March Madness is underway. Brackets are being filled around the country. While fans sort through all the statistics to pick a winner here are some little-known facts about basketball to get you amped for this year’s tournament. All of these facts are completely true... except not. Not at all:
- The first ever basketball game was played at a YMCA in Massachusetts in 1891. The second game was played in Tommy Kline’s kitchen. Instead of a ball a sausage was used and instead of a basket a goat’s mouth was what players shot towards.
- In 1955 the Oklahoma High School Player of the Year was “Liverwurst” Thompkins who scored repeatedly, unguarded, when opposing teams refused to defend him based on how bad his breath was.
- In July, Spain has it’s annual Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. In October, Chicago holds its own Running of the Bulls featuring Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and real bulls chasing them down the streets of South Chicago.
- The NBA was originally called “Happy Fun Time Guys Playing Hoopity-Hoop Games.” It didn't fit on jerseys.
- The world-record for most basketball games played on roller skates is 1 by Rollerskatin’ Joe of New Brunswick, New Jersey. The world-record for most times getting kicked out of the gym for wearing roller skates is 7,443 also by Rollerskatin’ Joe.
- Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania is the first college to introduce a mascot to college basketball. During halftime at games “Charles the Chicken” would dance through the bleachers handing out cheese omelets to students and fans.
- In New York City it is common practice to attend a Knicks game on your 12th birthday, but you must sit in your chair backwards.
- For every slam dunk by a player on the Indiana Pacers a bowl of potato salad gets donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
- Basketballs are typically made with leather, a synthetic rubber, and baby rainbows.
- In 1974 Hank Finkel, who was dead last in scoring for the Boston Celtics, somehow managed to score 50 points in one game. However, the game was not basketball, it was Scrabble…and it was in the hotel…against another teammate…who destroyed him by scoring 344 points.
- George Clooney, Usher, Queen Latifah, Pee-Wee Herman, Don Knotts, Slash, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Chewbacca are all former NBA All-Stars that people seem to forget.
- In Sweden, basketball is played on ice while techno remixes of Michael Bolton songs blare through a PA system.
- Basketball is so popular in one Australian town that the current mayor was elected based solely on his name, which is BouncePass McGee.
- Some of the names that were rejected by the NBA when it was first established are The Barracudas, The Peacocks, The Magnificent Men of Minnesota, The Beatles, The Fartbomb Force, The Ashtrays, The Beef Stews, The French, The Pookie Bears, The Silly Billys, and The Unicorn Horn Squad of Magic.
What would your pro basketball team be named?