Basketball is a popular sport involving two teams competing to see which can shoot more balls through a hoop. Since it was developed in the late 19th century, it has grown to be one of the world’s leading sports. How many of these fun basketball facts did you know?
- Basketball was invented in 1891 by Dr James Naismith, a Canadian-American physician: At the time, Dr Naismith was a physical education teacher at a YMCA in Massachusetts. Due to the cold winters, his class had to play sport inside.
- Faced with a limited selection of indoor games, Dr Naismith was slowly going crazy trying to control the class: His boss gave him a deadline of 14 days to create an indoor game that could provide a distraction to the class.
- Armed with this ultimatum, Dr Naismith logically determined the rules of basketball, and the game was born: Instead of conventional basketballs, a soccer ball was used, and peach baskets were initially used as hoops.
- While the players were initially too impressed with the new game, it would soon catch on in a big way: By the following year, basketball was a big hit at the YMCA, and a local journalist did a feature on the new sport.
- Basketball is one of the world’s most popular and followed sports in contemporary times: In fact, the athletes in the NBA, the leading US competition, are on average the world’s best-paid sports stars.
- While basketball is typically played on a court, there are countless variations of the sport in different settings with varied rules: There’s beach basketball, water basketball (played in a swimming pool) and even unicycle basketball (yes, it’s a thing!)
Fun Basketball Facts:
- As you’d expect, basketballers are among the tallest sports stars in the world: The average height of an NBA basketballer is 6 feet 7 inches (2.01 m). The tallest players in history were both the same height, at an amazing 7 feet 7 inches (2.31 m).
- Perhaps a bit less expected is that fact that some (relatively) shorter players have also had success: The shortest player in NBA history was Muggsy Bogues. who was just 5 feet 3 inches (1.60 m). He played as point guard for several teams.
- Basketball has been contested as a sport at the Summer Olympics ever since 1936: Perhaps it’s not a big shock that the US team has been the most successful, with the men’s team winning 15 out of 18 gold medals.
- The US women’s basketball team has also had plenty of success at the Olympic games: Women’s basketball first became an Olympic event at the 1976 Games, and the US women’s team has won 8 out of 10 titles in that time.