Basketball Fun Facts


  • The very first hoops Naismith used were peach baskets with no bottoms. The 10 foot height that is still considered regulation was just happenstance: the ceiling at the YMCA gym that Naismith used for the game was too low to use any taller height.
  • The very first basketball was actually a soccer ball. It wasn't until 1929 that the basketball used today was introduced.
  • As basketball became more and more popular, backboards became important and were made from wire. Backboards were used so that the spectators behind the basket would not play around with the ball.
  • Before backboards, players used the wall as support for climbing or bounding and scored baskets this way. Around 1920, the baskets were extended out two feet and had backboards added to them.
  • By 1948, two basketball groups existed: the National Basketball League and the Basketball Associate of America. The NBL and BAA combined in 1949 into the NBA (National Basketball Association.)
  • The now defunct American Basketball Association created the flash that is seen in games. The alley-oop came from the ABA and that basketball association introduced dunk contests into games. Also, the three-point line emerged from the ABA. The NBA started the three-point line for their league in 1979.
  • When the ABA was dissolved, the Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets and San Antonio Spurs transferred leagues and became permanent in the NBA.
  • In 1936's summer games, basketball was inducted as an official Olympic sport and was played outdoors for many years.
  • Slam dunks were deemed illegal in 1967. That lasted nine years and came back for the 1976-1977 season.
  • The Chicago Bulls is the only team that has won the NBA championships (for a total of six) each time they appeared.

Points and Scoring

Kareem Abdul has the record for most points in a career. Over 20 years, he scored 38,387 points. In a single game, Wilt Chamberlain has the record at 100 points. That happened on March 2, 1962 and the opposing team continued to foul Chamberlain so he would not reach 100 points. He was a terrible free throw shooter, but he still hit 100 points. The player that has the second most points in a game is Kobe Bryant with 81 points. Michael Jordan has scored more points total in playoff games with 5,987. The only player to average 90% or more each season is Mark Price. In second is Rick Berry, who only shot free throws underhand.


  • Also in 1896, college women played their first game. Stanford defeated California 2 to 1. Each team played with 9 players. The women's teams could not steal the ball and their uniforms covered every part of their body except hands and head.
  • March Madness goes all the way back to 1939. The first NCAA tournament was played at the University of Illinois.
  • Games before 1937 went longer than necessary. That was because after each basket, the referee started the next possession as a jump ball.