Founded June 6, 1946, the National Basketball Association has seen a lot in its 72-year history. As fans, we’re always hungry for NBA knowledge.
Plenty of super fans may have every year’s champion memorized from past to president and are encyclopedias of their respected team. Ranging from lockouts, to players fighting fans to a 100 point game from a single player, the amount of stuff that has happened over the course of the league could even make the limitless Internet reach its end.
Here we’ve hand-picked 10 lesser known facts that we found the most interesting below.
- When CBS took over coverage of the NBA beginning in 1973, they didn’t finalize who would broadcast the games until the week before the season started. The choice turned out to be football announcer Pat Summerall.
- Only twice in the NBA’s 72-year history have games been played on Christmas Eve: in 1960 and 1967. Both games were nationally televised, with the first featuring the Celtics and Hawks and the latter featuring the Warriors and Sonics.
- The 1977-78 NBA scoring title was settled in crazy fashion on the last day of the regular season as Denver’s David Thompson scored 73 points to seemingly lock things up. However, George Gervin scored 63 that night to capture the crown.
- Only one season in the NBA’s seven decades hasn’t begun before New Year’s Day. That was in 1999, when the start of the season was delayed by a labor lockout. Action would finally get underway on February 5, with each team playing an abbreviated 50 game schedule.
- On March 19, 1969, a coin flip took place to decide which team would select first in the NBA Draft. The Phoenix Suns chose heads, but tails came up, which meant that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, then known as Lew Alcindor, would begin his career with the Milwaukee Bucks.
- In all 10 of the NBA Finals that were played during the 1980’s, either the Los Angeles Lakers or Boston Celtics were a participant. On three occasions, in 1984, 1985 and 1987, the two teams faced each other, with the Lakers winning the latter two battles.
- Doubleheaders are more common in baseball, but throughout the 1960’s and before, the NBA routinely had teams play two games on one night, with one game featuring two teams playing on a neutral court.
- For the 1970-71 season, the NBA designed a schedule for the three expansion teams that would maximize their success while allowing them to ease into the league. Each of the teams: Portland Trail Blazers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Buffalo Braves (who are now the Los Angeles Clippers) played each other 12 times. That accounted for nearly 30 percent of their games.
- In November 1969, the New York Knicks were able to extend their winning streak to 18 games with a miracle comeback over the Cincinnati Royals. Trailing 105-100 with 27 seconds left, they converted a pair of free throws. Two consecutive steals then led to four points that won the game.
- During the 1961-62 season, Wilt Chamberlain’s scoring was off the charts, averaging 50.4 points over 80 games. However, his average minutes per game were actually more than the 48 minutes teams play. The reason for this oddity was that his team, the then-Philadelphia Warriors, played a total of nine overtime periods.