James A. Naismith (November 6, 1861 – November 28, 1939) was a Canadian and American sports coach and innovator. He invented the sport of basketball in 1891 and is often credited with introducing the first football helmet. He wrote the original basketball rulebook, founded the University of Kansas basketball program, and lived to see basketball adopted as an Olympic demonstration sport in 1904 and as an official event at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.
Born in Ontario, Canada, Naismith studied physical education in Montreal before moving to the United States, where he developed basketball in late 1891 while enrolled at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. Naismith also studied medicine in Denver, taking his MD in 1898 before moving to the University of Kansas. Following a number of years as a faculty member and part-time basketball coach—during the sport's fledgling years (1898–1907)—at the University of Kansas, Naismith moved on to further academic obligations at that university, where he also served as the Athletic Director for the Kansas Jayhawks. He became a U.S. citizen in 1925.
Naismith's contributions to basketball have earned him several posthumous honours, such as in the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame, the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, the Ontario Sports Legends Hall of Fame, the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame, the McGill University Sports Hall of Fame, the Kansas State Sports Hall of Fame and the FIBA Hall of Fame. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, was named in Naismith's honour.