Most people know the basics about basketball – two teams of five players trying to get the ball through a hoop – but there is so much more to this popular sport than meets the eye. If you’re a basketball fan, chances are you already know some of these things. But for those who don’t follow the sport as closely, here are seven things you probably didn’t know about basketball.
1. The Game of Basketball was Invented by a Canadian
Basketball was invented in 1891 by a Canadian gym teacher named James Naismith. He was looking for a way to keep his students active during the winter or when the weather kept his students inside. He came up with the game as a solution. Originally, the game was played with nine players on each team and Naismith called it “a game of skill” rather than a sport.
2. The First Professional League was Founded in 1898
Just seven years after the game was invented, the first professional league was founded in Brooklyn, New York. Called the National Basketball League, it consisted of six teams from cities along the East Coast including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Trenton. The league only lasted one season before folding due to financial difficulties.
3. The First Games Were Played with Peach Baskets
At first, there were no hoops like we have today – instead, games were played with peach baskets nailed 10 feet (3 meters) off the floor. Players would score by climbing a ladder and retrieving the ball from the basket. It wasn’t until 1906 that metal hoops with nets were introduced, making it easier to score points and speed up the game.
4. Wilt Chamberlain Holds Several Records
Widely considered one of the greatest players in NBA history, Wilt Chamberlain holds several records that may never be broken including most points scored in a single game (100), most points scored in an NBA season (4,029) and most rebounds in an NBA career (23,924). He also holds the record for most free throws attempted in an NBA career (10,351) which is more than any other player has even attempted field goals in their career!
5. Michael Jordan Was Cut From His High School Team
One of the most successful basketball players of all time, Michael Jordan didn’t even make his high school varsity team when he tried out as a sophomore. He did eventually make the team when he tried out again as a junior but that disappointing experience made him work even harder to become one of the greatest players in history.
Michael Jordan is widely considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He had an impressive career, winning six NBA championships and five MVP awards. What’s even more impressive is that he didn’t make his high school varsity team when he tried out as a sophomore – but he worked hard and became one of the best players in history.
6. There are Many Types of Fouls
In basketball, there are several types of fouls – personal fouls, shooting fouls, technical fouls and flagrant fouls, just to name a few. Personal fouls are any type of illegal contact between players while shooting fouls occur when a player is fouled while attempting to shoot the ball. Technical fouls are given for unsportsmanlike behavior or violating certain rules while flagrant fouls are reserved for especially violent contact between players. Other Fouls in Basketball Include: blocking, charging, defensive, double, illegal screen, intentional, offensive, punching, and reach-in.
7. The Tallest Player in NBA History Was 7’7″ Tall – The Shortest Was 5’3″
At 7’7″ tall (2\.31 meters),Manute Bol was one of the tallest players in NBA history and he used his impressive height to his advantage on the court. In fact, he still holds the record for most blocks per 48 minutes in an NBA career! Sadly, Bol passed away in 2010 after suffering from skin cancer but he remains one of the most unforgettable players in league history. The shortest player in NBA history is Muggsy Bogues. Muggsy Bogues was just 5 feet 3 inches (1.60 meters) tall, making him the shortest player in NBA history. He had an impressive 14-year career despite his size and even played in the same game as 7-foot-7-inch (2.31 meters) Manute Bol, the tallest player in NBA history.
Whether you’re a casual fan or die-hard supporter, there’s always something new to learn about basketball. This list barely scratches the surface when it comes to interesting facts about this popular sport but hopefully it’s given you a greater appreciation for all that goes into playing America’s favorite pastime.