James Naismith (1861-1939) was a Canadian-born coach and sports instructor, best known as the inventor of basketball. He invented the game while he was a coach at Springfield College and the local YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891 and wrote the game's original rules.
He is said to have based his game on a game which dates back to medieval times, he played as a child called duck on a rock, in which one player guards a large stone, while the other players try to knock it down with smaller stones. He called his game basketball because the goals were peach baskets when the first game was played at the “Y” in December of 1891. In the next few years, word spread about Naismith's new game, and some people wanted to call it "Naismith Ball" in his honor, but Naismith refused.
Thanks to the "Y" and its international chapters, basketball quickly became popular around the world. Naismith would later transfer to the University of Kansas in 1898 where he coached the team there.
Naismith himself was surprised that his game would become so popular and was able to live long enough to see it become an Olympic sport in 1936.