The NBA basketball season recently kicked off with plenty of trades, drama and dreams of championships. How did this game turn into one of the world's most popular sports? Part of the legacy of basketball can be traced back to the pieces of paper shown above, the 13 rules for basketball that James Naismith wrote down in 1891. Naismith, a physical education instructor at a YMCA training school in Springfield, Massachusetts, had been charged with coming up with a new indoor activity for his gym class. The simple set of rules went on to define a new sport that caught on like wildfire. Naismith died in 1939, three years after basketball became an official Olympic sport.
On December 10 those rules will be put up for auction at Sotheby's in New York and are expected to bring in at least $2 million. The proceeds will go to the Naismith International Basketball Foundation, which promotes sportsmanship and provides services to underprivileged youths. Ian Naismith, a grandson of James Naismith, said it was a family decision to auction off the rules and put the money back into the foundation.
"We need to take the money and work the money back into kids," Ian Naismith told The Associated Press. "We call it recycling. With the economy going south the last couple of years, my stroke, my wife passing away, it was more important to me to have the game go back into the kids. It's what Dr. Naismith wanted." The rules could bring in over $2 million.
The Sotheby's auction on December 10 will also feature Robert F. Kennedy's copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, one of only 26 copies signed by Abraham Lincoln, and a battle flag recovered from the Battle of Little Bighorn.