Ranking James Naismith’s original rules for the sport of basketball

Born in Canada, James Naismith studied physical education in Montreal before moving to the United States, where he literally invented the game of basketball in 1891 (makes you think twice about making fun of those friends taking badminton classes for their phys ed. majors).

After the game itself was invented, Naismith went on the found the Kansas basketball program and helped to get basketball into the Olympics for the first time in 1936.

The game has changed, morphing into the ultra fast-paced, internationally transcendent game we know it as today. That said, players such as LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and all the rest, owe their millions in salaries and shoe deals to Naismith’s original set of 13 simple rules.

Deadspin has taken the time to rank those rules, from the few that are no longer a part of the game to the one that has come to define an entire culture.

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13.“6. A foul is striking at the ball with the fist, violation of Rules 3, 4, and such as described in Rule 5.”

12. “2. The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands (never with the fist).”

11. “7. If either side makes three consecutive fouls, it shall count a goal for the opponents (consecutive means without the opponents in the mean time making a foul).”

10. “4. The ball must be held in or between the hands; the arms or body must not be used for holding it.”

9. “10. The umpire shall be judge of the men and shall note the fouls and notify the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made. He shall have power to disqualify men according to Rule 5.”

8. “11. The referee shall be judge of the ball and shall decide when the ball is in play, in bounds, to which side it belongs, and shall keep the time. He shall decide when a goal has been made, and keep account of the goals with any other duties that are usually performed by a referee.”

7. “12. The time shall be two 15-minute halves, with five minutes’ rest between.”

6. “5. No shouldering, holding, pushing, tripping, or striking in any way the person of an opponent shall be allowed; the first infringement of this rule by any player shall count as a foul, the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is made, or, if there was evident intent to injure the person, for the whole of the game, no substitute allowed.”

5. “9. When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall be thrown into the field of play by the person first touching it. In case of a dispute, the umpire shall throw it straight into the field. The thrower-in is allowed five seconds; if he holds it longer, it shall go to the opponent. If any side persists in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on that side.”

4. “1. The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.”

3. “3. A player cannot run with the ball. The player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it, allowance to be made for a man who catches the ball when running at a good speed if he tries to stop.”

2. “13. The side making the most goals in that time shall be declared the winner. In case of a draw, the game may, by agreement of the captains, be continued until another goal is made.”

1. “8. A goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from the grounds into the basket and stays there, providing those defending the goal do not touch or disturb the goal. If the ball rests on the edges, and the opponent moves the basket, it shall count as a goal.”

What do you think Gamedayr Nation? Have the rules been ranked properly? Sound off in the comments below!

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