15 Interesting Facts About Basketball That May Surprise You

Since the advent of basketball, it has massively evolved over the years. Several new rules have been introduced to the game, while many old ones are no longer a part of it.

However, over time, people seem to have forgotten about some of the critical factors of this game. As a result, most people who claim to know everything about this sport are missing out on some of its best parts.

But today, we will discuss all of these parts in detail. So, are you ready to enhance your knowledge of your favorite game?

The following basketball facts will leave you in awe and make you rethink how much this game has evolved over the last century. Let's get started!

15 Interesting Facts About Basketball

1. The Inventor Of Basketball

Did you ever wonder who invented this fan-favorite sport? Unfortunately, this fact is still anonymous to many basketball fans.

Mr. James Naismith, a physical education instructor, developed basketball in 1891 at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. The game was initially created as a successful attempt to introduce indoor sports.

Since weather conditions often affect most sports, James wanted to develop a game that did not depend on such elements. Therefore, basketball is a safe game to play in most climatic conditions.

2. Time Duration

When James Naismith invented basketball, it was not a two-hour-long game with a 3-minute break. In the beginning, the total round of the game was not more than 35 minutes, with a 5-minute break between two 15-minute sessions.

That meant 35 minutes of intense pressure for the team members, and then it was over. As a result, it wasn’t too exhausting for the players either.

Now, however, basketball is a long and tiring game that requires immense amounts of energy and motivation from the players.

3. Rough Possession Rules

Basketball is a challenging game, but it is no longer as violent and rigorous as it used to be.

Back in the days, during Naismith's basketball era, if the ball got out of the court, it would be tossed back by the referee, and both the teams would have to rush towards it for possession.

Most of the time, this led to frantic runs or falls for players. Nowadays, this rule is not a part of the game, allowing it to be one of the safest and risk-free games.

4. The First Dunk Shot

The Dunk shot is the old name for a slam dunk, renamed by the American announcer Chick Hearn.


For those newbies unaware of what a slam dunk is, it is an act when the is a player jumps in the air, controls the ball above the horizontal plane of the rim, and scores by putting the ball directly through the basket with one or both hands above the rim.

The first slam dunk ever made was in 1940 by American player Robert Kurland.

You might also like: How Tall Do You Have to Be to Slam Dunk?

5. The Three Pointer

The three-point field goal, made from over the three-point line, is commonly known as the three-pointer. This is because if a player makes a goal from a three-pointer, it will automatically earn the team three points.

But before 1979, there was no such thing as a three-pointer. However, it became a part of the game in the 1980 season. Nowadays, players focus hard on perfecting this move, bringing direct points, and increasing their chances of winning.

6. Introduction Of Fouls

Basketball used to be quite a violent game in the past, much like soccer, where physical contact was not a big deal.

In 1910, the foul rules became a part of the game that disqualified players for shouldering, pushing, holding, tripping and striking their opponents.

This change also allowed the players to be more comfortable with each other when playing the game. This helped change the game’s overall atmosphere from a tense and aggressive one to a more friendly rivalry.

7. Number of Players

Naismith's basketball had an unspecified number of team players. According to him, basketball was a game of unlimited players, and anyone willing to play could join the team.

Back then, nine players per team played the game out of a total of 50 players.

However, in 1987, a new rule allowed only five players to join the field from each team. This rule is still the same today and is implemented in each tournament.

8. No Dribbling

Can you even imagine basketball without dribbling? Well, there was a time when there was absolutely no concept of dribbling, and a player would pass the ball to another player with one bounce.

This move officially came into the game in 1901, after being introduced in 1897 by a college basketball team during a tournament.

9. The Ball & Basket

In the initial phase of basketball, there was no proper basket or ball. Instead, soccer balls were used with peach baskets in place of string ones. Just imagine the effort of getting the ball out of the basket for every goal!

It dragged the game and discouraged the spectators from being engrossed in the match.

james-naismith-basketball fact

Finally, in 1900, the basketball was introduced along with a string basket and dashboard to enable the game’s continuity. Therefore, it became easier to pass the ball through a string basket.

10. Brown Colored Basketballs

In the 1900s, when basketball was newly launched, it was brown. But due to the same color, it is often camouflaged among the players, increasing the confusion among the spectators and causing a disturbance in the game.

Tony Hinkle, a coach at Butler University, came up with the solution to this problem in 1957. He introduced orange-colored balls, which were a successful improvisation to the game.

11. The First Basketball Tournament

Have you ever imagined how basketball made its way to the top-ranked sports in the world?

It all started with its first tournament that made history. It was an NCAA college tournament in 1979 between Michigan State and Indiana State.

After this match, basketball was taken seriously as a sport that eventually gave birth to the idea of the NBA.

Since then, this game has been among the most highly rated games in the history of sports.

12. Warm-up Drills for Basketball

Basketball players perform warm-up drills before playing to ensure that they are active and mentally prepared for the game. Since earlier days, this activity is a part of the game to help the players warm up before big tournaments.

Almost every sport requires some warm-up session before the game, and basketball is no different. It helps get the players in the mood and motivates them to perform better.

13. First Flop in Basketball

Now that you know when, why, and how fouls became a part of basketball, you might also be interested in learning about flops.

Well, a flop in basketball is an attempt made by a player to fool the referee. In this case, the player often exaggerates his fall to give the opponent an unnecessary foul.

Although we know that Bill Laimbeer made the first flop, the exact date of this flop is still uncertain. While it is wrong, a slight exaggeration is acceptable in games. No?

14. Possession of Out-of-Bound Balls

In the past, the possession of an out-of-bound ball was a point of contention among the players. Up until a few years ago, every out-of-bound ball would be picked up by the referee and thrown into the court.


This was a challenging regulation to implement as players would fight for possession of the ball thrown by the referee, causing the number of injuries to rise steadily.

15. Fine for Wearing Wrong Shoes

Every game, notably basketball, has a dress code that defines its prestige. Anything that goes against the dress code is not permitted. When Michael Jordan donned the iconic Air Jordans, the same thing happened.

Initially, these shoes were in violation of the dress code, and Micheal Jordan was fined each time he wore them in a game. After some time, however, these shoes were included in the list of basketball shoe patterns that were approved.

Some More Random Facts:

  • This sport ranks 3rd in the world in popularity, with an estimated fan base of 2.2 billion.
  • In general, this game comprises two teams, with five people in each, trying to get the ball into the hoop on a rectangular court. There is also 3v3 and 1v1 basketball matches.
  • Basketball was first introduced to the Summer Olympics in 1904, and since 1936, it has become a regular sport for men at the Summer Olympics.

Conclusion: Interesting Basketball Facts

Despite the fact that basketball is a well-known and extensively played sport across the world, there are numerous facts regarding the game that are still unknown by many.

Even if you are a die-hard basketball fan, you may be surprised by some of these facts.

The above facts make up the historical development and evolution of basketball. This excellent game has indeed brought a revolution in the world of sports and turned out to be a career for millions around the world.

Moreover, it is an excellent physical activity that is a must in 90% of schools in the US.

Its popularity in schools also enables children to have fun and stay active, both mentally and physically.

After all, the US has the NBA, the most incredible basketball league in the world. We hope this article helped you learn more about your favorite game and that you can now show off this knowledge to your friends!

Joshua Bast

My name is Joshua Bast and I have been playing basketball ever since I was 7 years old. I love the game play, I love the feeling whenever I score a basket, but what made me fell in love was the camaraderie with my team mates. This blog is dedicated to help any up-and-coming basketball players maximize their potential.

Joshua Bast