Basketball became a mainstream sport in the US in 80s and has been a popular sport in the US since the beginning of the 20th century, spreading throughout the world soon after. Players of basketball, a game requiring natural talent, strength, and endurance, are among the highest-paid athletes in professional sports.
But why do you love it? What makes it special? We all love the game for different reasons, and we’re here to celebrate that fact. Basketball fans aren’t just passionate about the sport but its culture as well.
1. The Inventor of Basketball
The sport of basketball was created by Dr. James Naismith in 1891, who went on to found the University of Kansas basketball program in 1898. He wanted to develop an indoor game that would keep his students active during the winter months when they could not play football or baseball outside. 
2. How the Official Basketball is made
The official ball for the men’s competition is made up of leather panels stitched together, with a rubber bladder inside filled with pressurized air; it weighs approximately 22 ounces (625 grams). The official women’s ball has similar construction but is smaller at 20 ounces (572 grams).
3. Basketball was once a Nameless Sport
Basketball was invented by Dr. James Naismith in 1891, but the game went without a name until one of its original players suggested calling it “Naismith Ball”—a suggestion that was quickly declined. The modest inventor suggested calling it “basketball” instead, given that players have a ball and a basket to score.
4. Original Basketballs were Brown
In the early 20th century, basketballs were dark-brown. It was very hard for players and spectators to see these balls, so Tony Hinkle, head coach of Butler University in Indiana, proposed that orange basketballs be used instead. 
5. The Foundation of FIBA
On June 18, 1932, eight European national federations for basketball came together in Geneva, Switzerland, to form FIBA (Fédération Internationale de Basketball). The founding members were Argentina, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and Switzerland.
Basketball was governed by the International Amateur Handball Federation (IAHF) until it was transferred to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).
6. The Longest Game in NBA History
In 1951, the Indianapolis Olympians hosted the Rochester Royals for a game that still holds the record for the longest game in NBA history. After six overtimes and a final score of 75-73, the Olympians emerged victorious. 
7. The First-ever Basketball Match in Europe
The first-ever basketball match in Europe was played at a YMCA Paris in 1893. The Europeans changes the game to their own liking and are considered to be great shooters and defenders. The game became so popular in the continent that now 24 teams from all over it participate in the mega event called the Euro-league, which is the second largest second only to the NBA.
8. The Women’s National Basketball Association
Composed of 12 teams, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) was founded in 1996 with league play officially starting in 1997. By 2003, the number of teams had increased to 14. However, some teams were disbanded in subsequent years, which left the league with 12 teams from 2010 to present.
9. Basketball Games Played in the 1900s
In the early 1900s, basketball games were played inside chicken-wire cages in order to prevent players from falling onto the spectators. and to prevent the ball from going out of bounds. It was, later on, stopped as more players got injured because of fences than falling onto others. That’s also the reason sometimes basketball players are referred to as cagers. 
10. Longest Ever Suspension in the NBA
Ron Artest, who played for the Indiana Pacers, holds the record for the longest suspension in NBA history (non-drug related). After a fight with fans at Madison Square Garden, he was suspended for 86 games (73 regular-season games and 13 playoff games). He lost most of his salary (around $7 million and also had to change teams after being traded to the Houston Rockets.
11. The Standard “Basketball”
The exact size of a basketball depends who it is made for. The size is different according to age, level of play and gender. The standard of official NBA/professional/competitive basketball is round and made of leather or synthetic materials.
It measures 28 29.5 inches (74.9 cm) in circumference, 9.43 to 9.51 inches inches (24-24.2 cm) in width and inflated to a pressure ranging between 7.5-8.5 psi. The maximum weight is 22 ounces (623 grams). The material primarily depends on indoor or outdoor. Outdoor basketballs are usually made of rubber, while full-grain leather ones are more suitable for indoors.
12. The First Professional Basketball League
While James Naismith came up with the idea of the game, it was Frank Mahun who in 1898, founded the first modern professional basketball league. He is widely known as the “father of professional basketball.” The league consisted of six teams with Trenton Nationals being the first champions. However, the league was discontinued in 1904.
13. NBA Players Burn Nearly 800 Calories in Every Game
Basketball is a sport that requires a lot of stamina, agility, and speed. The average player burns around 450 calories, which jumps to 635 for players who play for 45 minutes. On the other hand, an NBA player can burn between 900-1,000 calories for just a 20-minute play. NBA players playing for over 30 minutes can burn even more, ranging from 1,200-1,500 calories. 
14. Doing Warm-up is Essential before Playing Basketball
Just like most other sports and exercises, warming-up is important before getting into the game. Not only it decreases the chances of an injury, it also prepares the body for a higher level of activity. Basketball involves explosive jumping and rapid movements for an extended period of time, so warm up is essential to make the body ready for an adrenaline-fueled game.
15. Dribbling Wasn’t Part of Basketball in the Beginning
Dribbling wasn’t part of basketball in its early years; players could only pass the ball and shoot it into the basket. Dribbling was introduced later to give players more control over their shots. 
16. The First Basketball Court Used Poles Instead Of Free Throw Lines for Foul Calls
In the original 13 rules of basketball created by James Naismith, there was no mention of the term ‘free throw’. Free throw was introduced in the game later on when the inventor realized that fouling a player is a very serious matter, so he made fouls as one point. He later decided to convert a foul into a 20-foot-shot, which later transformed into what we know today as a free throw. 
17. Record for Scoring the Most Points in a Single Basketball Game
Wilt Chamberlain, who played for the Philadelphia Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers, holds the record for most points in a single game of basketball. On March 2, 1962, he scored 100 points against the New York Knicks at Hersheypark Arena in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He broke his own previous records of 78 points and remains one of the most point-scoring players in the history of the sport.
18. Youngest Basketballer to Score 20,000 Career Points
LeBron James is the youngest basketballer to score 20,000 career points in basketball history. LeBron James scored his 20,000th career point in a road win against the Golden State Warriors on January 16, 2013. His point total included 2 points from an 18-foot jumper made with 2:45 left in the second quarter to give him 2,001 career points. James needed 18 points entering the game to be the 38th NBA player to reach the mark. 
19. The Best-Selling Basketball Shoe of All Time
The best-selling basketball shoe of all time is the Air Jordan series designed by Nike and in collaboration with Michael Jordan in 1984. The NBA fined him $5,000 for failing to meet uniform and color policies, but he kept paying the fine and wearing those shoes. The first pair came out in 1985 and became a huge commercial success, which was the same for the upcoming versions including the Air Jordan III.
20. North Korea Has Different Basketball Rules
In North Korea, the rules for playing basketball are different from the rest of the world. First of all, slam dunks are worth 3-points and if the ball does not touch the rim, 3-point shots get 4-points. For every free throw a player misses, the team loses one point. A team gets 8-points if it can score a field goal within the last three seconds of the game. And finally, two teams can become champions in the same match because games are allowed to end in in a tie in North Korea. 
Basketball has been an important part of the American culture. The game may not have a host of historical or culturally significant aspects attached to it, but from the invention of the modern basketball in 1891 by James Naismith to Michael Jordan’s induction into the Hall of Fame in 2009, the sport has made many contributions to American society and lifestyle.
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- Basketball once was played in a wire ‘Cage’. (1999, August 25). Daily Press. https://www.dailypress.com/news/dp-xpm-19990825-1999-08-25-9908250022-story.html
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- Referees, N. (2017, January 25). How has basketball changed over 125 years? Here are the 13 original rules. Medium. https://officialnbarefs.medium.com/how-has-basketball-changed-over-125-years-here-are-the-13-original-rules-a3e35d98962
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- North Korea’s totally insane basketball rules. (n.d.). This Is Basketball. https://thisisbasketball.world/north-koreas-totally-insane-basketball-rules/
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