The NBA has been around for almost 70 years, but if you did not know anything about the game or its rich history of events, you would think that the NBA had been around for over 700 years. The amount of stuff that has happened over the course of NBA history could even make the limitless Internet reach its end.
Of course, there are some things in the history of the NBA that are too technical and far too boring for your average lay person to digest or even care. I highly doubt that the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) would be interesting to even the most knowledgeable and die hard of fans, except with capologists and basketball super nerds. However, the history of the NBA is by and large very rich in events and full of dramatic interest.
There are some really unique and unusual facts about NBA players and the game of basketball in general, that could perk up anyone’s ears if they like odd and interesting facts. For example, five-time champion and two-time MVP, Tim Duncan, started playing basketball in the Virgin Islands in 9th grade because Hurricane Hugo destroyed his swimming pool. Duncan was an avid swimmer. His sister, Tricia, was an Olympic swimmer and Duncan wanted to follow in her footsteps. However, since Hugo took out Duncan’s swimming pool, along with Duncan’s paranoia for swimming in the ocean because of sharks, Duncan decided to play more of a land sport – basketball. Of course, basketball was sort of a natural fit for Duncan since he was already close to being 7-feet tall.
But can you imagine what the NBA would look like today, if Duncan never played basketball? His presence changed the course of NBA history. The NBA would be totally different today if Hurricane Hugo didn’t force Duncan to play basketball. These are just some of the most interesting, yet weird facts that color the pages of NBA history and this very article.
21 The Phoenix Suns Won and Lost 10 Games in a Row
In 1996-1997, the Phoenix Suns lost the first thirteen games of the season, and then they acquired a certain point guard named Jason Kidd. Once Kidd became the head of the snake, the Suns went on to win 10 games in a row, which helped them finish with the 7th seed in the Western Conference. It just goes to show how quickly the narrative of a team can change with one trade in the same season.
20 Josh Howard’s Had His Legs Broken and Reset
Josh Howard is even more bow legged than LeBron James is, however, it did not stop him from becoming a professional athlete. But when he was younger, he had to get his legs broken and reset to fix it. Unfortunately, Howard’s legs were still pretty bow legged. Parents will tell you that kids usually get bow legged when they start walking too early, which may have happened to Howard.
23. Richard Hamilton Got the Name Rip From Ripped Diapers
I’m not really sure why Richard Hamilton’s father kept ripping his diapers when Richard was a baby, but Rip is a great nickname. Sadly, it came at a great cost. But to whom, I’m not entirely sure, whether it was Richard or his dad cleaning the diapers. Perhaps they should have used Pampers... they look durable in the commercials.
19 LeBron James Eats and Writes Left-Handed
LeBron being dominant with his right hand yet, eating and writing with his left-hand, is pretty much as ambidextrous as it can get. LeBron obviously shoots with his right-hand, which is a good thing for his defenders because if LeBron actually shot with his left-hand, it is quite possible that LeBron would be even more deadly. Left-handed players are rare, so they have a distinct advantage against defenders who are more accustomed to guarding right-handed players.
21. Metta World Peace Applied for a Job at Circuit City
Supposedly, before MWP’s rookie season in 1999, MWP tried to get a part-time job at Circuit City somewhere in the suburbs of Chicago. Since he was drafted by the Chicago Bulls, he figured that he could get a little extra cash and equipment by working for Circuit City. Ironically, this was so long ago, Circuit City isn’t even in business anymore. Maybe they should have hired MWP for PR purposes.
18 NBA Dancers Earn $50-$150 Per Game
Most cheerleaders only do what they do on the side as a part-time job. They typically make $50-$150 per game, but they are also paid for the large amount of hours that they practice. Some teams pay more for their cheerleaders. For example, the Knicks cheerleaders make about $28,000 per year. But by in large, this is a pretty good gig, if you like the game of basketball.
17 The Shortest Player and Tallest Player Were on the Same Team
In the 1987-1988 season, the shortest player and the tallest player in the NBA were on the same team, and they were Manute Bol and Muggsy Bogues. What made this unlikely tandem even more likeable is that they both had great personalities and unique games. Manute may have been 7’7”, but he was also an underrated three-point shooter, while Muggsy was an underrated shot-blocker for his size.
16 Shaquille O’Neal Made Only 1 Three-Point Shot Ever
Shaq has made over 11,196 buckets, but only one of them was a 3-pointer. On February 16th, 1996, the Orlando Magic were playing against the Milwaukee Bucks and the Magic inbounded the ball with only two seconds left. Shaq got the ball from way beyond the top of the arc and shot putted it in for one of the ugliest bank shots you have ever seen. Shaq has attempted 22 three-point attempts, but has only made one of them.
15 Kobe's Parents Co-Signed His First NBA Contract
Since Kobe Bryant was still not considered a legal adult by the time he was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets, and subsequently traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, his parents had to co-sign his contract on his behalf, until he turned 18 later that year. This won’t be a problem for rookies anymore, since you have to be at least a year removed from high school to be eligible for the draft.
14 Max Salary in the WNBA is $101,500 - the NBA is Over $20 Million
The salary cap fluctuates pretty often in the NBA, but as of last year, the max salary for a WNBA player was $101,500, while the maximum salary for a NBA player is north of $20 million. Of course, the NBA has a much larger revenue system than the WNBA, but if the WNBA continues to go on a healthy trajectory, it’s great to see women being able to play on a professional level and getting paid to do what they love.
13 Air Jordan’s Were Banned From the NBA
In 1985, the Jordan’s were born and they would eventually go on to become the most popular sneakers of all-time. However, it did come with a bit of a cost early on. Former Commissioner David Stern was not a fan of the colors of the new sneakers because they clashed with the Bulls uniform, so he fined Jordan $5,000 for every game he played with them on. Of course, Jordan didn’t really care because Nike was paying the fines for him – a small price to pay for Jordan to wear their brand.
12 A Quintuple-Double Has Never Happened in the NBA
We have all seen double-doubles and triple-doubles with somewhat regularity in the NBA. David Robinson even got a quadruple-double once, where he had at least 10 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, and 10 blocks. However, the NBA has never seen a quintuple-double, where someone has averaged at least 10 things in 5 different categories. However, it has happened twice in a girl’s high school basketball game.
11 Providence, RH Once Had a Team
Who knew? But the state of Rhode Island once had a basketball team. Of course, it was in 1946, but nevertheless, the Providence Steamrollers were a legit NBA team. Sadly, their three seasons weren’t exactly winning seasons. They finished with a record of 46-122 overall.
10 Warriors Started 5 Rookies in a Game
In the last game of the 2012 season, the Golden State Warriors started five rookies under the leadership of Mark Jackson to close out their regular season against the San Antonio Spurs. The Warriors started Klay Thompson, Charles Jenkins, Chris Wright, Jeremy Tyler, and Mickell Gladness. Most teams don’t even have five rookies, let alone rookies that start a game at every position.
11. Shaq Challenged Hakeem to One-On-One
In 1995, after the Houston Rockets swept the Orlando Magic, Shaquille O’Neal challenged Hakeem Olajuwon to a game of one-on-one with a typed out note. The Dream shook Shaq to death with his dream shakes and up and unders. He even held Shaq below his regular season average. But Shaq still felt like he was the better individual player on a worse team.
9 60% of Players Are Broke After 5 Years of Retirement
It seems a bit ironic that millionaires can become broke so quickly, but it happens more often than you would think. Sixty percent of NBA players are broke after 5 years in retirement. But when you think about the big houses, nice cars, and the growing entourage surrounding these players, it is easy to understand how the money can disappear so quickly. No wonder Latrell Sprewell was worried about feeding his family.
8 7-Foot Tall Americans Have a 17% Chance to Make the NBA
While someone between 6’6” and 6’8” only has a .07% chance of making the NBA, someone that is 7 feet or taller has a 17% of making the NBA. While that number may seem low to some, it is difficult for most 7 footers to keep up with the quick pace of the NBA. Nevertheless, you can’t really teach size.
7 Charles Barkley Was Cut Twice in High School
Not only was Michael Jordan cut from the varsity team his freshman year, but so was Charles Barkley. In fact, Barkley was cut his freshman and sophomore years in high school. Eventually though, he did make the team, and he ended up having an excellent high school career. By the time he graduated, it led to a scholarship with Auburn University in Alabama.
7. The Shortest Player in NBA History Blocked 39 Shots
It is hard to believe that someone 5’3” even made it to the NBA. It is even harder to believe that someone 5’3” blocked 39 shots on taller players in the NBA. But Muggsy Bogues was no ordinary NBA player. He defied stereotypes and negative feedback his entire life. Make no mistake, Muggsy was not just a token player for PR purposes, he was the real deal.
6 Qyntel Woods Used His Basketball Card as ID
Qyntel Woods was pulled over by the police in March 2003 for speeding and marijuana. The former Portland Trailblazer, however, had no form of ID. So, he offered his basketball card and two credit cards as a supplement. Of course, that did not go well with the cops. Woods was fined $1,096 for driving without a license and speeding, which he pleaded no contest to.
5 Olympian Carl Lewis was Drafted by the Chicago Bulls
Years ago, the NBA didn’t only have 2 rounds in the draft, they had as many as 10 rounds. Since there weren’t really that many players around that could even be drafted, teams just selected random people, even if they didn’t play in the NBA. Lewis was selected with the 208th pick in the 10th round of the 1984 draft.
4 Manute Bol Killed a Lion with a Spear
This is no realistic fiction, this is fact. Bol humorously says that he killed the lion while it was asleep, otherwise, he would have been killed by the lion himself. Bol says that he threw a spear at the lion for killing one of his cows.
3 Only Two Original NBA Teams Have Never Changed Cities: Knicks and Celtics
The only teams that have never relocated since the inception of the NBA are the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics. Just to be clear, we're not talking about expansion teams, but of the teams that were there at the NBA's inception. It does help when you play in such historic cities with a huge fan base that loves the game of basketball. However, this is still an amazing statistic when you think about how many teams have moved since the beginning of the NBA and how some have even moved more than once.
2 Manute Bol Paid 80 Cows For His Wife
Manute Bol’s grandfather had 40 wives and 80 children. After you hear something crazy like that, it won’t sound crazy to you that Manute Bol paid 80 cows for his wife. Bol was a native of the Sudan and a member of the Dinka tribe. So, he grew up with different culture mores than westerners can relate to, but it definitely makes for a good story.
1 Paul Pierce Was Stabbed 11 Times and Still Played Every Game in 2000-2001
It was a late night in Boston on September 25, 2000 at the Buzz Club, which is a night club in the theater district of Boston. Unfortunately, for Paul Pierce he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Pierce was trying to stop a fight and was stabbed 11 times while trying to separate it. Luckily for Pierce, his former teammate, Tony Battie was able to rush Pierce to the nearest hospital.