Being a NBA fan, there is never a bad moment to learn more about the best basketball league in the world and its heroes. No matter how hard you try, though, there will always be many little facts and details that you might have missed.
There is absolutely no reason to feel bad about it, as I can assure you that most of us are in the exact same situation. With that in mind, I decided one day to dig a bit deeper and find some strange, or in any case eye-catching, NBA facts that you could never have imagined that they were true.
Prepare yourself for a very interesting and surprising journey to some of the strangest NBA facts that you have never heard before:
1. Once upon a time Shaquille was a rapper!
Everybody knows how dominating Shaquille O’Neal was inside the court. But that wasn’t the only place where Shaq was successful. Back in 1994, Shaquille O’Neal and Fu-Schnickens released the song “What’s up Doc” which was the opening act of Shaq in the hip-hop song.
Like it or not, you must admit that Shaq has the flow:
2. Pau Gasol had studied to become a doctor
Could you imagine visiting Pau Gasol for a medical advice? Me neither! Believe it or not, Pau Gasol has attended the Medical School but lucky for us he chose to focus on basketball which at the end seems like a good choice.
3. Kobe Bryant found love on a rap music set
While on the shootings of a hip-hop video, you expect to find many things but surely not the love of your life. That doesn’t apply to Kobe’s case. Bryant met Vanessa (his former wife) on the set of a Tha Eastsidaz recording proving that impossible is nothing if you have the right attitude and your eyes open.
4. The Cavs hold the biggest margin victory in NBA history
What if I tell you that there was life in the Cavs planet many years before the arrival of Lebron James? Back in 1991 (December 17th), the Cleveland Cavaliers played against the Miami Heat and won the game 148-80.
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This 68-point margin is the largest ever noted in the NBA history and definitely a moment of pride for the Cavaliers.
5. Boston and New York are the only stable homes
That’s an extraordinary fact which shows how fragile things in the NBA are in terms of franchises and the area where they are actually based. The Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks are the only teams that have never moved from their base.
6. When every basket leads to jump ball
Yes, you understood correctly! There was a time in the NBA when jump balls were compulsory after every basket. I don’t even want to imagine how much the games would last if this was still a rule today.
7. Six games of Steph Curry equals to a year of Chamberlain’s basketball
The next NBA fact is a very good indication of how much the NBA has grown financially. Wilt Chamberlain had to play for an entire year in order to make as much money as Steph Curry made just by playing the first six games of this NBA season. Poor Wilt!
8. “Larry the Bird”
The logo of Twitter is actually named after Larry Bird. That’s probably the most random NBA fact you have ever heard!
9. The word “three-peat” is trademarked by Pat Riley
Last but certainly not least, Pat Riley has trademarked the word three-peat! And not only that but four different trademarks of the word belong to him according to ESPN.
10. A record that Wilt Chamberlain doesn’t hold
Scoring 2000 points during one NBA season is something extremely hard. Very few have achieved it and surprisingly Wilt Chamberlain wasn’t the first one. In 1957-58, George Yardley managed to score 2001 points becoming the first NBA player to reach this impressive milestone.
11. Harlem Globetrotters have retired Chamberlain’s jersey
Most of NBA fans have associated Wilt Chamberlain with his dominant NBA performances and of course his 100-point night in 1962 against the New York Knicks. Truth is that Chamberlain’s basketball journey started a bit earlier with the Harlem Globetrotters uniform.
He spent just one year with them but it proved to be more than enough. The Globetrotters retired the jersey with number 13 in 2000 (March 9).
12. Have you heard of Walter Allen?
I’m sure you have but it might be hard to guess who it is. That is Ray Allen, of course! That’s an extremely random NBA fact which very few would know. But now you are also one of them. Congrats!
13. Vince Carter was drafted by the Golden State Warriors
When you hear Vince Carter, Toronto Raptors come to mind. That’s a very logical reflex for most of us. That being said, imagine my shock when I found out that Vince Carter wasn’t drafted by the Toronto Raptors but traded there later on.
In the 1998 NBA draft, the team from Toronto chose Antawn Jamison as its fourth pick. As soon as they acquired Jamison they sent him to the Golden State Warriors. The opposite journey was done by Vince Carter who by the way was a very good friend with Jamison back then.
14. Kobe Bryant was No. 13 in NBA Draft
Is this real life? As a matter of fact, yes! Kobe Bryant wasn’t selected in the Top 10 draft picks of the 1996 NBA Draft. What’s even more shocking is the list of the players who were picked by the NBA teams before Kobe Bryant.
In a nutshell, here are all twelve of them:
- Allen Iverson
- Marcus Camby
- Shareef Abdur-Rahim
- Stephon Marbury
- Ray Allen
- Antoine Walker
- Lorenzen Wright
- Kerry Kittles
- Samaki Walker
- Erick Dampier
- Todd Fuller
- Vitaly Potapenko
15. The best NBA free-throw shooter is…
Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Steph Curry DON’T hold the title of the most efficient free-throw shooter in the NBA history. Can you guess who holds it? Probably not and that’s why it’s considered to be one of the most random NBA facts!
Mark Price with 90.4% is the man you want to trust with the ball if your team is heading to the charity line!
16. Do you know NBA’s “Pink Panther”?
Not sure about the reasons of this nickname but Toni Kukoc was the man who had to live with it.
17. Wilt Chamberlain holds a very unique Rookie record
Among other records and achievements in his basketball career, Wilt Chamberlain holds a great record which has to do with his performances throughout his rookie year in the NBA. More analytically, he is the only one to lead the league in terms of scoring in his rookie season.
Chamberlain averaged 37.6 points which is a remarkable achievement and another NBA fact that you might have not heard of.
18. Chris Webber was drafted by Orlando but never wore the Magic jersey
Chris Webber entered the NBA as one of the most promising assets for the future of the league. That comes as no surprise if we consider his great numbers during college (17.4 points and 10 rebounds per game).
The Orlando Magic was the lucky team to pick him in the first position of the 1993 NBA draft. At this point, most would expect that with a choice like that Orlando would start building their future empire around Webber. But the Magic had a different plan. They offered Chris Webber to the Warriors in exchange for Penny Hardaway.
That’s admittedly a fun NBA fact as the majority of basketball fans believe that Chris Webber was in Golden State from day one.
19. “Mr Bean” is the god of Los Angeles
Yes, you guessed right! Random NBA fact number 19 has to do with Kobe Bryant and his unique middle name. Kobe Bean Bryant had managed to keep this secret for quite a while with great success but now it’s out there. Sorry not sorry!
20. Bill Russell wasn’t always a Celtic
The next NBA fact will be kind of surprising for the fans from Boston. Bill Russell won 11 rings with the Celtics and will always be seen as an emblematic figure for them and the city of Boston. Nonetheless, there was a time in his basketball career where Russell had to step forward for some other colours.
More specifically, he was coaching the Seattle Supersonics from 1973 to 1977 and the Sacramento Kings in 1987-88. It goes without saying that Russell didn’t have the same impact there as he had on the Celtics.
21. Oscar Robertson is the only player who had an entire season of triple-doubles
With all these great players who have played in the NBA, you would think that there would be more than one who managed to average a triple-double for an entire season. Interestingly enough, Oscar Robertson is the only one who has achieved that. In 1962, he had on average 30.8 pts, 12.5 rbs, and 11.4 assists.
The funny thing is that he wasn’t named MVP of the league that season, as he was leading the league only in terms of assists. In any case, though, an unprecedented season for Oscar Robertson.
22. The crazy winning and losing strike of the Suns in the same season
The 1996-97 Phoenix Suns was a team of paradox. That’s the only explanation to the fact that they had in the same season a 10-loss and a 10-win streak. Namely, they started the season with 13 straight losses.
Things changed drastically for the better once Jason Kidd came aboard. In the end, the Suns made it even to that year’s playoff.
23. Michael Jordan wasn’t the first draft pick
Well, that would almost be a blasphemy if it wasn’t for Hakeem Olajuwon. Michael Jordan was selected in the third place in the NBA draft behind Hakeem and Sam Bowie (!).
24. Yao Ming is the NBA All-Star game “Guru”
Yao Ming is the only NBA player of the modern era who had made it to all NBA All-Star games during the period that was actively playing the game. That’s a record that even NBA legends such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant would be seriously jealous of.
25. Ben Simmons can’t make 3-pointers
Ben Simmons is one of the most influential players for the Philadelphia 76ers but he is not perfect. His 3-point skills seems to need a lot of improvement if we take into account that Simmons “managed” to make zero 3-pointers in 2,732 minutes during his Rookie season in the NBA.
26. Allen Iverson has the most steals in a single NBA Playoff game
It’s true that when we think of Allen Iverson, the first thing that crosses our mind has to do with his great scoring abilities and his airy basketball style. Few might know that Allen Iverson is also the holder of a defence-related record.
In the 1999 Playoffs, Iverson had 10 steals in the same game against the Orlando Magic. In AI we trust!
27. Vince Carter has an artistic side
Dunking is an art of its own but this apparently wasn’t enough for NBA legend Vince Carter. During his high-school years, Vinsanity was playing the drums. I haven’t heard him playing so I can’t judge but I’m sure that basketball was a better fit for him.
28. Shawn Kemp in Top 10 draft picks? Well…
Surprise surprise! After Kobe Bryant, another NBA legend who wasn’t appreciated in the NBA drafts was Shawn Kemp. He was picked in the 17th position by the Seattle Supersonics. One thing is sure: many GM’s were banging their head on the wall after seeing him playing!
29. Derrick Rose now and then
Derrick is back and the numbers talk for themselves. Rose is having the best season of his career since 2011. He is averaging 18.5 points and 4.6 assists per game with 48.5% FG and 47% 3-point FG.
30. Muggsy Bogues was a first-round NBA draft pick
Who can forget Muggsy Bogues? The shortest player (5’3”) who have ever played in the NBA and managed to become a hero for many basketball fans due to his height and the fights on court.
Despite his popularity, nobody expected that Muggsy Bogues would be selected as a first-round pick in the 1987 draft by the Washington Bullets. He was chosen in the 12th position and he managed to play in the league for 14 years.
31. The career high of KD is just 54 points!
Now, don’t get me wrong here. Scoring 54 points in a NBA game isn’t something easy. To the contrary, it’s a remarkable achievement. Nevertheless, when we are talking about Kevin Durant the expectations are a bit higher. Especially, if we take into account that there have been 58 players who have scored more points in the course of all these years.
The good news is that KD has very good chances to improve his record very soon if he continues to perform like he does today.
32. The Raptors aren’t the first Toronto-based basketball team
Yes, you heard correctly! The Raptors aren’t the first basketball team to represent the city of Toronto and by extension Canada in the NBA.
The first Toronto-based basketball team to participate in the magic world of the NBA was the Toronto Huskies. Nevertheless, they didn’t last long as they joined the NBA only for a season (22-38) without being able to join the playoffs. To be fair, Canada wasn’t yet sold to the idea of the NBA so at that time it was pretty difficult for the Huskies to rise and shine in such a demanding league.
But wait there’s more!
If you feel that you want to hear some more about this topic, check the video below made by JxmyHighroller:
Do you know any more?
Wrapping it up, these are some of the strangest NBA facts that I bet most of you didn’t know. Take a good look at the list and let me know in the comment section below whether there are any more that should have been included!