Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 3:27 PM ET, 12/10/2010

James Naismith's basketball rules bring $4.3 million at Sotheby's auction

By Cindy Boren


The "birth certificate" of basketball has sold at auction for more than $4 million.

The document, which is typed but also contains hand-written notes, is nearly 119 years old and lists James Naismith's 13 rules of the game. David G. Booth, co-founder of Dimensional Fund Advisors and a native of Lawrence, Kans., and his wife, Suzanne, reportedly bought the document for $4.3 million and hope to bring it to the University of Kansas. Naismith was the school's first basketball coach.

A physical education instructor at a Springfield, Mass., YMCA, Naismith had been given two weeks to invent a winter diversion for gym class. On Dec. 21, 1891 -- the eve of the deadline -- Naismith wrote the rules and gave them to his secretary, who typed them on two pages that Naismith pinned on a bulletin board outside the gym.

"It's really the genesis, the birth certificate of one of the world's most popular sports," said Selby Kiffer, senior specialist in American history documents at Sotheby's, which sold the rules for the Dr. James Naismith International Basketball Foundation.

Ian Naismith, foundation founder and grandson of James Naismith (who moved to Lawrence, Kan., in 1898), said when the document went up for sale:

"It's what Dr. Naismith wanted."

By Cindy Boren  | December 10, 2010; 3:27 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini says he is not interviewing for Miami job
Next: New York Giants diverted to Kansas City by snowstorm in Minnesota

No comments have been posted to this entry.

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company