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Basketball is one of the most loved games on the planet with millions of amateur and professional players. We have all tried to dunk a ball at some point. If you are a fan of the game, there are a few facts about it that you may not be aware of — like that the game was first played with a soccer ball! Below are some other interesting facts about the game to intrigue you even further:
The game of pioneers
The first game was a shadow of what basketball is right now, with only one point being scored in a pitch about half the standard size of today’s courts. It was invented then by Dr. James Naismith, who was trying to get his gym students a fun indoor pastime as it was raining at the time.
At first, the teams consisted of 9 players on each side just like baseball, but the number was later reduced to 5 team players in 1897. The game was played in 1891 and only went for about 30 minutes.
Another interesting fact is that in the early 1900s, the game was played in chicken wire mesh cages to stop them from running onto the spectators’ seats.
The first professional game was played in 1946 in Toronto, and it was between the Toronto Huskies and the New York Knickerbockers. Before the second world war, basketball was only well known in the US, especially in high schools and colleges. After WWII, television exposure made it globally popular.
Only two teams among the original NBA teams still exist, with the others either folding or shifting. These are the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics.
The NBA (National Basketball Association) was born in 1949 from a combination of the Basketball Associate of America (BAA) and the NBL (National Basketball League). The Sacramento Kings are the longest standing franchise in the NBA since being founded in 1923.
Crème de la Crème
Michael Jordan is one of the most remarkable basketball players in the world, with a career score of 32,292 and a record score of 5987 in the playoffs, which has never been broken.
The ball color:
Since the beginning of the game, the ball has always been brown, but now you may spot an orange ball. The Women’s NBA even uses multi-colored balls. The most widely known company that makes basketballs is Spalding, and they have made the official NBA ball since 1983.
What ball to use?
Basketball was played with a soccer ball until 1929 when a standard ball was explicitly created for it.
Types of basketball:
The several basketball variations include:
- Wheelchair basketball,
- Water, Beach,
- Unicycle basketball,
- Slamball, and
Regardless of the variation, free basketball themed slots are a great way to show off your love for the game.
Why the backboard?
The backboard was introduced to nail the basketball hoops to the mezzanine balcony of the court and stop the fans in the audience from handling the ball, thus interfering with the game’s progress. Before, backboards were made of chicken wire.
In 1967, slum dunks were declared illegal, only to be legalized nine years later. Another fun fact is that it was previously known as the dunk shot until an American commentator coined the name slam dunk in the 70s.
Introduction of women’s basketball
Women’s basketball was introduced the same year as that of men, only that the rules were altered to fit women. College basketball has always been a big deal in the US, with the first intercollegiate women’s basketball game being played between Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley in 1896.
Basketball was made an official Olympic Sport in 1936 Berlin games.
Just how much do the players exert themselves during play?
NBA player can run up to 4 miles in each game and can jump up to 28 inches off the ground. You can also expect your average professional male player to be about 6 foot 3 (1.91m) and a female elite player to be 5 feet 7 (1.70m) in height, which is quite tall! However, the shortest elite NBA player is Muggsy Bogues, who was only 5 foot 3 (1.60m) tall, with the tallest NBA player being 7 foot 7, which is just as high as a Christmas tree!
Out of bounds
Before, every time the ball went out of bounds, the referee tossed it back to the court so that the first team that touched it got possession. However, this technique led to an upsurge in the number of injuries, so a new rule in 1913 had it that the team that touched the ball last before it went out of bounds lost possession.
Rules that have not always been there
The three-pointer was introduced just recently when the NBA adjusted their rules. Also, dribbling was introduced in 1897. Before then, when you caught the ball, you had to throw it to a teammate immediately to get the game moving.