In this edition of the MVP Cast, we’re joined by Jim Naismith – grandson of basketball’s inventor James.

He tells us about the game’s original coach and his family’s Scottish connection, and we also hear from Kieron Achara, ahead of a new NBA documentary on the sport in Scotland, Making It Rain, which premieres on Sky Sports Action on Wednesday 21 May.

Basketball’s invention was, Jim says, a product of the harsh winters in Springfield, Massachusetts, where a demand for an indoor distraction became imperative.

“I’ll take you back to the School for Christian Workers in a stormy winter time,” he declares. “Can’t play outside. Bunch of guys, like grandad, who loved outside sports and the rougher the better. And they’re beginning to be a problem. Whoever is in charge knows he’s there to keep problems from happening.

“They go to grandad who was an instructor as well as a student to come up with something that these guys like to do enough over tearing the place apart. Some gymnastics wasn’t going to work. So he thought about sport. He started with rugby and modified it so they could play four a side. Every time they played rugby or lacrosse, he had a gym with hard floors and steel columns and that’s not going to work.

“Two things he said in one of his notes: I became philosophical and he knew that if I kept modifying games they already liked, they’d never like them. They liked that game but not the modification. So he had to start from scratch.”

Naismith did live long enough to see his creation become an Olympic sport in 1936. His grandson, now in his eighties, was able to return to Glasgow last weekend to see where his clan began and to see the latest Scotland generation, including Achara, plus the participants in the city’s Jr. NBA league including the first-ever wheelchair basketball variant of the global youth competition.

It is quite the connection, a son of Scots with a gift to the world, Achara declared.When I found this out, I was so proud to be Scottish, to know that the game I absolutely love and adore has its roots in Scotland. It was a really proud moment for me and I think it’s something we should share.

“It means a lot to have the first wheelchair basketball in the Jr. NBA in Scotland just because it just shows how inclusive our sport really is. That’s something we have been preaching a lot in basketball in Scotland because we really believe it’s a sport for all, so this is a chance to highlight that, really expand the game, raise the awareness and offer everyone the chance to experience it.”

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