It was Springfield where, in 1891, a young Canadian physical education instructor called James Naismith first invented basketball. The game is celebrated at this state-of-the art museum. Though the emphasis at the basketball hall of fame seems to be more hoopla than hoops – there's an abundance of multiscreened TVs and disembodied cheering – devotees of the game will be thrilled to shoot baskets, feel the center-court excitement and learn about the sport's history and great players.
Naismith (1861–1939), who came to Springfield to work at the International YMCA Training School (later Springfield College), wanted to develop a good, fast team sport that could be played indoors during the long New England winters. In December of 1891, he had the idea of nailing two wooden peach baskets to opposite walls in the college gymnasium. He wrote down 13 rules for the game (12 of which are still used), and thus basketball was born.