Archive for Friday, December 10, 2010

Booths purchase original Naismith basketball rules at auction for more than $4 million

Auctioneer David Redden, right, closes the bidding for the Naismith Rules, the original rules for basketball, framed at center, Friday at Sotheby’s in New York. Standing by the rules is former Harlem Globetrotters basketball player Curly Neal. The rules were purchased by David and Suzanne Booth, who hope to bring the document to Kansas University.

Auctioneer David Redden, right, closes the bidding for the Naismith Rules, the original rules for basketball, framed at center, Friday at Sotheby’s in New York. Standing by the rules is former Harlem Globetrotters basketball player Curly Neal. The rules were purchased by David and Suzanne Booth, who hope to bring the document to Kansas University.

December 10, 2010, 9:33 a.m. Updated December 10, 2010, 6:32 p.m.


David G. Booth, a 1964 Lawrence High School graduate, is chairman and chief executive officer  of Dimensional Fund Advisors.

David G. Booth, a 1964 Lawrence High School graduate, is chairman and chief executive officer of Dimensional Fund Advisors.

The David Booth file

David Booth moved with his family to Lawrence in 1959.

The family lived at 1931 Naismith Drive, just south of Allen Fieldhouse.

In 1968, David, a Lawrence High School graduate, earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Kansas University. He also earned a master's degree in business at KU before heading to the University of Chicago.

The Booth Family Hall of Athletics at Allen Fieldhouse was financed in large part by David Booth and other members of the Booth family — in honor of Gilbert and Betty Booth, longtime Jayhawk fans and Lawrence residents.

David Booth, who lives in Austin, Texas, is a member of the KU Endowment Association's board of trustees.

In 2008, he donated $300 million to the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, which was renamed in his honor.

A photo of the original rules of "Basket Ball," written by James Naismith and sold at auction Dec. 10, 2010. The rules sold for $4.34 million.

A photo of the original rules of "Basket Ball," written by James Naismith and sold at auction Dec. 10, 2010. The rules sold for $4.34 million.

Lawrence High and Kansas University graduate David Booth felt so strongly that the two pages on which James Naismith wrote the original 13 rules of basketball should find a home on the KU campus he paid $4.3 million in an auction Friday to guarantee that.

David and his wife, Suzanne Booth, purchased the rules via telephone at an auction that took place at Sotheby’s in New York City, where the rules were sold by the Naismith International Basketball Foundation.

“We’re very excited about it,” David Booth said from his office in Austin, Texas. “I think they need to figure out an appropriate venue for them. I don’t know what that is. Maybe in a (new) museum. Maybe with the statue of Naismith looking back at Phog (Allen). I think it’s a little bigger than the Booth Family Hall of Athletics. This is serious stuff.”

How serious? A copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln and purchased by Robert F. Kennedy drew $3.7 million at the same auction.

The exact price the Booths bid for the rules, written on Dec. 21, 1891, and signed by Naismith in 1931, was $4,338,500, a sports memorabilia record, according to Sotheby’s.

Asked how much higher he would have bid, Booth said, “It was getting close.”

Booth’s motivation for bringing the rules back to where the game’s founder is buried was that “they’re incredibly important and they should be at the University of Kansas. Naismith was there 40 years. He invented basketball and Phog Allen was one of the key figures in making it so popular. Nobody else was going to do it (buy the rules to bring them to KU).”

Booth said he spoke with KU basketball coach Bill Self on Thursday and again Friday, after making the winning bid.

“He’s fired-up,” Booth said. “He looks forward to creating the right venue for them and we’ll work with them. He’s fabulous. He was a factor in us doing this, just his enthusiasm and the way he’s made me feel over the years. He’s amazing how he can make people feel great.”

Booth said that a Wednesday night visit from Mark Allen, Phog’s grandson and a Kansas City physician, was the final push to embolden Booth and his wife for the auction.

“That sealed the deal that we wanted to get aggressive,” Booth said. “Mark helped to give Suzanne the background and importance of Naismith and Allen.”

Booth said Mark Allen also “did a lot of work researching to make sure it was authentic.”

James Naismith’s grandson, Ian Naismith, told the Associated Press in an October interview that the family decided to put the rules on the auction block and to give the money to the Naismith charity that promotes sportsmanship and provides services to underprivileged children.

Many of the 13 rules have been adapted or abandoned since Naismith wrote them for a winter sport for boys of a YMCA in Springfield, Mass. For example, rule No. 7 states: “If either side makes three consecutive fouls it shall count as a goal for the opponents (consecutive means without the opponents in the meantime making a foul).”

“There were some funny ones,” Booth said. “The whole thing seems kind of funny.”

KU chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little expressed gratitude for the Booths’ efforts.

“We are delighted to learn that David and Suzanne Booth have acquired Naismith’s Rules of Basketball, a piece of sports history that is intertwined with the University of Kansas and its storied tradition of basketball excellence,” Gray-Little said in a statement. “Naismith was KU’s first coach and started what would become one of the winningest college basketball programs in the nation and certainly the most tradition-rich.”

Dale Seuferling, president of KU Endowment, said that he and interim athletic director Sean Lester visited Friday afternoon with David Booth and learned of his desire for the rules to be displayed at KU.

“On behalf of all Jayhawk fans, we thank him for his generosity,” Seuferling said.

David Booth graduated from LHS in 1964. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1968 and a master’s degree in business from KU in 1969.


BigPrune 7 years ago

That would be something nice to add to KU's little basketball museum thingy in Allen Fieldhouse.

Jack Hope III 7 years ago

Hey Roy Williams and Dean Smith, buy this and donate it to the museum. All sins forgiven.

ksjayhawk74 7 years ago

This article should give more information about who James Naismith is for people who might not know.

CreatureComforts 7 years ago

Lawrence residency should be revoked...

ksjayhawk74 7 years ago

Oh, I know who James Naismith is.

txjayhawk54 7 years ago

I sincerely hope that the rules end up at KU

somedude20 7 years ago

well it is not too late to buy Custer's last flag: "A flag that accompanied Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and his 7th Cavalry into their final battle 134 years ago will be put up for auction by the auction house Sotheby's on Friday." "The Custer flag sale price may exceed Sotheby's $2 million to $5 million estimate, but the hope is that the sale will come close to the $12.3 million paid for a Revolutionary battle flag in 2006, a record for any military relic at auction."

Jeanne Cunningham 7 years ago

In the article it clearly states, "It was purchased by David and Suzanne Booth, who hope to bring the rules to Kansas University."

Jonathan Kealing 7 years ago

We just updated that moments ago. All these other comments were from before that time.

KansasPerson 7 years ago

At the top of the article it clearly states, "December 10, 2010, 9:33 a.m. Updated December 10, 2010, 2:55 p.m."


gerald_bostock 7 years ago

he donated $300 million to the University of Chicago business school, so this is just a drop in the bucket for him. hope to see it at the fieldhouse soon

pace 7 years ago

Thanks to the Booths, They helped the foundation and this is a real piece of our history. And I don't even like sports and can see the value.

Khublai_Juan 7 years ago

The 13 original rules should be posted as part of this story, it would be interesting to read them. Another piece of basketball history for the fieldhouse, Duke and NC can't don't have anything on KU.

riverdrifter 7 years ago

Are these Booths related to the Booths of Douglas county? Anyway, good on'em.

riverdrifter 7 years ago

I see now from the sidebar that they are.

JustNoticed 7 years ago

How about posting the rules? Just thirteen of them? Seems like something you'd want in your story.

JustNoticed 7 years ago

Dr. James Naismith's Original 13 Rules of Basket Ball

  1. The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.
  2. The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands (never with the fist).

  3. A player cannot run with the ball. The player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it, allowance to be made for a man who catches the ball when running at a good speed if he tries to stop.

  4. The ball must be held in or between the hands; the arms or body must not be used for holding it.

  5. No shouldering, holding, pushing, tripping, or striking in any way the person of an opponent shall be allowed; the first infringement of this rule by any player shall count as a foul, the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is made, or, if there was evident intent to injure the person, for the whole of the game, no substitute allowed.

  6. A foul is striking at the ball with the fist, violation of Rules 3,4, and such as described in Rule 5.

  7. If either side makes three consecutive fouls, it shall count a goal for the opponents (consecutive means without the opponents in the mean time making a foul).

  8. A goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from the grounds into the basket and stays there, providing those defending the goal do not touch or disturb the goal. If the ball rests on the edges, and the opponent moves the basket, it shall count as a goal.

  9. When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall be thrown into the field of play by the person first touching it. In case of a dispute, the umpire shall throw it straight into the field. The thrower-in is allowed five seconds; if he holds it longer, it shall go to the opponent. If any side persists in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on that side.

  10. The umpire shall be judge of the men and shall note the fouls and notify the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made. He shall have power to disqualify men according to Rule 5.

  11. The referee shall be judge of the ball and shall decide when the ball is in play, in bounds, to which side it belongs, and shall keep the time. He shall decide when a goal has been made, and keep account of the goals with any other duties that are usually performed by a referee.

  12. The time shall be two 15-minute halves, with five minutes' rest between.

  13. The side making the most goals in that time shall be declared the winner. In case of a draw, the game may, by agreement of the captains, be continued until another goal is made.

Note: Basketball was originally two words and these original rules were published January 15, 1892 in the Springfield College school newspaper, The Triangle.

Lisa Rasor 7 years ago

Fascinating. So, dribbling the ball (i.e. being able to run with the ball by dribbling it) came later (how much later, I wonder?).

whiteguy 7 years ago

I dont know how much later , but the original basketball wouldnt bounce , it was fairly heavy .

txjayhawk54 7 years ago

Thanks to the the Booths. I admire your generosity in allowing this valuable piece of history to return to the University of Kansas.

frankfussman 7 years ago

Naismith was born and raised in Almonte, Ontario, Canada, where the Naismith Museum is located. Biography of James Naismith: 1861: Born on November 6 in Almonte, Ontario, Canada. Son of John Naismith and Margaret Young. 1867 - 1875: He attended the grade school at Bennie's Corners near Almonte. 1873: After the death of both his parents, plus his maternal grandmother, he lives with his uncle Peter Young. 1875: Enters Almonte High School but less than two years later leaves his studies for four years. He returned and completed his high school equivalency in 1.5 years graduating in 1883. 1883: Enters McGill University in Montreal where he earns a BA in Physical Education. He participates in football, rugby, lacrosse and ground gymnastics. 1887: Enters the Presbyterian College of Theology in Montreal and obtains a diploma in 1890. 1890: Departs for America and Springfield College in Massachusetts. Etc. (see more at the site listed) At KU, he also served as a chaplin. See also: Naismith Memorial Public School
260 King Street, Almonte, ON K0A 1A0, Canada

lilygrace 7 years ago

Four million dollars for a piece of paper? It's not the freakin Constitution of the United States. I like basketball as much as the next person but can you imagine what four million dollars could do to benefit others in the world who are less fortunate. I would be embarrassed to have my face and name on the front page of a newspaper for this deed. Utterly ridiculous.

hail2oldku 7 years ago

Considering that the proceeds will go to the Naismith Foundation, and the foundation provides services for underpriviledged kids, I think they are accomplishing what you are advocating in a round about way. They are also getting ownership of a unique piece of history that they could turn around and sell again to get some of their money back.

You should be embarrassed about spouting off half-cocked like you did.

gphawk89 7 years ago

"The proceeds will benefit the Naismith foundation, which promotes sportsmanship and provides services to underprivileged children around the world." Did you read the article?

skinny 7 years ago

Who cares about the less fortunate. This guy worked his butt off and now is a millionaire! HE can spend his money however he wants to spend it. Maybe if everyone else got off their lazy behinds and worked for a living instead of expecting a free ride this world would be a lot better place to live.

rgh 7 years ago

The money is definitely going to those less fortunate. The Naismith Foundation is a great cause. It's nice to see someone dedicated to their university so much that they would spend this money to make sure it's place in history and not some on someone's wall in their den just because they have bucks to blow. Thanks to the Booth family for all your contributions to the great University of Kansas!

jhawks360 7 years ago

Also, the Booth family has donated tons of money to incredibly important causes (like academia). Most recently, $300 million dollars to the University of Chicago Business School.

This is just another incredible example of his generosity.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

kufan11 7 years ago

How about you become a multi-billionaire and do all of things that you incessantly denigrate other people for not doing?

Laura Smysor 7 years ago

"The Naismith foundation promotes sportsmanship and provides services for underpriveleged children around the world."

It's cool the rules will be at KU where they belong and the foundation is serious about it's mission!

bearded_gnome 7 years ago

This news is very shocking and upsetting! we must contact our legislators immediately to protest!

how can it be justified that such a document be housed at Kansas University, an institution supported by public funds? that is because the rules, and the work of James Naismith clearly transgress the [so-called] separation of church and state! housing them means endorsing a religion!

Dr. Naismith was employed at a school for Christian workers, he said that his game was intended to create a kind of "physical christianity." why he even was a trained Presbyterian pastor! and back then, he would have been far more conservative than most who identify themselves as Presbyterians today.

a game to push "physical christianity," written by a christian worker, someone who was obviously a crazy religious fanatic!
how can this be on display at KU?

will the ACLU sue?

now, the other problem glaring out of this: obviously David Booth and his fellows are wealthy, part of the "top one percent" whom we are all suppose to hate, and tax the bejesus out of them!
any such gift from some robber baron should not be accepted because the wealthy are certainly not paying their fair share!
(for reference, just note Mr. Obama's comments on extending lower tax rates to people like David Booth].

shame. shame. shame.

again, how can KU participate in this?

[gentle reader, if you don't know this is sarcasm you should seek professional help immediately]

George_Braziller 7 years ago

I know it's his money to spend but $4.3 million for two pieces of paper about how to bounce an inflated orb of leather?

Excuse me while I pull out my diploma from KU so I can throw up on it.

phoggyjay 7 years ago

The money is going to charity. Please read before throwing up.

George_Braziller 7 years ago

I know it's going to charity but it's two pieces of paper. For $4.3 million you would think it would at least be engraved on sheets of gold.

I'm still going to puke on my diploma.

kufan11 7 years ago

Considering Sotheby's is the most prestigious auction house in the world, I would imagine that DR. Allen wasn't the only one doing his homework before this auction went live.

And 9/11 wasn't staged, FYI

Irenaku 7 years ago

George_Braziller: Agreed. On one hand I can see the importance of it. But when I hear a figure like "$4 million" for something like this and then stand it along side something like the story I heard a couple of weeks ago about a Lawrence woman who is dying from a rare skin hardening disease and needs desperate help to get a stem cell transplant that may save her life, it just does not add up. I don't get it.

Bob Forer 7 years ago

What don't you get? Unfortunately, we have lived in a greed driven world for ages. Were the results of this auction your first inkling of this fact? If you are turned off by rampant, uncontrolled and unprecedented greed and profiteering of the 21st century, quit your damn whining, get off your butt, become a social activist, and try to make a difference. Thats how the world changes for the better. Not by verbal outbursts of outrage such as yours. You're better off pissing in the wind.

Eric Dawson 7 years ago

Really? You really don't get it? Did you even read the article, or just throw your hands up in disgust after just the first few lines? As others have noted, the article reports that the proceeds go to the Naismith Foundation charity.* Would you be griping if they had made a direct donation to the Naismith Foundation? No. (At least I hope not.) This way the Booths made their donation and got a piece of Naismith history for the KU Athletics archives. Geez.

*[excerpt] James Naismith’s grandson, Ian Naismith, told the Associated Press in an October interview that the family decided to put the rules on the auction block and to give the money to the Naismith charity that promotes sportsmanship and provides services to underprivileged children.

bearded_gnome 7 years ago

in a free society things can be sold at a price determined by what others are willing to pay for them.

not surprising that in Lawrence so many commenters areopposed to such a free society.

me? no, I wouldn't pay $4million, but if I had the pages and they were worth that, you betcha I'd sell 'em for that.

and for the whine and cheese crowd, note that the $4million is actually going to a good charity!

if some day I own the last can of spam on earth. and some collector wants to pay me $4million, I'll offer to fry it for him, lol.

KEITHMILES05 7 years ago

Some of the absolute hate and ignorance in this thread is mind boggling. I love it when people hate on somebody but has no clue whatsoever they talking about. The problem is those who are doing the hate are very, very jealous of those who have more money than they do. They feel entitled to spew hate. They are small minded and small willded.

lilygrace 7 years ago

If the Booths are such fans of KU, how about donating some millions to fixing the crumbling buildings, helping students afford to go there without winding up huge debt just to try and better themselves, increasing pay for faculty so the good ones don't leave and go somewhere else. Whoop de doo for old KU!

KULHSLIONSfan 7 years ago

Why don't you do a little research. They have and continue to do great things for others.

The Booth family has contributed millions to KU and the University of Chicago for a variety of things. Some of their donations are the largest in the country and even the world.

They also have been involved in fundraising for cystic fibrosis among others.

kufan11 7 years ago

^ serious?

I would imagine that since ku (unsurprisingly) managed to twice mess up the construction of the booth family hall of athletics, that they are reluctant to drop millions more just for more headaches.

jayhawklawrence 7 years ago

If in 50 years we have succeeded in creating a better and more peaceful world, then the price paid for this document will seem incredibly cheap and people around the world will be enjoying the game of basketball even more than they do today.

Thanks to the Booth family, this great document is enshrined forever in the place where it belongs...and thank you Dr. Naismith.

lilygrace 7 years ago

Good grief! Enshrined???? It's not the Holy Grail.

KULHSLIONSfan 7 years ago

Sounds appropriate

•enshrine - To enclose in a shrine or chest; hence, to preserve or cherish as something sacred; as, to enshrine something in memory; To induct into a hall of fame

lilygrace 7 years ago

Oooh. Sounds like you got your education at KU, which is known merely for a winning basketball team, NOT for a stellar education. It was the Naismiths that donated a family heirloom to raise funds for charity. The Booths purchased a piece of paper of questionable authenticity for 4+ million dollars. I don't envy the Booths for their hundreds of millions, I just think about what that money could have meant to any number of great charities or to the enhancement of education and EDUCATIONAL facilities at KU. Since 4million is a "drop in the bucket to them" to quote another poster, maybe they could make up the $100,000 the local United Way is struggling to get this year. Now THAT would mean something.

KULHSLIONSfan 7 years ago

Sounds like you are a tad bit jealous of someone who completed an education at KU and made something of himself. He continues to "thank" the universities who contributed to his success through a variety of means. Maybe you should focus on an education and see what you can do with your life. Why don't you check into what the Booth family has contributed to many organizations and charities instead of whining. The "stellar" education he received at KU and Chicago has contributed to his success. If you are having difficulties with your education, maybe you should take a look in the mirror. You tend to get out of an education what you put into it.

lilygrace 7 years ago

I am university-educated and don't find it necessary to look up words in a dictionary, as you do. Notice that the Booth's have given much more more to his educational institution at Chicago than KU. I wonder which education he values more. Unlike you, it seems, I would just like KU to be recognized more for their scholars than the NBA players they produce.

KULHSLIONSfan 7 years ago

At least you followed my advice and did some research and acknowledged the Booth family does give back. I don't recall any discussions on my part related to sports or the NBA. Sounds like you must have a problem with athletes. I support all of KU. University educated? I wonder if you made it through as I have. Most would comment they are a college graduate unless they failed to complete their degree requirements. I'm done. At least you did take some advice.

kufan11 7 years ago

A dictionary is used to ensure correct usage of the many words that fill our fantastic language.

It is necessary to look up words in a dictionary when you misuse, or, as you did, accuse someone of misusing or misimplying a word or words.

kufan11 7 years ago

I enjoy how this is the tamest of the shower of misinformed manure that has flowed from your keyboard regarding the Booths' philanthropic endeavors.

Kontum1972 7 years ago

i wonder if the ticket scandal gang will get a chance to see the RULES?

the Booths do what benefits this great city and university...too bad the hired help were not concerned with KU...just how well they could line their pockets. I imagine that was a great career position...i recommend frequent polygraphs for staffers, might put a end to this kind of behavior.....once they are convicted in Federal court they will enjoy their new homes at a federal pen......"ROCK CHALK".

friendlyjhawk 7 years ago

'Tis the season to flaunt your money, fa la la la la, fa la la la!

Sarah St. John 7 years ago

If you're interested in the evolution of the basketball rules (as I see some of you are - JustNoticed, catiefan, etc.), feel free to check out the 100 Years Ago tomorrow (Sunday 12/12). I think you'll like it.

Kelly Johnson 7 years ago

I've got two pages of rules for sale...Mr. Booth, please send me a private message with your bid. Thank you.

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