Game Maker

A Creative Kid Becomes The Father of Basketball

Game Maker’s inspirational message is based on historical insights that Author Brian Hanni learned while interviewing Jim Naismith, the grandson of the Father of Basketball. With a young boy’s competitive spirit and enthusiasm for all sports, James Naismith made up games working on his family’s farm in Canada and mastered “Duck on a Rock” a popular schoolyard game.

Believing that becoming a physical education teacher would be the way he could make a difference in people’s lives, after graduating from college, James Naismith moved to Springfield, Massachusetts. At his job at the YMCA, he was asked to create an indoor game because the winters were so cold. Naismith drew upon his childhood experiences and education – and basketball was born!

Told in an appealing rhyme with a vocabulary for adults and children, Game Maker will delight every reader!

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What they’re saying…

“What a great book for young people. Granddad created the game as a gift to young people, both boys and girls. Helping youth to live a better life was his main goal and he was always consistent with that understanding. This book certainly captures that ambition.”

 Jim Naismith, Grandson of James Naismith

“Learning how Dr. Naismith’s imagination as a youth would eventually lead him to invent the greatest sport ever makes Game Maker a must read for all young basketball fans. We are so proud that he was Kansas’ first coach. I look forward to reading Game Maker to my grandchildren.”

— Bill Self, Hall of Fame Basketball Coach

Game Maker is a fun, imaginative tale of the young James Naismith that every kid who loves sports and dares to dream should be sure to read.”

Lynette Woodard, Hall of Fame Basketball Player, First Female Harlem Globetrotter, Greatest Scorer in Women’s College Basketball History

Game Maker is a wonderful tutorial for any young person about the birth of basketball and the inspiring story of the game’s inventor. I think young James Naismith would be very proud. I just wish this book was around when I was a kid!”

Jay Bilas, College Basketball Analyst for ESPN

“It’s appropriate that a book about the inventor of basketball is being told by one of the most prominent voices in the game today. Brian Hanni, the Voice of the Jayhawks, has captured the wonderful story of a young Dr. James Naismith, who was limited only by the size of his imagination. His dreams evolved into the great game that we know today. Naismith began the historic program at the University of Kansas, and this special story of the Father of Basketball is captured perfectly in these pages for young fans. James Naismith wrote the original book of basketball rules, and Brian Hanni, the Voice of the school where it all began, chronicles that compelling journey in Game Maker.”

Kevin Harlan, Highly Decorated NFL, NBA and NCAA Broadcaster, Jayhawk Alum

The Authors

Brian Hanni

Brian Hanni is a sportscaster in Lawrence, KS where he broadcasts for his alma mater, the University of Kansas, as the “Voice of the Jayhawks.” Hanni has long had a passion for inspiring youth and serves many youth-based charities including his own pediatric cancer organization. Game Maker – A Creative Kid Becomes the Father of Basketball is his first children’s book and was inspired by time he spent with Dr. Naismith’s grandson, Jim Naismith. Hanni hopes these true tales of young James’ ambition and creativity as a child inspire future generations to dream big just as Naismith did.

Rob Peters

Rob Peters has illustrated over 30 children’s books. Other books illustrated by Rob include Go Cars Go!‘Twas the Night Before Tipoff―The University of Kansas JayhawksGo Chiefs Go! The Championship Season of the Kansas City Chiefs; and Unhitch the Wagon – The Story of Boomer and Sooner. He lives with his family in Topeka, Kansas.

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