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Basketball Hall of Fame to Honor Naismith with Year-long Celebration

SPRINGFIELD — On Dec. 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 in Springfield.

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 Dec. 21, 2016, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the basketball community will celebrate 125 years of basketball, and will precede that date with a year of special activities and events.

“The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is proud to promote and preserve the game we love,” said John Doleva, president and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “The game has reached far more people than Dr. Naismith could have ever imagined, and we look forward to commemorating his legacy and the great game of basketball during this momentous anniversary.”

Beginning in 2016, the Hall of Fame will recognize the 125 best basketball venues, ranging from high-school gymnasiums to NBA arenas. Beginning this spring, the official Basketball Hall of Fame Twitter account (@hoophall) will host a number of basketball-themed countdowns, such as the top 125 basketball shoes of all time and the top 125 moments in the history of basketball. Fans are encouraged to use the hashtag #naismithday to share their special basketball moments and memories.

Aug. 19, 125 days before the 125th anniversary, will serve as the official countdown date for the 125th-anniversary auction on www.hoophall.com. Basketball fans will have the opportunity to bid on 125 collectibles of the game, including autographed enshrinement memorabilia from the Hall of Fame’s private collection.

The festivities will culminate with a one-day event on Dec. 21, 2016. Additional special events may be unveiled throughout 2016.

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