The roots of basketball are firmly embedded in Canada. In 1891 the game was invented by Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian who hailed from Almonte, Ontario.

Having been given the task of creating a new indoor sports activity while conducting a physical education class at the international YMCA training school in Springfield, Massachusetts, Naismith designed what we now call basketball. The original game involved 13 rules and a peach basket hung ten feet above the floor. Even though it took place in the United States, at least ten of the players who participated in the first-ever game were university students from Quebec.

James Naismith
Basketball was invented by Canadian Dr. James Naismith.

Basketball played by school and local amateur teams has been part of the Canadian sports scene since the turn of the century. Hoops teams representing Canada have participated in Olympic Games since 1936 and in the World Championships since 1954.

One of the most storied amateur teams in Canadian basketball history is the Edmonton Commercial Graduates (Grad's), a group of Canadian women who dominated the sport in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Over 25 years, the Grad's played 522 games at home and abroad, against both women's and men's teams. The Grad's accomplished a record-breaking winning streak of 147 games and throughout their basketball tenure won a remarkable 502 times.

The National Basketball Association also has origins in Canada. The NBA's first game was played in Toronto over fifty years ago, on November 1, 1946 when the New York Knickerbockers defeated the Toronto Huskies 68-66 at Maple Leaf Gardens. The teams were part of the Basketball Association of America, the forerunner to the NBA.

The Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies joined the NBA beginning in the 1995-96 season, becoming the first non-U.S. cities to join the league since the Toronto Huskies were one-year members of the BAA. In summer 2001, the Grizzlies relocated from Vancouver to Memphis, Tennessee.