In 1891 James Naismith, a Canadian immigrant to the United States of America, was asked to invent an energetic indoor game for high-spirited young men. He came up with basketball, which so captivated his female colleagues that they began playing too. Within a short time, Naismith's rules were modified for women by a sports teacher in New Orleans, USA, and netball was born. The all-women sport quickly spread to England and the Commonwealth.
The International Netball Federation (NF) estimates that there are in excess of 20 million women and girls playing netball in over 100 countries around the world. About 10% of participants are now male.