Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball

by John Coy and Joe Morse

In 1891, James Naismith became the third teacher to take on a gym class full of unruly,... read more

In 1891, James Naismith became the third teacher to take on a gym class full of unruly, energetic older boys. He tried indoor football. Indoor soccer. Lacrosse. The students excelled at injuring one another. That's when he remembered Duck on a Rock, a game he'd played as a child involving stones. It required accuracy over strength. Obviously, stones were not a good idea with this group. But what about trying to throw a ball into a goal off the ground? Accuracy would be essential. There were no boxes available for goals, only peach baskets, but the students were hooked from the first time they played. The game's popularity quickly spread. In 1892, when a group of women asked Naismith if they could play he replied, "I don't see why not." In 1936, basketball became an Olympic sport, with Naismith honored during the opening ceremonies. John Coy's picture-book account of the creation of basketball is given sophisticated visual treatment by Joe Morse. His distinctive style, with slightly elongated, angled figures and a muted palette, will appeal to older readers, as will his final image showing a group of contemporary players on the court. (Ages 7-11)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2014

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