Naismith's original rules may fetch $2 million


When James Naismith write down the 13 original rules for basketball 119 years ago, “it wasn’t worth a dime,” as his grandson, Ian, told the N.Y. Times.

When the document is auctioned in Dec., it could fetch $2 million.

Who would’ve guessed two worn, typewritten pages could be so valuable? It could push Mark McGwire 70th home run ball ($3 million) as the most expensive auctioned sports item of all time.


For anyone without a sense of history, here’s why:

“This is like Athena bursting out of Naismith’s head, full-blown,” Selby Kiffer, the senior specialist for historic American manuscripts at Sotheby’s, told the Times. “There’s nothing like this in the history of sport — and it’s in two humble typewritten pages.”

There’s more to be found in this Richard Sandomir article, which details some of the rules and where they were kept through the years.

So why is the family selling the rules? Naismith’s family needs the money to replenish the Naismith International Basketball Foundation.

Well, at least the family name will still be on the rules.

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.