In contrast to other sports, basketball has a clear origin. It is not the evolution from an ancient game or another sport and the inventor is well known: Dr. James Naismith. Naismith was born in 1861 in Ramsay township, Ontario, Canada. He graduated as a physician at McGill University in Montreal and was primarily interested in sports physiology.
In 1891, while working as a physical education teacher at the YMCA International Training School (today, Springfield College) in the United States, Naismith was faced with the problem of finding in 14 days an indoor game to provide "athletic distraction" for the students at the School for Christian Workers (Naismith was also a Presbyterian minister).
After discarding the idea of adapting outdoor games like soccer and lacrosse, Naismith recalled the concept of a game of his school days known as duck-on-a-rock that involved accuracy attempting to knock a "duck" off the top of a large rock by tossing another rock at it.
Starting from there, Naismith developed a set of 13 rules that gave origin to the game of basketball. .
Of course it was not exactly as we know it today. The first game was played with a soccer ball and two peach baskets nailed 10-feet high used as goals, on a court just half the size of a present-day court. The baskets retained their bottoms so balls scored into the basket had to be poked out with a long dowel each time and dribbling (bouncing of the ball up and down while moving) was not part of the original game.
The sport was an instant success and thanks to the initial impulse received by the YMCA movement, basketball's popularity quickly grew nationwide and was introduced in many nations. Although Naismith never saw the game develop into the spectacular game we know these days, he had the honor to witness basketball become an Olympic sport at the 1936 Games held in Berlin.