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20 Crazy NBA Facts You Never Knew About

Updated on April 22, 2013

Think you know NBA history? No, we’re not talking about things like who invented basketball. Every NBA sports betting online enthusiasts knows that honor goes to Canadian James Naismith, who invented the sport back in 1891. We’re talking about things like, “which NBA player had the balls to spit on a young girl, out with her family to watch a basketball game?” Or, “How did the Nintendo Game Boy change NBA history forever?”

Want the answers? Read on for 20 interesting NBA facts you never knew.

  • Only two teams in the original NBA teams still exist today. That would be the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks. Every other original team has either moved or folded since the league started up.
  • Think the Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies (clearly not in Vancouver anymore) were the first Canadian NBA franchises? Think again. The Toronto Huskies claim the honor. Or honour, for our Canadian friends.
  • Wilt Chamberlain has scored a lot. No, we’re not talking about the 20,000 women he claimed to have slept with. We’re talking about scoring 2000 points in a single season. But he wasn’t the first. That record was first stamped by George Yardley, who managed to net 2001 points playing for the Detroit Falcons back in the 1957-58 season.
  • Speaking of rebounding from woman to woman… Jokes. But we are talking about rebounds here. And Chamberlain. Wilt holds the record for most rebounds in a single game at 55, set back on November 24, 1960.
  • Air Jordan is widely considered the greatest basketball player of all time. So it might come as a shock that he wasn’t the first overall pick in the 1984 draft. That went to Hakeen Olajuwon.
  • You don’t need to be tall to be a first-round pick. Muggsy Bogues is the smallest NBA player in history, standing tall at 5’3”.
  • Isiah Thomas once scored 16 points in 94 seconds. Impressive, right? What’s more shocking, though, is that his Pistons actually lost the game. It was the fifth game—the deciding one no less—of the first round of the 1984 playoffs against the New York Knicks. New York took it.
  • Kobe Bryant wasn’t a top-10 pick. In fact, he slipped beyond the first dozen, coming in at number 13. Any guess who got picked sooner? Erick Dampier, Todd Fuller, Vitaly Potapenko, Lorenzen Wright, Kerry Kittles, and Samaki Walker. Yes, we’re serious.
  • A lot has been said about the Miami Heat’s crazy-long winning streak this season. But the Phoenix Suns have an impressive streak of their own back in the 1996-97 season. They followed a 10-game losing streak with a 10-game winning streak, sliding their way into the playoffs.
  • Playing in the NBA is everyone’s dream, but not necessarily for Pau Gasol of the Lakers. He actually went to med school.
  • Vince Carter was a drum major in high school. Seriously.
  • Manute Bol claims to have killed a lion with a spear. At 7’7”, the lion likely mistook him for a giraffe, at least that’s what we assume. Either way, sucks to be that lion.
  • Jump balls actually used to happen after every basket. That would make for one long, grueling NBA game. But we suppose it would improve beer sales in the stands.
  • Orlando Magic guard Scott Skiles holds the record for most assists ever in a single game. He handed out 30 of them against the Denver Nuggets on December 30, 1990.
  • It turns out Cleveland really does rock. On December 17, 1993, The Cavaliers crushed the Miami Heat 148-80. That’s the game with the NBA’s largest margin of victory ever in history.
  • Wondering what the “T’ in Shawn “T” Kemp stands for? So do we. Apparently, it’s fake. Means absolutely nothing.
  • It definitely doesn’t suck to be Charles Barkley. Not now with his post-NBA career. And not during his time setting records in the NBA. But in high school? That’s a different story. Barkley was actually cut from the high school team in his freshman and sophomore years. He only played two years of high school basketball. But we’re guessing they were two great years.

    Speaking of Charles Barkley, he once spat on a young girl by accident. Another fan, who was verbally assaulting Barkley, was the target of his saliva. But Barkley missed. He ended up befriending the girl, offering her tickets to future games.
  • The second-most embarrassing sports injury in NBA history goes to Drew Gooden, who saw his 83 consecutive game streak come to an end due to infected leg hair follicles. Yup. For real.
  • The most embarrassing sports injury? That has to go to Lionel Simmons of the Sacramento Kings back during the 1990-91 season. He was sidelined with wrist tendinitis for playing his Nintendo Game Boy too much. Seriously? Eyestrain, we totally get. But tendinitis? That’s some hardcore Tetris.


As we approach the NBA playoffs, you can expect some history-making to happen. Hopefully, no PlayStation injuries, though.

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