The Maddest March Ever! (Ep. 241)

Scott Flansburg is up to his neck in a fascinating attempt to correct what he believes to be a colossal miscarriage of justice. Or perhaps, a miscarriage of credit. Six months ago, I had Scott on the podcast to explain why he was convinced that Dr. James Naismith is NOT in fact, the man who created basketball, but rather, a sixteen-year-old athletic director at the YMCA from his hometown of Herkimer, New York. Scott, who many know today as The Human Calculator, is on a mission to persuade basketball fans that this teenager from the late 1800’s – a kid named Lambert Will – is the true creator of basketball, and that The Basketball Hall of Fame should be in Herkimer, New York, NOT Springfield, Massachusetts.

Well, after his first appearance on this podcast, Scott has found new evidence which he believes to be incontrovertible. And I must say, it looks compelling. A new book supporting his theory has just been published. The national press is taking notice. And the grandson of Dr. Naismith is now seriously pissed off, and apparently, making threats against those who doubt or deny his grandfather’s place in history.

Personally, I’m not that interested in professional basketball. It’s a great game, but I’m disgusted by the NBA’s relationship with China. Likewise, I’m ambivalent about the nature credit, and generally suspicious of those who seek it for themselves. But I’m keenly interested in the way history evolves, and fascinated by the difficulties of “setting the record straight,” once a narrative takes hold. I’m also aware of the stakes – if a little village like Herkimer is recognized as the rightful home of basketball, that could have a real economic impact. So, I invited Scott back on the podcast to talk about this latest batch of evidence and the tricky business of getting to the truth of a thing. It’s a terrific conversation, regardless of what you think about basketball. A short clip is below. The whole conversation is here.