James Naismith ranks among the 8 Wonders of Kansas People.
People in all 50 states voted for six individuals, a couple and one group whose prominence included a presence in Kansas. The contest, conducted by the Kansas Sampler Foundation, drew nearly 13,000 completed ballots.
Naismith holds the distinction of inventing the game of basketball, establishing the hoops program at Kansas University and being the namesake of James Naismith Court at venerable Allen Fieldhouse.
He’s also the only KU men’s basketball coach to post a losing record.
“His name is familiar and it’s a basketball state, in many ways,” said Marci Penner, director of the Inman-based foundation. “He’s the guy that invented basketball. In a way it was a slam dunk.”
Others making the list:
• Amelia Earhart, Atchison — first woman aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
• Buffalo Soldiers, Fort Leavenworth — members of an all-black regiment in the U.S. Army.
• Carry A. Nation, Medicine Lodge and Kiowa — hatchet-wielding crusader in early 1900s who helped lead fight to prohibit alcohol.
• Emil J. Kapaun, Pilsen — priest and military chaplain being considered for sainthood for his service and dedication as a prisoner of war during Korean War.
• George Washington Carver, Minneapolis and Beeler — a scientist, botanist, educator, humanitarian and inventor known for developing crop-rotation methods and hundreds of uses for peanuts, soybeans, sweet potatoes and pecans.
• Martin and Osa Johnson, Chanute — pioneering wildlife filmmakers, photographers, authors and explorers.
• William Allen White, Emporia — Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper editor.
President Dwight Eisenhower was not eligible for the contest because he already had been selected as one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas.