「レッツゴー キャム!」Cam, Ikuzo! Come follow Camden’s journey! August 2023


History of Basketball & What I Love About Basketball in Japan

For the first time since coming to Japan, I held a lecture for citizens of Matsudo as part of the “MIEA World Tour” series, and during it I talked about the inventor of basketball, James Naismith, and the situation he was in at the time of creating the sport. It was a good opportunity for getting to know more about the sport, as even most people who love basketball are not familiar with the story of its creation.

The place where basketball was first invented is in Springfield, Massachusetts, a city that is nearby the state of Maine which is my home state. James Naismith then later became the first basketball head coach of the University of Kansas, which is my alma mater. So his story is one that is not just important an American culture perspective, but I also feel that it is closely tied to my own experiences. And as a University of Kansas graduate it was an honor to be put in a position where I could share with a wider audience a story that is very important to my school. In fact, 8 years ago a professor at the University of Kansas discovered what is the only known recording of James Naismith’s voice, from when he was interviewed on radio broadcast in the year 1939. For the “MIEA World Tour” event I translated this recording into Japanese, and read it aloud alongside the original audio. In the recording Naismith talks about how the events unfolded, starting from when he invented the sport as a physical education instructor to occupy his students who were getting rowdy due to being stuck inside during a blizzard, all the way up until when he eventually got to watch the sport he created in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games a few years prior.

By the way, the uniform I was wearing during the lecture is for the recreational basketball team I am playing for, called the “Mutsumi Raiders.” If you are wondering about the differences between basketball in America and Japan, one of the big ones is how Japan tournaments always use a “shot clock” which is for a enforcing a rule that the teams have 24 seconds to put up a shot for each possession. In America, leagues that are below professional level do not use this rule, so I would suspect that most people who come from overseas to play in Japanese basketball leagues are surprised at the fast pace at which the game is played here. Including the person who is in charge of controlling the shot clock, players waiting to play and players who have finished playing each have a role to take care of for the other tournament games so that everything can run smoothly, which I believe to be a wonderful part about how the sport is treated here. This may be something that seems very commonplace for people who compete in the sport in Japan, but it is actually quite rare to find non-professional leagues aimed at adults in America with this level of organization.

Recreational basketball tournament (Yokaichiba Dome)

I would love to host another “MIEA World Tour” lecture on basketball to share more about the sport’s charm, so to anyone who would like to deepen their knowledge on the sport, please be on the lookout for it!







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「レッツゴー キャム!」Cam, Ikuzo! Come follow Camden’s journey!







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