Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Earvin “Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael “His Airness” Jordan, Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’ Neal, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, David Stern etc. Do these guys sound a bell?
Ask any strange and unknown guy around the block if he happens to know what makes these guys similar and you’ll get a quick respond: NBA and Basketball, of course!
Since Canadian Dr. James Naismith’s invention of the sport in 1891, basketball has never been the same again. Guys the world over has their eyes glued on their television sets when the sport is on it. And there’s no better way to name a thing that associates to this famous sport than the NBA (National Basketball Association).
I. History – The NBA had its early roots as the Basketball Association of America (BAA) which was established and founded in 1946. And did you know that the idea of having the league established actually came from major ice hockey arena owners. There were many attempts of “professionalizing” the sport by founding various leagues such as the American Basketball League but it was still BAA who were able to held games on most major cities. The National Basketball Association finally got its name debut on NBAe 1946. It has adopted the name after merging with its rival league, the National Basketball League. Currently, NBA is one of the most premiere basketball league in North America, and ranks as the most popular in the world over. It is composed of thirty (30) teams. The introduction of foreign players in the league started in 1947 by a Japanese-American Knicks player, Wataru Misaka. The NBA opened its doors for African-American players in 1950. Since then, an increasing number of international players have started to move-in to play in NBA.
Other important dates in NBA history:
- 1950 – Pistons vs. Lakers 19-18. The lowest in NBA game history is made;
- 1952 – NBA widens the free-throw lane from 6-12 feet;
- 1954 – the introduction of the “shot-clock”;
- 1964 – they again widened the foul lane from 12-16 feet (as players are getting bigger, I guess);
- 1968 – NBA expands to 14 teams;
- 1970 – NBA expands to 17;
- 1974 – teams to 18;
- 1976 – ABA teams-San Antonio, Dallas, Denver, and New York Nets joined in;
- 1978 – Approval of the first franchise trade;
- 1979 – Additional third referee is inserted in the game;
- 1980 – Introduction of the three point line (There you go, Peja!); and,
- May 1980 – NBA teams expands 23 teams.
And since our favorite sport has been piling tons of record books and been filling up the Guinness Book of Records in the sports section, we might as well, note some interesting facts about NBA’s teams, games and players.
II. Teams. – Below are interesting facts about your favorite NBA team:
- The first NBA title was won by the Philadelphia Warriors in 1947;
- The team that won the most championship title is obviously, the Boston Celtics (15);
- It is “the Airness” and the rest of the Chicago Bulls that holds the best playoff records, 72 wins and 10 losses (‘95-‘96 season);
- And the worst comes from the Philadelphia 76ers, 9 wins, 73 losses in the ’72-’73 season. (Their coach must have been really sad…and mad at the same time!);
- The Los Angeles Lakers holds the record for the longest winning streak – 33 games (must got tired of celebrating after that. I presume..);
- The longest losing streak of 24 games comes from the Cleveland Cavaliers (that’s why Lebron is way too popular!);
- The longest winning streak at home belongs to the nest of the Larry Bird, the Boston Celtics – 38 games. They also hold the best record at home 40-1;
- The first NBA game played outside North America was in Japan between Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz; and,
- It was the Atlanta Hawks who got to play first in the Soviet Union. They won over the Soviet team by a single point 85-84.
III. Players. – Now here’s the most exciting part…the individual feats. Just a reminder everyone, what you are about to witness by reading below, are not in any way related to Superman or any Marvel hero you know…
- Still unbroken since 1962 is Wilt Chamberlain’s record of the player with the most number of points made in a single game: 100 points. (Yup fellas, this guy’s got hot hands!). He also holds the most points scored in one half – 59.;
- Sir Wilt also holds the NBA player with most points in an NBA All-Star game – 42 points. This feat is aside from the player with the most points per game average (50.4) and the most points scored in a NBA career (31,419). He is considered as one of NBA’s greatest player and lives as an icon to his co-players and fans around the world.
- A prototype of the scoring abilities and tremendous athletic talents of Mr. Chamberlain is Michael “his Airness” Jordan. He is currently ranked 3rd in most points scored in his entire NBA career – 32,292 points. The feat of the player of the most points per game belongs to him – 32.12 points per game. He also has the most seasons leading scorer- 10 seasons. (Do these guys ever get tired?)
- NBA’s quick hands belong to Utah Jazz’s John Stockton as he holds the most steals in NBA career – 3,625. A same tight spot is shared by Kendall Hill and Larry Kenon in a player with the most number of steals in a single game. They are tied with 11 a piece.
- Wait a minute….is he really not a relative of superman? Again, wilt Chamberlain lords over the rebound department in the NBA. He has pulled a number of 24,934 rebound in his entire NBA career and enjoys the title of the player of having the most rebounds in a single game, 55. (Eat your heart out Dennis Rodman!)
- 1973 was the year for Elmor Smith as he recorded the most blocks in a single game – 17. “The Dream” Hakeem Olajuwon of the Houston Rockets have swatted a total of 3,830 basketballs in his entire NBA career.
- This department is mostly dominated by point guards in the NBA. the top three (3) players with the most assists in career are Utah’s John Stockton (15,806), Indiana’s Mark Jackson and Lakers’ Magic Johnson (10,141).
- The most assists in one game belong to Scott Skiles. He wowed everyone with his 30 assists.
One of the most prestigious awards that one gets in the NBA or on any basketball league aside from the championship crown is the Most Valuable Player (MVP). Lakers’ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan shares the top spot with the most MVPs. No big deal, they just have six (6) each attached to their hats.
IV. Facts, facts, facts…
- Dallas Maverick’s Popeye Jones’ real first name isn’t Popeye, its Ronald Jerome;
- Houston’s Dikembe Mutombo’s real name is Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean Jacques Wamutombo. And this center man speaks seven (7) languages fluently;
- Kobe Bryant added the numbers that he wore during his camp days (143) and came up with his then jersey number eight (8);
- Boston’s Ray Allen is Walter Ray Allen in real life.
- New Orleans’ Bonzi Wells’ real first name is Gawen. It’s the same name that his father and brother shares (Now that’s a real closed family ties!)
- In real life, Atlanta’s Mike Bibby and Boston’s Eddie House are brothers-in-law.
- MVP Tim Duncan has a tattoo of Merlin the Magician on his back.
- Quick and fancy passer from Miami, Jason Williams and NFL Patriot’s Randy Moss started on the same high school basketball team.
- Gilbert Arenas’ pop once had bit acting parts in Miami Vice and Days of Our Lives TV shows.
- Before going to Chicago, Lebron’s bald teammate Drew Gooden’s mother is Finnish by nationality.
- As a kid, Shaq fell from a tree while imitating his favorite hero Spider-Man. He fractured both of his wrists (those two huge ones!)
- Boston’s Kevin Garnett’s wife is sister to the wife of RNB’s Jimmy Jam.
- Rasheed Wallace has a daughter named “Rashiyah”. He likewise had his championship ring he got from the Pistons, altered so that it would fit his middle finger.
- Detroit’s Tayshaun Prince was born in Compton.
- Piston’s Kwame Brown has a daughter named “Kwameeri”.
Aside from playing plenty of basketball day in and day out, the NBA being a large professional basketball league also has other programs that are beneficial not only to its players but also to its millions of avid fans. They have this “NBA Cares” program. The Mission of this program is to address important social issues around the US. Since its establishment in October 2005, various teams and players have already raised more than $97 million. In this umbrella project of the NBA, players through their popularity as well as the game’s, try to formulate outreach programs that could somehow effect positive change in the world. Among the key social issues that they are geared on doing their programs are education, youth and family development, Health and wellness.
With the way the league has been keeping the basketball spirits of millions of fans around the world on an extreme level, it is an interesting fact to note that these guys are not here just to play the game or entertain at the same time. The NBA is selfless in the sense that they are playing with the ball with heart.