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7 fun facts you may not know about basketball

 

(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The NBA All-Star Weekend usually takes place mid-February. It kicks off with a skills challenge and ends with the All-Star Game where the best of the NBA players will give it all they’ve got.

Before tip-off, here are some surprising facts about the game of basketball.

Stop those pesky fans

A historic basketball court, complete with a peach basket for the net.
A historic basketball court, complete with a peach basket as the net. Public doman via Wikimedia Commons

The first basketball nets were made of a peach baskets. However, fans watching from the balcony would interfere with players’ shots to prevent a point being scored.

To fix this, backboards made of chicken wire were added to the nets. It kept the fans from interfering with the play, and it caused rebounds to become part of the game.


Be careful out there

 Cleveland Cavaliers' center Andrew DeClercq (L) dives to save the ball.
Cleveland Cavaliers' centre Andrew DeClercq (L) dives to save the ball. (DAVID MAXWELL/AFP/Getty Images)

In the early days, when a ball landed out of bounds the ref tossed it down the court, and the first team to touch it got possession.

That led to players getting injured, so by 1913 the rule was changed to make things safer for the players.

Now when a ball bounces out of bounds, the team that touched it last loses possession.


Nothing but net

Collin Sexton #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates a three-pointer.
Collin Sexton #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates a three-pointer. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

It turns out the three-pointer hasn’t always been a part of basketball. It wasn’t until the 1979-80 season that the NBA adjusted their rules to include the three-point shot.


Want to read more? Check out Cool facts about the most popular hoop sport — basketball.


Don’t dribble

Kevin Knox II #20 of New York Knicks dribbles past Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards.
Kevin Knox II #20 of New York Knicks dribbles past Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Dribbling wasn’t part of the rules of the first basketball games. The moment you caught a ball, you had to throw it to another player to move the game along.

That changed in 1897 when dribbling became part of the game.


Let’s hear it for teamwork

Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz makes an alley-oop dunk against the Dallas Mavericks.
Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz makes an alley-oop dunk against the Dallas Mavericks. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The basketball play “alley-oop” is believed to come from the French term for “allez-oop” or "allez-hop" which is said to be the cry a circus performer before taking an acrobatic leap.


Number of players allowed on the court

Women's university basketball team.
Women's university basketball teams play on the court. Photo by Mike Boening Photography licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

When basketball was first invented in 1891, there were different rules about how many players were allowed on the court.

A new rule of five players per side was finally established in 1897.


Do the dunk

Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls does a slam dunk to the joy of the crowd at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois during the game against the Seattle Supersonics.
Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls does a slam dunk. (Jonathan Daniel/Stringer)

The slam dunk was originally known as a dunk shot. Then, at a Los Angeles Lakers game in the 1970s, an American announcer named Chick Hearn used the phrase “slam dunk” for the first time. And the name stuck.

 

 


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