Is it the time we tried to score a three-pointer with a thrash paper and a garbage can or when we tried a Michael Jordan-esque dunk using an imaginary ball? There’s an inherent love of basketball in all of us, one way or the other.
Basketball is among the most loved sports globally, and with over 2 billion followers across social media platforms, it is also one of the most popular. The sport also provides an avenue for bettors to make money, as basketball betting is one of the most popular forms of sports betting globally.
But even with the immense love for the sport, there are still over a thousand remarkable facts you probably don’t know about it. To begin with, you probably didn’t know dribbling was once considered a foul back then, and you may also not know the referees’ job was to act as timekeepers at some point in the history of the sport.
This article will bring you seven incredible facts about basketball you probably haven’t heard of before now.
Interesting Facts About Basketball You Probably Didn’t Know
James Naismith invented basketball in 1891, and in the course of its existence, there have been many unbelievable changes and occurrences that have shaped the sport into what it is today.
Here are some amazing basketball facts you should know.
1. The First Slam Dunk In Basketball Was A Mistake
The NBA slam dunk contest is the biggest in basketball. It has over five million fans from around the world tuning in to watch their favorites deliver mind-blowing dunks.
Over the years, dunking has become an important aspect of the basketball game, making it hard to believe that it initially wasn’t intended to be part of the game. Its existence is purely a product of Robert Kurland’s mistake in 1944.
The seven-foot Oklahoma A&M Aggies basketball Hall of Famer confirmed the story in a 2012 interview a year before his death. The two-time NCAA champion maintained that he did it spontaneously. “The ball happened to be under the basket. I got it up and stuffed it in. That started it, I guess,” were his exact words.
Also, citing the fact it led to many injuries at the time. The NCAA banned the slam dunk for ten years, starting from the 67-68 season till the 76-77 season.
2. The Soccer Ball Was Used To Play Basketball At First
Even after Naismith’s brilliant invention, basketball wasn’t complete. The game used soccer balls until 1894, when John Naismith approached A.G. Spalding and Bros and asked them to create a special ball for the sport.
String baskets also didn’t come into the game till decades after its existence. Early players used soccer balls and peach baskets, and the referees had to get the ball after every outing.
3. Early Basketballers Were Not Allowed To Dribble
A lot has changed since the game of basketball was first played. The first set of players couldn’t dribble with the ball as it was seen as a foul. Players were only allowed to bounce the ball once before passing it.
However, in 1897, a basketball team at Yale decided to adopt dribbling until it was universally accepted. Even with its legality and acceptance, dribbling wasn’t integral to the game until the 1950s.
4. The First Basketball Game Had 18 Players On The Court
When John Naismith invented basketball, he wanted it to be an indoor sport where anybody who wanted could participate. The first basketball game had nine players on each team for a total of eighteen. The game was also divided into two halves, each 15 minutes long, and ended with a 1-0 scoreline.
The five-a-side rule in basketball became official in 1900, and at the time, players substituted out were not allowed back to the pitch. From 1921, players were allowed to come back once. It was increased to two in 1934 before being entirely abolished in 1945.
5. Michael Jordan Paid $5000 For Every Game He Wore A Jordan
Michael Jordan will probably become the most iconic man in basketball history. He’s credited with turning the NBA into the mega industry it is today and bringing immense popularity to the league.
But the Brooklyn-born legend wasn’t just famous for his basketball brilliance – his regular clash with the authorities contributed to his fame. In 1984, Michael Jordan had to pay a fee of $5,000 for every time he wore the red and black Jordan 1.
The shoe was reportedly breaking the NBA’s uniform rules. Nike saw this as a good PR opportunity and used it for adverts. The shoe went on to sell millions and is one of Nike’s most successful products.
6. The Three-Pointer Wasn’t A Thing In Basketball
Steph Curry would not have liked the original basketball game. Before 1979, there were no three-pointers in basketball. Although the NCAA had experimented with the concept in the early 80s, it was not accepted until the late 90s.
7. The Game Was Very Physical
In the early days of basketball, it shared similarities with different sports. For instance, it made use of soccer balls at first. Also, when the ball went out of the court, the referee tossed the ball back to the court, and players from both teams had to struggle for the ball, sharing similarities to American Football and Rugby.
However, this led to many players getting injured and subsequently the abolishment of that rule. Since then, different rules have been implemented to ensure players don’t collide as often as before – reducing the game’s physicality.
The Bottom Line
Since its inception in 1891, basketball has evolved to become the game everyone has come to love today. Different rules have been updated, and records have been broken. Knowing these little facts can help reinforce your love for the sport and serve as bragging rights.