Friday, February 01, 2008

'Basketball Man' rules on sale for $10 million

The Original 13 Rules of Basketball, drafted by the game’s inventor Dr. James Naismith in 1891 and the center of our nonfiction feature film, Basketball Man, are being put up for sale by Basketball Man star and Naismith grandson Ian Naismith.

Big Texan Ian (pronounced "Yon"), the Naismith family and their charitable Naismith International Basketball Foundation are looking to get $10 million, or less under the right circumstances (a bargain compared to the $20 million sought a few years back).

As Basketball Man showed, Ian's been the dedicated keeper of those precious two pages of rules, lugging them around in a golden briefcase as he knocks around the country in a rickety old RV, on his Naismith Sportsmanship Tour.

The Naismith biopic contrasts Doc Naismith’s life with his grandson’s lonely mission, using the Rules to promote sportsmanship, which was originally inherent in the game. Its release on DVD last Spring followed great acclaim in magazines from Parade to FHM.

Basketball Man also traces the history of the Original 13 Rules, which, after Naismith's death in 1939, ended up in the possession of his youngest son-- Ian's father—who kept them in a “secret drawer” in the dining room. In the late 1950s, the rules were placed in a safe deposit box until they were loaned to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., where they were kept in a vault until about a decade ago, when Ian Naismith took back the papers, and began his tour, displaying them at events in college and NBA cities.

“I like to think that he would approve of the money from his rules going to a foundation that helps children,” Ian Naismith said told the Associated Press. “It's not my money. It's his money because it's his creation.”

Ian's still hoping a corporation comes forward with a deal, which would include sponsorship of a two-year nationwide tour to display the rules in a 40-foot motor coach (a new one, with air conditioning this time!). Ian hopes to collect signatures of basketball dignitaries and fans along the way, with an ultimate goal of giving the Rules, which experts compare to the US Constitution in its historic value, a permanent display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

“It's not an easy decision, but it's time. They've been pretty much unseen for 110 years. There's no reason for them to be in a vault or anything like that for another 110 years.”

And check out Basketball Man! It's available as a deluxe 2-DVD package, features appearances by some of the greatest names in the history of the sport including Michael Jordan, Steve Nash, Carmelo Anthony, Oscar Robertson, Bob Cousy, John Wooden, Rick Barry, NBA commissioner David Stern, and the late Red Auerbach.

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