Original rules of basketball sell for sports record

Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:19pm EST
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By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two Kansas University basketball fans paid more than $4.3 million on Friday for the faded and soiled original rules of basketball drawn up by the sport's founder, James Naismith, more than a century ago.

The auction price for Naismith's "Founding Rules of Basketball" -- two signed typescript pages spelling out the 13 original rules for the game -- set a record for a piece of sports memorabilia.

The founding basketball rules, headed "Basket Ball" written in Naismith's hand, were typed up in December 1891 on the morning he introduced the sport to the world.

The 10-by-8-inch pages, bearing tape marks from Naismith's attempts to preserve them, had been expected to sell for about $2 million. They were sold by the Naismith International Basketball Foundation

The rules were bought by David and Suzanne Booth, who said they hoped to bring them to the University of Kansas, home to a rich college basketball tradition.

The Canadian-born Naismith was Kansas' first basketball coach.

Basketball has become one of the most popular U.S. sports, along with baseball and football, and is booming in places such as China and Eastern Europe.

The previous sports memorabilia record was set in 1999 when the baseball hit by Mark McGwire to break the single-season home run record in 1998 sold for $3 million.   Continued...