of basketball, moved to Lawrence soon after inventing the game and in 1898 became the first ever University of Kansas basketball coach. Naismith’s legacy, besides the creation of basketball, includes over 40 years at KU and the creation of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
Adding to the rich history of the game at KU, Phog Allen took the basketball world by storm when he became head coach in 1907, beginning a 50 season KU coaching career. While James Naismith is the Father of Basketball, Phog Allen is known as the Father of Basketball Coaching. Allen left his mark on the game by radically shifting what it meant to be a coach, creating the National Association of Basketball Coaches with James Naismith, being key in adding the game to the Olympics, and retiring as the winningest coach in basketball.
Sports aficionados can experience basketball history with a visit to the Booth Family Hall of Athletics where alongside exhibits dedicated to a variety of KU sports are sections featuring James Naismith, Phog Allen, Wilt Chamberlain, and many others who, while at KU, shaped the game that swept the nation. The DeBruce Center, opening in spring 2016, will add an exhibit dedicated to housing James Naismith’s original handwritten rules of Basketball.