University of Kansas donors David
and Suzanne Booth bought Dr. James Naismith's 13 rules of basketball for $4.3 million in December. Finally, those rules will be displayed in Kansas City at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art during March Madness.
Best of all, you can see the exhibit for free (although no one's going to be mad at you if you drop a few bucks in the donation box). The Nelson-Atkins is calling the exhibit: "James Naismith's Original Rules of Basket Ball." It opens Saturday, March 5, in Kirkwood Hall and will remain on display through May 29 (well after a national champion has been crowned).
"My family is very proud to bring this important treasure to the
Nelson-Atkins, where the rules will be enjoyed by sports fans and
museum-goers alike," David Booth said in a statement.
"The Booths understand the pride, the intensity and the traditions that
people in the Midwest hold for their teams, and we are extremely
grateful for their generosity in sharing this historic document with our
visitors," Julián Zugazagoitia, the director and CEO of the Museum,
said in a statement. "The Nelson-Atkins is attuned to this part of our
cultural fabric, and we all look forward to celebrating James Naismith's
entrepreneurship and world legacy."
The exhibit's timing is perfect with the Big 12 Men's and Women's Basketball
Championships (March 9-12), the MIAA basketball championships (March 3-6) and the NAIA tournament (March 16-22) in Kansas City.
The 120-year-old document was almost
lost forever at a Kansas City, Kansas, Hooters -- as Pitch editor Joe Tone pointed
out back in October.
Naismith's grandson Ian Naismith was dining at a Hooters
with the rules (why he would take them inside the restaurant is beyond
thought he'd left them in a fireproof briefcase on a stool in a
bathroom near a pay phone. Naismith later found the rules in the briefcase under the seat
of his van.
The rules are typed on two sheets of paper, which have obviously
yellowed with age. Naismith used them to introduce the game to young men
at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield,
Massachusetts. He nailed up a couple of peach baskets on the end of a
court, and the game was born.
"It's really the genesis, the birth certificate of one of the world's
most popular sports," Selby Kifer, senior specialist in American history
documents at Sotheby's, said in a statement. "It's a sport that has had
an impact on everything from fashion, such as sneakers, to culture in a
way that transcends sports."
The Booths and KU are in talks to find a permanent home for the rules in
Lawrence, where Naismith was KU's first basketball coach. It's only fitting.