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The Origins of 7 Popular Sports

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Lacrosse is older than the printing press. Golf was invented before Abraham Lincoln was born, but basketball didn’t exist until decades after his death. Figure His first book on skating was published before the Declaration of Independence.

Sport, like society itself, is enduring and evolving. From antiquity to his 19th century, we present the fascinating origins of seven of his most popular games.

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1. Basketball

Basketball is the only major American sport whose inventor can be clearly identified. James Naismith wrote the sport’s first 13 rules in December 1891 as part of a class assignment at his School of Training at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Springfield, Massachusetts. Born and educated in Canada, Naismith came south to pursue his interest in physical education. Naismith tried to make a game that could be played in the gym during the winter. The first ever basketball game was played on December 21, 1891. read more

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