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10 Basketball Facts for the Curious Mind

  1. James Naismith (1861–1939)—a Canadian physical education teacher is the man behind the invention of basketball. He created the game as an alternative to football, which to him, is a lesser injury-prone sport. Also, James Naismith invented basketball so he could keep his athletic class busy on rainy days.
  2. In the early 1900s, basketball was played in cages of chicken wire and mesh. The idea is to keep players from falling into spectator seats. Back then, players would often get injured during the intense games.
  3. Michael Jordan’s Air Jordan remains the best-selling basketball shoe of all time. Although it was initially banned by the NBA and Michael Jordan was fined for wearing them. Did you know?… the Basketball Legend kept wearing them, and for each game, he paid the fine. Eventually, the NBA got tired of it and dropped the rule.
  4. The Game of Basketball was played by using a soccer ball until the year 1929. Back then, players would rub coal dust on their hands to grip the ball better.
  5. Slam dunks were illegal for almost nine years (1967 to 1976). This is because of the dominance of one man— no other the then-college phenomenon Lew Alcindor (now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). His dominant use of the shot led to the ban of The Slam dunk.
  6. In a 1977 basketball court fight between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets, forward Kermit Washington almost fatally punched forward Rudy Tomjanovich. “The Punch,” as it was referred, dislocated Tomjanovich’s jaw and it caused his spinal fluid to leak from his brain. The forward recalled tasting his own spinal fluid via his mouth.
  7. Another basketball fight, known as the most infamous brawl in NBA history happened on the 19th of November 2004. The NBA suspended 9 players, causing a total of $11 million to be lost in salaries. Five basketball fans also received criminal charges and were banned from Piston home games for life.
  8. In another fight, basketball player Latrell Sprewell attacked and choked coach P.J. Carlesimo in the year 1997. The American former professional basketball player received a 68-game suspension— the second-longest in the history of the NBA. Did you know?…. Sprewell kept choking Carlesimo, for about 15 seconds before other players forcefully pulled him off.
  9. Standing at 6′9″, Magic Johnson became the tallest point guard in NBA history. Before the American retired professional basketball player, no tall player had possessed the passing skills needed to succeed in that position.
  10. Lisa Leslie holds the record as the first woman to dunk the ball in a WNBA game. She is 6 foot 5, a three-time WNBA MVP and a four-time Olympic gold medal winner.

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