Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to Celebrate the Birthday of Basketball with Special Event

SPRINGFIELD, MA – On December 21, 1891, a physical education instructor named James Naismith introduced a new game to a class of young men in an otherwise unremarkable gymnasium at the YMCA International Training School, a school now known as Springfield College, in Springfield, Mass. The objective of this game seemed simple; throw a round ball into a round basket tacked to a balcony 10 feet above the floor. The pace of the game was slow and its origins humble, but the new pastime spread quickly and by 1894, basketball was being played in France, China, India and more than a dozen other countries.

On Wednesday, December 21, 2016, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the basketball community will celebrate 125 years of basketball – a game that has grown tremendously on the global stage and positively impacted an immeasurable number of players, coaches and fans.  As part of this celebration, Auburn, Boston College, Fairfield and Oklahoma will take the court at Mohegan Sun Arena for the celebratory Birthday of Basketball double-header.

“The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is proud to promote and preserve the game we love,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “We look forward to celebrating the 125th anniversary of basketball in December and hosting these tremendous programs and their fans.”

The head coaches of the four programs set to compete echoed this enthusiasm:

Bruce Pearl, Auburn

"This is a tremendous opportunity for our team to compete against a program that played in the Final Four last season. It is an honor to play in an event celebrating the Birthday of Basketball and we look forward to exploring the Hall and learning about the history of this game.”

Jim Christian, Boston College

“We are very excited to play in the Birthday of Basketball event this season. This will be a fantastic occasion; celebrating the game we love. It is important for everyone, especially young men involved in the game, to understand and appreciate the history of this great sport."

Sydney Johnson, Fairfield

"We look forward to resuming our series with Boston College and taking part in this prestigious event. This event showcases four distinguished institutions and will be highly anticipated by our fan base."

Lon Kruger, Oklahoma

“We are extremely excited to participate in the Basketball Hall of Fame’s Birthday of Basketball event this December. It will no doubt be a unique experience for our team and a great opportunity to compete against a program like Auburn.”

The double-header will feature Fairfield vs. Boston College and Oklahoma vs. Auburn. Game times, television details and ticket information for the Birthday of Basketball event will be released at a later date.

About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame:

Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was invented, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame promotes and preserves the game of basketball at every level – professional, collegiate and high school, for both men and women on the global stage.


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