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Basketball Trivia

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Athletic Greatness: Michael Jordan was the Chicago Bulls' all-time leading scorer with 29,277 points; his career scoring average of 31.5 is the highest of any player in NBA/ABA history. Jordan was selected in 1996 as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history; he was named NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, and 1998, as well as NBA Most Valuable Player in 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, and 1998.

About 30 percent of NBA players sport tattoos, compared with about 4 percent of the nation's population.

According to manufacturer Spalding, the average lifespan of an NBA basketball is 10,000 bounces.

Basketball got its name from the half-bushel peach baskets used as targets by the originator, James A. Naismith, in 1891.

Basketball is the most popular sport among college women, followed by volleyball and tennis.

Basketball's Nate Archibald, Larry Bird, Tony Kukoc, David Robinson, Bill Russell, Nick Van Exel, Bill Walton, and Lenny Wilkens are left-handed.

Basketball's three-point field goal distance, established by the NBA, is 22 feet. Internationally, it's set at 20 feet, 6.1 inches.

During the 1992-93 season, former Phoenix Suns coach Paul Westphal won more basketball games (62) than any rookie coach in NBA history.

Earl Lloyd was the first black ever to play in an NBA game when he took the floor for the Washington Capitols on October 31, 1950 in Rochester, New York. Lloyd was one of three blacks to become NBA players in the 1950 season. The other two were Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton, who was signed by the New York Knicks, and Chuck Cooper, who was drafted by the Boston Celtics. Cooper debuted the night after Lloyd.

In 1894, A. G. Spalding & Bros. in Chicopee, Massachusetts invented the first official basketball. The first balls were made of panels of leather that were stitched together over a rubber bladder.

In 1996, measuring 6 feet 6 inches, "Sir" Charles Barkley was the shortest basketball player ever to lead the NBA in rebounding.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar racked up the greatest number of personal fouls in his professional career – 4,657 of them.

On January 15, 1892, the first basketball rule book was published.

On June 24, 1989, Sharunas Marchulenis became the first Soviet basketball player to join the NBA, as Golden State signed the 6-foot, 5-inch guard to a three-year contract.

Seven-foot-two Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was born just a bit longer than the average newborn at 22˝ inches, but he weighed a hefty 12 pounds, 11 ounces. His name at birth was Lewis Alcindor.

Surprisingly in 1969, basketball legend Jerry West was named NBA Most Valuable Player of the finals despite losing.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology reported that about 30,000 children are treated for sports-related eye injuries in U.S. emergency rooms every year. Ninety percent of those injuries are preventable by wearing safety goggles. Baseball and basketball are the two most hazardous sports for the eye. The primary eye danger in basketball isn't the ball — it's the opponent.

The Harlem Globetrotters once played before an audience of one – in 1931, before Pope Pius XI.

The Harlem Globetrotters played their unprecedented 20,000th career basketball game on January 12, 1998. No other professional sports team, including the NBA, MLB, NHL, and NFL, has ever reached this historical milestone. The Globetrotters got their start in 1926 as the "Savoy Big Five."

The only teams in the NBA that have names not ending in the letter "S" are the Utah Jazz, the Miami Heat, and the Orlando Magic.

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