In this article, we will share some shocking facts about the NBA that you might not have heard before. So let’s get started straight away.
1. Jason Collins Comes Out as Gay
Professional sports are known for their macho culture and occasional homophobia. That made it even more significant when NBA player Jason Collins came out as gay in 2013.
Not only was he the first openly gay player in the NBA he was the first in any of the major four American sports. In Sports Illustrated’s cover story Collins explained that he even chose his jersey number 98 in honor of Matthew Shepard an openly gay man who was murdered in 1998.
Of course, his announcement created controversy but by the end of the year, Collins was featured in the cover of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world issue.
The average NBA player makes 6.3 million dollars in a single season far more than most people will make in an entire lifetime. Kevin Garnett became the league’s highest-paid player in 2003 with a staggering 28 million dollar salary.
Thus it is shocking that an estimated 60% of NBA players filed for bankruptcy in the first five years after they retire. Legendary players from Allen Iverson to Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman have all gone broke soon after leaving the league.
While some managed to bounce back it’s obvious that the problem is pervasive most people think that the issue stems from a lack of education. Though many players attend college few graduates and many of their classes are arranged as formalities by the University. Even if they receive a degree most NBA players gain millions of dollars without even the most basic financial literacy.
3. Bill Russell’s Salary
Bill Russell may not be a household name but he was one of the most talented basketball players in the world in the 1950s and 60s. Russell was the star player for both the Boston Celtics and the U.S. Olympic team taking home gold on multiple occasions.
But Russell also had a rivalry with famed Lakers center Wilt Chamberlain. At this time most NBA players had part-time jobs off the court to support themselves. So it made headlines when Chamberlain was awarded a $100,000 salary. Not to be outdone by his nemesis, Russell immediately demanded that he be paid one hundred thousand and one dollars a year. The Boston Celtics quickly accepted his request barely setting a record for the highest-paid athlete in the NBA.
4. The Quadruple Double
Many of us know the phrases double-double and triple-double. These terms simply refer to the accumulation of a double-digit total in one of five statistical categories. Points, rebounds, assists, steals or blocked shots in a single game. Double-doubles are pretty common. They usually come from points and rebounds or points and assists. Triple-doubles are rarer though Oscar Robertson holds the NBA record with 181 triple-doubles over an entire NBA career.
A Quadruple-double is almost unheard of it’s only happened four times in NBA history. But few people know that you can actually achieve a quintuple double or a double-digit total in all five of the five possible statistical categories.
The feat has never been accomplished in either professional or college gameplay. There are only two documented instances of a cantata double and both were at the high school level. The first was recorded by Tamika Catchings in 1997 in the second by Aimee Ortner in 2012.
5. Kobe Bryant Draft Pick
Kobe Bryant is without a doubt one of the greatest players in the history of basketball. He won the dunk contest in his rookie season ranks third in the league’s all-time scoring list and won three consecutive league titles with the LA Lakers.
But it turns out Kobe has been dominating the sport from a very young age. In fact at the 1996 NBA Draft, Lakers manager Jerry West stated Kobe marched over everyone else in the game.
The team was quick to sign him but there was only one problem Kobe was still in high school. That meant that his parents needed to co-sign his contract with him because he was still a minor. Of course it was a good choice for everyone involved Kobe was the first Garden NBA history drafted directly out of high school and signed a three-year contract for 3.5 million dollars. He went on to help the Lakers command the league for several years.
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