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How James Naismith’s rules of basketball found a home at KU

A booster paid $4.3 million for Naismith’s rules, then KU built this palace for them

After KU alumnus David Booth purchased James Naismith’s original rules of basketball for a total of $4.3 million in 2010, the DeBruce Center was built adjacent to Allen Fieldhouse to house the historic two-page document.
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After KU alumnus David Booth purchased James Naismith’s original rules of basketball for a total of $4.3 million in 2010, the DeBruce Center was built adjacent to Allen Fieldhouse to house the historic two-page document.

After Kansas alum David Booth purchased James Naismith’s original rules of basketball for a total of $4.3 million in 2010, the DeBruce Center was built adjacent to Allen Fieldhouse to house the historic two-page document.

Completed in 2016, the 32,000-square-foot building serves a dual purpose, functioning as a basketball museum and also a meeting place for KU students on the south side of the university’s campus.

The rules, which are housed in a second-story walkway that connects the DeBruce Center to an Allen Fieldhouse entrance, are protected by electrochromic glass. When a button is pressed on the side of the rules, electricity is sent through the glass to make it transparent so the rules can be seen. If the button is not pressed for a few minutes, the case remains dark, which helps to preserve the document.

Naismith’s original 13 rules, which were written in 1891, also are displayed on the facade of the tunnel connecting the DeBruce Center to Allen Fieldhouse. Though many of the founding rules do not apply to today’s game, the 13th and final one comes close: “The side making the most goals in that time shall be declared the winners.”

Jesse Newell: 816-234-4759, @jessenewell

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