Basketball Facts: History, Fun Facts And Hall Of Famers

basketball going through a basketball net

Since its humble inception using peach baskets, the game of basketball has captured the hearts of millions of people worldwide from street ball to professional courts. You may recognize professional ball players with legendary status, but did you know that there are other surprising facts about basketball?

Amazing Facts About Basketball

a photo of basketball ring and board

Basketball is a relatively recent sport, as it was invented in 1891 by Canadian James W. Naismith. After seeking an indoor game that would provide his students with a way to stay fit during the winters, Mr. Naismith ended up developing the game we now know as basketball.

Many of the original 13 rules that created for playing basketball are still applied today.

You know you are watching a game of basketball when you see the following.

Teams of five players vie for the control of an orange ball on hardwood floors
A shot clock helps keep track of the game’s four quarters and any possible overtimes
The hoop has a backboard to help with shots and prevent fan interference

When basketball was first created, players used peach baskets. After each basket was scored, the ball would have to be removed manually after scoring a point. Eventually, a hole was placed at the bottom of the peach baskets so the ball could be removed using a rod.

Finally, in 1906, metal hoops with a backboard eventually replaced peach baskets.

In as little as two years, women played their first game of basketball at Smith College. As the popularity of the new sport took hold in the early 1900s, international competitions and championship matches for men and women were organized.

A Sport Deemed Olympic Worthy

a basketball player trying to shoot the ball into the ring and an opponent trying to block him

Being able to participate in a sport at the Olympic level is a dream come true for many ambitious and dedicated athletes. Basketball was first exhibited as a demonstration sport at the 1904 Olympic games. But, at the Berlin games of 1936 basketball was added to the host of games athletes could play.

Women didn't get the opportunity to compete in basketball at the Olympics until the 1976 games held in Montreal, Canada.

Public interest ballooned as legendary players from the National Basketball Association were cleared to represent the USA at Barcelona's 1992 games. Called the "Dream Team," the NBA players from the US dominated the sport at the Olympics.

Overall, the United States continues its domination in the sport of basketball, with a few exceptions where American teams and players have not taken home the gold.

When it comes to basketball facts, one must consider the dominance of Americans in the sport to imply a failure for the game to truly be played well and understood on a global level.

Players With An Impressive Aerial View

an extremely tall basketball player posing to protect the ball from his opponent

In basketball, the hoop hovers above some 10 feet above the ground, so it's no wonder why most NBA players are tall. However, some players stand out for being large in stature and being able to block shots with ease thanks to their long limbs.

Famous NBA stars Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Dikembe Mutombo both stood at 7 feet 2 inches tall.
Randy Breuer of the Minnesota Timberwolves stood at the height of 7 feet 3 inches. Rik Smits played for the Pacers and enjoyed a career spanning 12 years. He is 7 feet and 4 inches tall.

Yao Ming was a towering figure, playing with the Houston Rockets and standing 7 feet 6 inches tall.
Players Gheorghe Muresan and Manute Bol both stood at an impressive height of 7 feet and 7 inches tall.

In sharp contrast to the expectation that nearly all NBA players are vertically blessed, player Muggsy Bogues is recorded as being the NBA's shortest player. He stands at 5 foot 3 inches in height.

A Little Weird And Unexpected

Basketball originally was played with a soccer ball. To keep a good grip on the soccer ball, basketball players would rub coal dust on their hands.

The signature orange ball that is used to play official games wasn't established until the 1950s by Tony Hinkle. It was the desire that the ball used in basketball should be more visible to players and spectators, rather than balls of a brown color.

On November 19, 2004, NBA history bared witness to a now-infamous brawl between players and fans. An altercation took place involving the Pacers and Pistons, leaving nine players suspended, five fans banned for life from Piston home games, and a loss of 11 million dollars in salaries.

The earliest games of basketball had a crowded court. In fact, two teams of 9 players would be expected to play against one another, until the team size was reduced to 5 members.

Reasons Why Things Became Official

The backboard that is at the back of basketball hoops were created to stop spectators from interfering with shots.

Dribbling was not always a part of basketball, as early games allowed players to catch the ball, and take a few steps before making their shot. Following the 1950s, dribbling became an integral part of the game.

The National Basketball Association was created as a merger between the Basketball Association of American and The National Basketball League.

The official manufacturer of all NBA uniforms is Adidas.

Some Big Numbers To Follow

lebron james holding the basketball and escaping from kylie irving

On December 17, 1991, the Cleveland Cavaliers won their game versus the Miami Heat in more than a landslide event. The score was 148 to 80, in the Cavaliers' favor.

Player Karl Malone is the record-holder for the most free throws in an NBA career, making 9,787 free throws.

Moses Malone was a center forward who enjoyed a 19-year long career with the NBA. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001 and was a part of 12 consecutive All-Star teams.

Ron Artest received the longest lasting suspension from the NBA following an infamous brawl in 2004 between the Pacers and Pistons. Ron was suspended from participating in 73 games and 13 playoff games. Later on in life, Ron Artest changed his name legally to Metta World Peace in 2011.

An NBA player may find themselves running as much as 4 miles per game.

The longest running NBA game took place between the Indianapolis Olympians and the Rochester Royals. On January 6, 1951, the two teams went into six overtimes. Eventually, the score was 75 to 73.

Harlem Globetrotter Corey Law made the longest basketball shot successfully at a distance of 109 feet and 9 inches. Corey "Thunder" Law also successfully made a basketball shot while blindfolded, from a length of 69 feet and 6 inches away.

The Boston Celtics hold the record for the most NBA championships. In addition to winning 17 NBA championships, the Boston Celtics had seven consecutive wins from the years 1960 to 1966.

In a single game, Wilt Chamberlain managed to score an amazing 100 points against New York.

A Skyrocketing Salary For A Game Well Played

two professional basketball players playing in court with audience

It's no wonder why many people dream of playing for the NBA. After all, many players are compensated well for their skills on the basketball court.

With the rise of endorsements from various products, lengthy contracts, and the ability to be a free agent. Many professional basketball players have and are enjoying a new life of fame and fortune after a substantial career in the NBA.

Players like Carmelo Anthony have earned 227.4 million dollars, with his highest single-season salary grossing some 26.2 million dollars.

LeBron James has amassed some 233.9 million dollars during his career on-and-off with the Cleveland Cavaliers and other teams. Recently, LeBron signed on for a 154 million dollar contract spanning over four years to play with the L.A. Lakers.

Top earner Kevin Garnett has managed to earn an amazing 334.3 million dollars and earned as much as 28 million dollars for a single-season salary.

When it comes to basketball facts, it is expected that playing the game as a professional will ensure you're being paid well for your athletic ability, teamwork, and strategies.

Curious Facts About Basketballs

A basketball that is warm will bounce higher than a cold ball because of the molecules inside the ball colliding with one another at a faster speed when warm.

When a basketball is bounced, according to the International Basketball Federation, the basketball must bounce a distance between 3.9 feet and 4.6 feet.

In the NBA, basketballs must be inflated between a PSI of 7.3 and 8.5.

A Spalding basketball has about 122 bumps per square inch on its surface.

And Here's A Few More To Know

basketball player legend Michael Jordan in the middle of the air to dunk the ball into the oop

Danny Biasone is the creator of the shot clock, which has helped up the ante and excitement of many thrilling basketball games, plus it helps speed along gameplay.

Of the many disheartening basketball facts to know, nearly 60 percent of retired NBA players are flat broke or bankrupt within five years following their retirement.

Before shoes, like the Air Jordan became famous, basketball players were banned from wearing footwear that could be a bit visually distracting and deemed non-regulation. The legendary basketball star Michael Jordan was continually fined for wearing Air Jordans. He would pay any fines given and continue to wear his shoes of choice until the NBA eventually dropped the ban.

Michael Jordan's Air Jordan is one of the best-selling basketball shoes of all time, and it is a popular favorite for people who love streetwear fashion.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is located in the state of Massachusetts. Both professional basketball players that are domestic and international are honored at this institution.

Thanks to the shocking display of backboards being shattered to smithereens, players were forbidden from dunking in the NCAA. After making necessary adjustments to fortify the backboard, a ten-year ban on dunking started in 1967 was eventually lifted.