The NBA record books contain the accomplishments of players and teams since the league’s inception on June 6, 1946. Records such as most points scored in a game, most fouls during a season, and even worst performance in a game can all be easily researched online.
What’s not so readily available are the facts and secrets that occur off the court. Continue reading to discover 5 amazing facts about the NBA that we’re sure you never knew.
In 1985, Michael Jordan signed a deal with Nike to release his own brand of footwear and athletic gear called Air Jordan. In an effort to promote his expensive sneakers, he wore them during games.
NBA commissioner at the time, David Stern, wasn’t too happy about this decision since the league had strict rules regarding team uniforms. He wanted all players to wear league-licensed gear that matched their uniform. So, Stern fined Jordan $5,000 for each game Jordan wore his shoes in.
During the 1985 NBA Draft, the Washington Bullets selected Manute Bol, who was born and raised in the area of South Sudan. He spent ten years in the NBA playing for teams such as the Warriors, 76ers, and Heat.
Bol was also a member of a tribe that raised cattle in the Nile Valley. One day while he was looking after his cattle, a lion approached looking for food. Bol stood his ground, grabbed a spear, and thrust it through the beast killing it instantly.
Kobe Bryant was selected 13th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets. He was immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. He went on to have an incredible career before passing away in a helicopter accident.
When Kobe entered the league, NBA teams could still draft players straight from high school. Because Kobe was still just 17 years old when he was selected, his parents had to co-sign his NBA contract on his behalf.
The young, rising superstar Shaquille O’Neal was just 22-years-old when he faced Houston Rockets veteran center Hakeem Olajuwon in the 1995 NBA Finals. Although Shaq was determined to win a championship for the Orlando Magic, Olajuwon had other plans.
He outplayed Shaq in every facet of the game, averaging over 30 points per game in a four-game sweep. Shaq wasn’t too happy. He sent Hakeem a note challenging him to a game of one-on-one.
“The series may be a done deal, but it ain’t over between me and you. Sure, you’re pretty good with your team behind you, but I want you one on one.” The contest was promoted on pay-per-view but unfortunately never took place.
In 2009, Sports Illustrated conducted a study that revealed that approximately 60 percent of NBA players go broke five years after they retire from the league. Good players make around $10 million a year while great players bring in $20 million annually. This allows them to live extravagant and lavish lives.
However, once a player retires and the money starts to dry up, they have a difficult time adjusting to a more modest lifestyle. Five years of living as if they were still collecting a lucrative paycheck will leave most athletes broke with nowhere to turn. Evidence indicates this is still the trend today.