Of the major sports enjoyed in the U.S., basketball is the only one purely American, though invented by a Canadian.

As baseball has its roots in cricket (England), football in rugby (England), and hockey in Canada, basketball was conceived and introduced in the U.S.

This all-American of sport owes its 1891 creation to physical education instructor Dr. ( graduate student at the time) James J. Naismith. Tasked with maintaining the conditioning of his YMCA athletes indoors during winter months in Springfield Massachusetts, he is singularly credited with a sport now played at all levels of competition throughout the world.

Originally using a soccer ball and two fruit baskets (the bottoms were removed later), Naismith eventually designed a larger leather ball in conjunction with the now- famous Spalding Co.

The greatest level of early basketball activity outside the YMCAs were the colleges, with Vanderbilt playing the first game against a YMCA team in Nashville, Tenn. But, with the advent of WW1, American troops brought the game with them while stationed here and abroad.

With basketball growing steadily, the International Basketball Federation was stablished in 1932, and its efforts were fundamental in the sport’s first inclusion in Olympic play in the 1936 Berlin games.

The Basketball Association of America was founded in 1946, and, three years later, merged with the rival National Basketball League, creating today’s multi-billion dollar NBA.

The DePace Museum pays tribute to this great home-grown sport with its extensive collection of basketball artifacts, uniforms and memorabilia representing every level of play, from college, to Olympic to the pros.

Here can be seen actual letters from Dr. Naismith, uniforms and game used equipment of Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, Bill Walton, Michael
Jordan, Oscar Roberson, Joel Embiid, Lebron James and with many other “hardwood” giants past and present. Also displayed Are Olympic and Panama Games trophies and gold medals, as well as Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s (Lew Alcindor at the time) Lester Scott and Outstanding Player trophies from his days at UCLA.

DePace Sports Museum
475 Hurffville - Cross Keys Road
Sewell, NJ 08080
Museum Hours : By Appointment Only.
Call - 856-270-2573
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