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James Naismith’s draft of 13 original rules for basketball up for auction

Oct 26, 2010, 2:31 PM EDT

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James Naismith invented an elegantly simple game. Just 13 rules.

The game has evolved. There has become amazing complexity to get to the simple goal of putting the ball in the basket. The rulebook is now painfully thick.

But you can own the original, simple 13 rules. Ian Naismith, grandson of James, is putting the original recordings of the rules up for auction through Sotheby’s, according to the New York Times (via Ball Don’t Lie).

It’s likely going to cost you a cool $2 million to get the two type-written (and still legible) pages in your home. Unless Mark Cuban gets involved, then all bets are off. Just ask Nolan Ryan. The auction is in Manhattan on Dec. 10. (Just in time for anyone looking to get me a Christmas gift.)

Hopefully they land in an appropriate place, where they can be appreciated and cared for properly.

We also recommend reading the NYT story by Rickard Sandomir, which is a fascinating look back at the evolution of the rules for the game — Naismith’s rules do not account for dribbling, students at his YMCA in Springfield, Mass., invented that themselves. The story follows the evolution forward, however does not have any explanation for the league’s current technicals crackdown.

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