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Ten Fun Facts About Basketball

Basketball has taken the U.S. by storm, with thousands of basketball fanatics glued to their TV sets during the season. What’s more, this fast-paced sport is played by more than 250 million people across the world. Journey back in time to learn some fascinating facts about the game.

1. Basketball Was Invented By a Presbyterian Minister

After complaints about an exceptionally rowdy class of young men at the YMCA training school in Springfield, Massachusetts, James Naismith, a future Presbyterian minister, was assigned the task of inventing a new game to distract the men and keep them occupied. It was winter, so it had to be something indoors.

2. The First Basketball Hoops Were Peach Baskets
Naismith’s first idea was to raise and nail boxes up against the wall for players to throw a ball at, but he couldn’t find any boxes, so they had to resort to peach baskets. As the original baskets were closed at the bottom, the referee needed a ladder on hand to recover the ball.

3. The Original Basketball Game Rules Were Drawn Up in an Hour

It took Naismith only about an hour to draw up the rules for his new game. Most of those rules still apply in some way or another in the modern rule books.

4. Dribbling and Slam Dunks Was Once Illegal

In Naismith’s original rules, dribbling (or “repeated ball bouncing,” as he called it) was not allowed. In 1967, slam dunks were banned from the sport, only to find their way back into the sport nine years later.

5. Basketball Is One of the Roughest Sports in the U.S.

Although James Naismith managed to keep the rowdy men at bay by occupying them with this exciting sport, he couldn’t stop them from getting hurt. Basketball is one of the sports with the most injuries. Out of all of the sports in America today, football is the only sport that has more injuries than basketball.

6. The NBA Was the Result of a Merger

Although the first professional league was already established in 1898 and the U.S. had hordes of basketball teams in the 1920s, the Basketball Association of America (BAA) wasn’t founded until 1946. Three years later, the BAA merged with the National Basketball League, forming the NBA or National Basketball Association as we know it today.

7. Basketball Became Official in Berlin

Basketball was first recognized as an official sport in the 1936 Olympics, which took place in Berlin in Germany. The first professional game was played in Toronto, Canada, in 1946 even though the game is considered an American sport.

8. The Ball Was Not Originally Orange

Teams used to play with any color ball they could get their hands on. The first players just used soccer balls for their games. Although the design used today was introduced back in 1929, it wasn’t until the 1950s that the orange ball started to become the norm.

9. Not All Players Have Been Tall

Wilt Chamberlain scored the most points ever in one game of basketball, with 100 points for Philadelphia against New York in 1962. The shortest player to ever play in the NBA was Mugsy Bogues, measuring at 5 feet, 3 inches tall. The tallest player ever was Gheorge Muresan at 7 feet, 7 inches tall. Michael Jordan carries the record score in playoffs standing at 5,987, a score that still hasn’t been broken.

10. Few Original Teams Exist Today

Since the NBA was formed, the organization saw many teams come and go. Of the original teams, only the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics still exist.

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