The NBA more so than any other major professional sport has done a great job commanding the attention of the youngest audience.
Critics bemoan the league’s decline in TV ratings, but they fail to recognize the unique form the Association’s popularity takes. In gearing their product and coverage toward teenagers and young adults, they are more concerned with post-contemporary methods of sports consumption: YouTube highlights, Twitter discussions, Instagram impressions, mobile app streams and even revenue generated from sportsbook partnerships and registrations, localized advertisers, jersey and arena sponsorships and traffic from their stats website.
None of which makes the NBA the absolutely most lucrative sport. It still trails the NFL domestically and soccer globally. But it’s business model and consumer interest is still sprawling. The targeted fanbase has merely aged in reverse, making it difficult for older heads to understand its success.
By steering the game towards younger enthusiasts, though, the NBA has aided a gap in knowledge. Teenagers and 20-somethings and even some 30-somethings won’t be as schooled in the history of the game. That, in turn, has created a market for nostalgia, in which fans are less likely to know what used to be common facts about the league but are more eager to discover and receive them.
With this phenomenon in mind, we’ve parsed the lexicon of NBA history for interesting yet little-known facts today’s fans might not know, but will definitely appreciate either way.
Top 9 Facts You Didn’t Know About The NBA
1. Shaquille O’Neal Made Just One Three-Pointer His Entire Career
Shaquille O’Neal’s NBA career lasted nearly two decades, many of which were spent dominating the rest of the league. He has since been inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame and continues to be recognized as one of the greatest players of all-time.
But did you know he made just one—one—three his entire career? Sure, outside shooting was never his game. He still launched a total of 22 triples across 19 seasons. That he made one is kind of hysterical and random…and good enough for a career 4.5 percent clip from downtown.
2. Charles Barkley Played Just Two High School Seasons
Everyone knows about Michael Jordan not making his varsity team as a freshman in high school. Fewer people know that Charles Barkley, another Hall of Famer and all-time great, only played two years of high school basketball, period.
This sounds absurd on its face, as he’s considered a top-50 player ever. It’s also the truth. He was cut from his high school’s team as both a freshman and sophomore.
3. Kobe Bryant’s First Contract Was Co-Signed By His Parents
How young was Kobe Bryant when he entered the NBA coming out of the 1996 draft? So young he quite literally needed parental permission to get paid.
Though Kobe’s rookie year is considered his age-18 season, he was actually just 17 at the time of the draft. That made him a minor until his birthday in late August.
During that roughly two month span between when he was selected and when he turned 18, he needed to sign his rookie-scale contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. But he couldn’t do so on his own. As a minor, he needed parental consent. Talk about a lucrative permission slip.
4. Allen Iverson Holds the Record for Steal in a Playoff Game
This one will come as a surprise to most.
Allen Iverson is remembered first and foremost as one of the greatest scorers by both fans new and old. More than that, he’s not at all remembered for his defense. He was a generously listed 6’0” and weighed under 170 pounds. He was never going to have a huge impact on the less glamorous end, even if he tried.
And yet, he somehow holds the record for steals in a playoff game. He snagged 10 swipes in a 1999 win over the Orlando Magic, breaking the previous record of eight.
5. The Raptors Didn’t Draft Vince Carter
Vince Carter is the NBA’s rare superstar journeyman. Injuries limited the length of his prime, but his status as a household name never wavered.
That makes for a complicated legacy. Most players of his caliber don’t wind up playing for eight different teams. He did. And while his tenure with the Toronto Raptors didn’t end so well, he is still most associated with that franchise, since that’s where he began his career and cannonballed into megastardom.
But did you know the Raptors weren’t the team to draft him? The Golden State Warriors actually selected him at No. 5 in 1998 and then traded him to Toronto for Antawn Jamison, the No. 4 picks in that same 1998 class, and cash. It’s safe to say the Raptors won that trade, even though Carter never brought them a title.
6. Air Jordans Were Banned From The NBA
This legendary sneaker has been around since 1985, but it wasn’t as popular or love back in the day. Most players wore simple white shoes when playing the game.
In fact, did you know that Stern fined Michael Jordan $5000 each time that he had those shoes on?! Slowly yet surely, these sneakers became a well-loved piece! Nowadays everyone owns at least one pair, and both men and women love this shoe for casual or semi-formal gatherings.
7. There Were Drastic Differences In Height Between The Two NBA Players
The player Muggsy Bogues was only 5’3” and was the shortest person ever to play in the NBA. People cheered for him because he was so amazing at doing steals. In some rare cases, he could even go between the legs of a player.
At the same time, he played on the team with Manute Bol, who has 7’7”! The tallest person ever to play NBA. Their difference was so funny and easily recognizable, as well as something new in the field.
8. Loads Of Players Have Ended Up Being Broke
Latrell Sprewell is just one of those players who has had a tough period. One issue of Sports Illustrated dates back to 2009 and has an amazing article on how millionaires go broke. Loads of these players own villas, luxurious cars, high-end shoes, as well as resorts, that become impossible to maintain after their career is over.
This is why you should think ahead about your future, and you should invest some money. While on this topic, you can also have loads of fun and win some amazing bonuses when betting on basketball, just click here!
9. One Of The Players Was Stabbed 11 Times, And He Was Still Able To Play
Paul Pierce was an amazing basketball player who played for Boston during the 2000s. One night in September, Paul was at the Buzz Club in Boston. He found himself at the wrong place during the wrong time, and he tried to stop a fight from happening. In return, he got stabbed 11 times. He ended up being injured in his face, neck, and back. However and only three days later, he was back on his feet and he was ready to play the game. In fact, he was the only player that played 82 games in that season. He was mentally tough, which further showed in his game.
Are You A Basketball Fanatic?
If you are, were you aware of these top nine interesting facts? Which one of these is the most shocking, and which fact seems so typical and common for the basketball industry? NBA has always had a clear set of goals, a bright future, as well as fabulous statistics. Let us know your thoughts, and if there are some other interesting facts that we might have missed out on!