Sports Facts

Sports have been around for nearly as long as humanity itself, and in that time some truly weird and wondrous things have happened in the field of competition. No matter how avid a fan you consider yourself, here are some Sports Facts you may not know about the sports you watch every day.

  1. The longest tennis match in history took place at Wimbledon 2010 when American, John Isner, beat Nicolas Mahut of France in a match that lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes. It was played over a period of 3 days for a total of 183 games.
  2. Micheal Phelps has won more Olympic gold medals than 161 entire nations
  3. In 1999, Stefan Schwarz had a special “space clause” in his contract that would render it invalid if he ever went to space
  4. Bulls and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf continued to pay Michael Jordan his reported $4 million basketball salary while he was experimenting with baseball.
  1. Wilt Chamberlain didn’t win MVP the year he scored 50.4 points and grabbed 22.9 rebounds per game. (Bill Russell did.)
  2. MLB teams go through about 850,000 balls per season.
  3. About 42,000 tennis balls are used in the Wimbledon Championship.
  4. It’s an urban sports legend that India withdrew from the 1950 World Cup because FIFA wouldn’t let them play barefoot
  5. The Buffalo Bills haven’t made the playoffs since Bill Clinton was president.
  6. Astronaut Alan Shepard took three golf swings to two balls on the surface of the moon in 1971
  7. Roger Bannister held the world record in the mile for exactly 46 days.
  8. “Federer” can be typed entirely with the left hand.
  9. MLB Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry hit his first, and only, home run hours after Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon
  10. The BBC broadcast the first live televised football match in October 1946
  11. The World Sauna sitting Championships were an annual contest for endurance held in Finland, from 1999 to 2010
  12. When Michael Jordan averaged 37.1 points per game in 1986-87, his Chicago Bulls were a sub.500, eighth-seeded playoff team that got swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round.
  13. The average golf ball has 336 dimples.
  14. Venus Williams (7 Grand Slams) has been ranked No. 1 in the WTA rankings for 17 weeks, more than a full year less (56 weeks) less than Caroline Wozniacki (0 Grand Slams).
  15. Six of Tim Tebow’s seven wins with the miracle 2011 Denver Broncos were of the come-from-behind variety.
  16. If three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw were to break Young’s record of 511 wins, he’d need to stay at his current pace for the next 41 years, until he were 68 years old.
  17. The Tour de France has “unwritten rules” to promote good sportsmanship
  18. There’s a 150-year-old oak tree at the center of a soccer field in Estonia
  19. Sheep Counting is an official sport in Australia
  20. In 1970, El Salvador and Honduras went to war for only 100 hours. The war coincided with a FIFA World Cup Qualifier
  21. Jimmy Chitwood, the hero of the film Hoosiers, only has four lines in the entire movie.
  22. Wilt’s 50.4 ppg season is 31.6% better than the next-highest scoring average in history. (Elgin Baylor’s 38.3 ppg is second and was also set in 1962). To put into perspective, someone breaking Tony Gwynn’s record for batting average in last 70 years (.394) would have to hit .518 to match that 31.6% difference.
  23. Miguel Cabrera (No. 48 at .321) is the only active player in the top 50 of MLB career batting average.
  24. There are 18 minutes of total action in a baseball game.
  25. The two golf balls Alan Shephard hit on the moon with a six-iron (one that went into a crater another that “sailed for miles and miles”) are still there.
  26. When the Americans defeated favorite England in the 1950 World Cup, the story goes that many newspapers around the world believed the 1-0 score to be a typo and instead printed that England won 10-1.
  27. Only three active players are in the top 50 on the all-time MLB home run list, yet 27 of the top 50 have played in the past 20 years.
  28. The sport of badminton was initially called “Poona”.
  29. Anna Kopchovsky, the first woman to cycle around the world in 1894, had only learned how to cycle a few days before she set off. She covered the entire distance in 15 months and received a reward of 10,000 dollars.
  30. The 2022 World Soccer Championship will be opened in Lusail (Qatar), a city which did not exist till recently.
  31. During the Olympic Games in China, Usain Bolt ate only chicken nuggets, as it was the only meal he recognized from home. Ultimately, he won three gold medals with this diet.
  32. During the 2002 Soccer World Cup, Ahn Jung-hwan from South Korea scored a goal against Italy in injury time, knocking the Italians out of the World Cup. The next day, his contract with his Italian home club was terminated because the owner said he could not pay the person who had ruined Italian football.
  33. The boxing ring is called a “ring” because it used to be round. Instead of its present form, the spectators used to stand in a circle around the fighters when the sport first became popular.
  34. The Phillippines has competed in the most Summer Olympics (20) without winning a gold medal.
  35. 21. Liechtenstein has competed in the most Summer Olympics (16) without winning any medal.
  36. In the 1970s, Jack Nicklaus played all 40 majors and made the top 10 in 35.
  37. While there has never been a three-peat in the Super Bowl, the NBA (10), NHL (9) and MLB (7) have each featured multiple such championships.24. Babe Ruth only won four World Series in 15 seasons with the New York Yankees.
  38. Yogi Berra won 13 World Series in 18 seasons with the Yanks.
Yogi Berra
  1. The 100-point game gets all the deserved attention, but a few years later, Wilt went for 25 points, grabbed 22 rebounds and dealt out 21 assists. It remains the only “double” triple-double in history.
  2. Only 10 other quarterbacks in NFL history have thrown half as many touchdown passes as Peyton Manning.
  3. The world record for the most consecutive push-ups was set in 1980 by Minoru Yoshida from Japan who managed to do 10,507 in a row.
  4. A cricket ball has between 65 and 70 stitches while every baseball has exactly 108 stitches.
  5. Among the 30 fastest 100-meter sprints in the history of the sport, there are only nine that are not related to doping. All nine runs were completed by Usain Bolt.
  6. Each year about 100 million bikes are produced worldwide.
  7. James Fixx, the creator of the word “jogging” died from a heart attack while jogging.
  8. “Fox tossing” was a popular sport in the 16th century in which two people held a 23-foot-long cloth on both sides and then pulled it tight as soon as a fox ran over the cloth so that it flew into the air. The game continued until the animal broke its bones when it hit the ground and was then killed by a hunter.
  1. Princess Anne, daughter of Queen Elizabeth II, did not have to undergo gender verification at the 1976 Olympics due to “royal courtesy.”
  2. John Isner and Nicholas Mahut (the 70-68 Wimbledon match) played 183 games over those three days, which beat the previous record of 112 games (set when there no tiebreaks for any set) by 71 games, which is just insanity.
  3. To put that into perspective, only one men’s Grand Slam final in the Open era (that’s 193 matches) has been longer than 71 games. That came when Roger Federer defeated Andy Roddick in the 2009 Wimbledon final 5–7, 7–6 (6), 7–6 (5), 3–6, 16–14 in 77 games.
  4. When asked why he didn’t win gold in cross country at the 2010 Olympics, Norwegian skier Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset said, “I think I have seen too much porn in the last 14 days.”
  5. Sammy Sosa has three of the eight 60-home run seasons in baseball history.
  6. The longest recorded point in tennis history took 29 minutes and featured the ball crossing the net 643 times in a 1984 women’s match. Young Aussie player Bernard Tomic (nicknamed “Tomic the Tank Engine”) lost a match last year in 28 minutes.34. Tiger Woods once made 142 straight cuts, topping Jack Nicklaus’ record by 37 and routinely leading the next-best active player by 100 or more tournaments. (This is one of Tiger’s most underrated stats.)
  7. About 46% of Pro Football Hall of Famers played for one team during their NFL careers.
  8. Bill Buckner had more hits than Ted Williams.
  9. In 2011, India became the first team to win a Cricket World Cup on home soil. Australia followed suit in 2015 before England took home the trophy four years later. 
  10. The phrase about winning something “hands down” originally referred to a jockey who won a race without whipping his horse or pulling back the reins.
  11. For car races, Nissan only uses the number 23 on their vehicles, since in Japanese number two is pronounced as “ni” and three as “san”. Together this gives “ni-san”.
  12. Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina holds the record for the most Olympic medals ever won. She competed in three Olympic Games, between 1956 and 1964, winning 18 medals in gymnastics.
  13. During the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, the American Frederick Lorz was the first to reach the finish line of the marathon race. It turned out, however, that he had covered about half the distance by car.
  14. An NFL player’s union study determined that the average NFL career is 3.3 years, with running backs (2.57 years), wide receivers (2.81) and cornerbacks (2.94) having the shortest career, by average.
  15. The high jump method of jumping head first and landing on the back is called the Fosbury Flop, after American athlete Dick Fosbury, whose methods revolutionized the high jump event.
  16. American professional basketball player Shaquille O’Neal scored only a single three-point shot throughout his entire professional career.
  17. Antiguan cricketer Sir Vivian Richards and Australian cricketer Ellyse Perry are the only names in history to have played at the World Cup in both cricket and football.
  18. From 1912 to 1948 architecture was an Olympic discipline.
  19. The game “Quidditch” from the Harry Potter novels is now a recognized sport in our world, with its own leagues and even regular world championships. 
  20. Octopus-Wrestling was a popular trend in the sixties. A diver grapples with an octopus in shallow water and tries to bring it to the surface.
  21. Dick Hoyt and his son Rick, who is fully paralyzed, have participated in countless sporting events under the name “Team Hoyt”. The two even completed six Iron Man events together. Dick first swam 2.5 miles, pulling his son in a boat behind him, then rode a bicycle over the roads for 112 miles, before pushing him in a wheelchair for another 26.2 miles.
  22. English cricketer, Alec Stewart, scored 8,463 runs during his test cricket career – the same number as his date of birth (08/04/63).
  23. From 2015 to 2016, Englishman Ben Smith ran 401 marathons on 401 days to raise money for the victims of bullying. With his “401 Challenge” he set a world record and covered a total of 10,506 miles.
  24. The word “gym” comes from Greek and translates to “place of the naked.”
  25. In the history of the United States there have been 17 Americans who ran a marathon in less than two hours and ten minutes. In October 2011 this was achieved by 32 Kenyans.
  26. The most participated sport on earth is fishing.
  27. In 1949 a boxing match was held between boxer Gus Waldorf and a bear. The bear was given a muzzle and boxing gloves to create “fair” conditions for both fighters. In the end, however, it was the bear that won.
  28. Finland has hosted the official “Wife Carrying World Championship” since 1992. In this competition, men carry their wives as fast as possible over a long obstacle course. In the end, the winner receives his wife’s weight in beer.
  29. Gladiators in ancient Rome were exclusively fighters who fought against other humans for life and death. People fighting exclusively against animals were called “Bestiarii”.
  30. Australian rower Bobby Pearce won the 1928 Olympic Games against eight other competitors, even though he stopped during the race to let ducks pass in front of him.
  31. In his time, seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher was the highest paid sportsman in the world. Schumacher earned over $650 million in his career as a F1 driver for Team Scuderia Ferrari.
  32. The longest average NFL careers? Punters, at 4.87 years.
  33. Australia famously beat England in the first ever test match by 45 runs at Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1877. One hundred years later, it was déjà vu as the opposition, venue and result were the same!
  34. At the first modern Olympics, winners were awarded silver medals.
  35. Roger Maris was never intentionally walked the year he hit 61 home runs. (Mickey Mantle batted behind him.)42. In 2004, Barry Bonds was intentionally walked 120 times, which is more than 2.5 times higher than the longtime record held by Willie McCovey (45 in 1969). Only six players in the NL that year walked that many times in total.
  36. Teenager Michael Chang hit an underhand serve to defeat world No. 1 Ivan Lendl en route to his shocking 1989 French Open title.
  37. Rickey Henderson’s stolen base total (1,406) is almost three times as high as the active SB leader, Ichiro (487).
  38. Katie Ledecky’s world record in the 1,500 would have placed her 24th in the 2012 Olympic men’s swimming race.
  39. Only three men have won the NCAA title as a coach and a player: Joe B. Hall, Bobby Knight and Dean Smith.
  40. Among Ted Williams’ many records, he set a student gunnery record as a World War II pilot. The test emphasizes reflexes, coordination and visual reaction time and still stood, as of 2002.
  41. China did not win an Olympic medal until 1984. At the 2008 Beijing games, the Chinese won 100 medals.
  42. Chris Evert won 125-straight matches on clay, from Aug. 12, 1973 to May 12, 1979. Amazingly though, that run included just two French Open titles.
  43. The first woman to reach the top of Mount Everest was Junko Tabei on May 16, 1975 as part of the Ladies Climbing Club Japan.
  1. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, played goalie for the amateur Portsmouth Association Football Club, which would eventually become the Portsmouth professional team that won the FA Cup in 2008.
  2. In Amsterdam there is a gym where you can train naked.
  3. In North Korea, basketball is played according to different rules. For example, the team loses points if it doesn’t score on free throws and a dunk scores three points instead of the usual two.
  4. In 1957 a senior woman had to be brought out of a baseball stadium after being hit in her face by a baseball. When the paramedics were carrying her out, a second ball hit her.
  5. The longest cricket match in history lasted 14 days before ending with a draw and took place in 1939 between England and South Africa.
  6. Reinhold Messner climbed Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain in the world, a total of three times. The first time, his brother died on the way up and he himself lost seven toes. He decided to climb the mountain again and was the first person to do so on his own. On his third ascent, he finally climbed the mountain in memory of his deceased brother, so that both brothers ended up climbing the mountain together – at least symbolically.
  7. The longest boxing match in the world took place on 6 April 1893 between Andy Bowen and Jack Burke. The fight went on for 110 rounds and lasted for more than seven hours. In the end, both fighters were too tired and exhausted to keep on fighting.
  8. The first ever international cricket game took place between the US and Canada in 1844. The historic game was held at St George’s Cricket Club in New York.
  9. According to FIFA, the five meter space of a football field must be 5.50 meters wide.
  10. In 2002, long-distance runner Tom Johnson competed against a horse in an 50-mile race. He ran the distance in five hours and 45 minutes, arriving ten seconds ahead of the horse.
  11. Only three years after the first football rules were laid down, the hand play was forbidden.
  12. The official length of a marathon was defined as 26,219 miles because it was exactly the length of the course at the Olympic Games in London in 1908 and not because it corresponds to the historical distance between Athens and Marathon. That distance is only about 24.8 miles.
  13. Every ball used in Major League Baseball is dirty.
  14. Miguel Indurain, five times Tour de France winner, has a resting heart rate of 28 beats per minute.
  15. In 1923, a dead rider finished first in a horse race in New York. The rider suffered a heart attack during the race and the horse carried the dead body to the finishing line.
  16. Archer Matt Stutzman holds the world record for the longest shot with a bow and arrow under Olympic conditions. He hit his mark at a distance of 930 feet. What makes this so special is the fact that due to a disability, Matt Stutzman has no arms and therefore uses the bow with his feet.
  17. Boxing was recognized as a legal sport in 1901.
  18. The men’s long jump world record has been broken once since 1969.
  19. Bob Beamon’s 1968 Olympic record in the long jump would have won the 2012 Olympics by almost two feet.
  20. Horse racing’s Triple Crown has been achieved just three times since 1949, all within a six year span in the mid-1970s. (Secretariat, 1973; Seattle Slew, 1977; Affirmed, 1978). That’s three in six years and zero in the other 60.
  21. There have been three Olympic Games held in countries that no longer exist.
  22. The word “Soccer” is an 1800s slang term.
  23. Greece is the only country to have participated in every Olympics under its own flag.
  24. When Chinese basketball player Yao Ming first appeared for his new team in Houston, it was celebrated with 8,000 fortune cookies which were distributed to the fans. Ming was more than surprised, as he had never seen a fortune cookie in his life, as fortune cookies are not a Chinese, but an American invention.
  25. There are no reported incidents of death by dehydration in the history of world running. But there are plenty of cases of people dying because of drinking to much water.
  26. Former MLB catcher Harry Chiti was the first player ever to be traded for himself.
  27. Since 1896, soccer fields in Germany have to be free of trees.
  28. Athlete Mark Henry currently holds the world record in “5-Lift-Total”. His personal records in the five disciplines of weightlifting (snatch, clean and jerk, squat, bench press and deadlift) total 3,257.3 pounds, making him officially the strongest person ever to live.
  29. Cricket was played for the first (and last) time at the Olympic Games in 1900 where Great Britain won the gold medal. However, there is talk of welcoming the sport back to the Olympics in the future.
  30. Rasheed Wallace had his 2004 Detroit Pistons championship ring resized to fit his middle finger.
  31. Only 11 goalies have scored a goal in the history of the NHL, with the first coming in 1979 and the last in 2013.
  32. The PGA record for highest score on a par-4 is a whopping 16, set by Kevin Na in 2011.
  33. Only 72 players in NBA history have attempted more free throws in their careers than the 5,317 Shaquille O’Neal missed.
  34. The night before the Miracle on Ice, American goalie Jim Craig played the video game Centipede with Soviet star Sergei Makarov at the Olympic Village.
  35. Japanese golfers carry hole-in-one insurance.
  36. During the 1974 World Cup in Munich, national teams were given BMW buses for transportation. After being eliminated, Zaire unsuccessfully tried to drive theirs back to Africa.
  37. There has been a regular-season NFL game on every single day of the week.
  38. The Boston Bruins name is spelled “BQSTQN BRUINS” on the Stanley Cup for their 1971-72 title.
  39.  In France, the national fencing federation recognized light saber fencing as an official competitive sport in 2019. Instead of saber, foil or sword, the fighters use replicas of light sabers from Star Wars. With this campaign, the association hopes to get more young people interested in fencing.
  40.  Kirani James was the first Olympian to win a gold medal for his home country Grenada. His homeland was so proud of it that there was a huge celebration for him and he was rewarded with over 220,000 euros. Today he can even be found on the country’s stamps, a stadium bears his name and his hometown opened a museum about his achievements.
  41. Manohar Aich won Mr. Universe in 1952. He got more than 100 years old and exercised regularly at the gym until he died.
  42. In order to celebrate her 70th birthday, Kansas City native Chau Smith ran seven marathons on seven continents on seven consecutive days.
  43. In 1898, the first radio program to be broadcasted was a yacht race that took place in Great Britain.
  44. One pound of muscles burns 16,300 calories per year.
  45. In the fun sport Headis, two players compete against each other following the rules of table tennis. However, the game is played with a special ball the size of a football, which may only be touched with the head. In 2017 the twelfth Headis World Championships were held.
  46. Cy Young holds the record for the most MLB career innings, with 7,356. He is ranked number 14 on the list of “Baseball’s 100 Greatest Players.”
  47. The average distance a man walks on foot during his life is four times around the world.
  48. The Cleveland Browns are the only team to neither play in nor host a Super Bowl.
  49. Of the four NBA players who have played for the most teams (the shared record is 12), three of them (Jim Jackson, Tony Massenburg and Joe Smith) had a college relationship with former Ohio State and Maryland coach Gary Williams.
  50. Alaska and Maine are the only two states to never send a school to the NCAA tournament.
  51. The Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers once combined to form the Steagles.
  52. In 1974, Chris Evert was the top money winner in two sports. Chrissy, as she was affectionately known, won the French Open and Wimbledon and led the WTA money list. Then there was Chris Evert, the horse, named after the female tennis star, who won the three-year-old filly of the year award.
  53. In North Korea, basketball is played according to different rules. For example, the team loses points if it doesn’t score on free throws and a dunk scores three points instead of the usual two.
  54. Until 1936, the jump ball in basketball took place at center court after every single made basket.
  55. Despite invitations, England didn’t participate in the first three World Cups, probably sort of figuring the misery that was to come. (It was actually beef with FIFA that kept away the Brits.)
  56. A contest was held to name the San Jose Sharks and “Rubber Puckies” was one of the finalists. The “Blades” won voting but was determined to have too many gang ties, so the team went with “Sharks” because apparently they’ve never seen West Side Story.
  57. An incomplete forward pass in football used to earn teams a 15-yard penalty.
  58. Rocky III was nominated for Outstanding Foreign Language Film at the Japanese Academy Awards.
  59. Four presidents have been on the cover of Sports Illustrated: John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan (twice) and Bill Clinton.
  60. Lynette Woodward became the first female member of the Harlem Globetrotters.
  1. Basketballer, Grant Hill’s mother roomed with Hillary Clinton at Wellesley.
  2. Cubs uber-prospect Kris Bryant, who was called to the majors with much fanfare this month, is 10 months older than Bryce Harper.
  3. Jason Lezak’s anchor split (46.06) in the unbelievable 4×100 relay comeback that allowed Michael Phelps to win his eight gold medals in Beijing was 0.73 faster than any other relay split in history.
  4. No Stanley Cup winners from 1929 through 1954 currently have their names on the Cup due to the increasing size of hockey’s famous trophy.
  5. Founded in 1923, the Sacramento Kings are the oldest franchise in the NBA.
  6. The volleyball comes from a basketball’s bladder.
  7. Thirteen women have their name on the Cup, in the form of team owners and front-office members.
  8. Despite not playing baskeball since high school, Bruce Jenner was drafted No. 139 by the NBA’s Kansas City Kings after winning the men’s decathlon at the 1976 Olympics.
  9. When Chinese basketball player Yao Ming first appeared for his new team in Houston, it was celebrated with 8,000 fortune cookies which were distributed to the fans. Ming was more than surprised, as he had never seen a fortune cookie in his life, as fortune cookies are not a Chinese, but an American invention.
  10. Starting in 1990, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls never had a three-game losing streak for eight years.
  11. From 1918-1949, the Philadelphia Phillies had one winning season.
  12. Only one city has won three major sports championships in the same year: Detroit in 1935, when the Lions won the NFL title, Tigers won the World Series and Red Wings took the Stanley Cup.
  13. Cleveland has more titles in the Big Four sports than Dallas, San Francisco, Washington, Baltimore, Denver and Houston, so enough with this “woe is Cleveland” nonsense.
  14. Wayne Gretzky broke the all-time single-season goals record by 16 goals and the points record by 65 as a 20-year-old on the Edmonton Oilers.
  15. In the 1908 Olympics, teams from UK police forces won all the medals in the tug-of-war event.
  16. Secretariat’s 31-length win at the 1973 Belmont Stakes is two seconds faster than any other horse has ever run the race.
  17. The basketball record for the largest margin of victory goes to the Cleveland Cavaliers over the Miami Heat on December 17, 1991. The Cleveland Cavaliers won that game 148 – 80.
  18. The Pittsburgh Pirates’ almost built a new stadium in the middle of a river.
  19. The movie Angels in the Outfield featured two Angels players who would eventually go on to win Best Actor Oscars (Matthew McConaughey and Adrian Brody).
  20. The earliest evidence of sport is in cave paintings in Mongolia dating back to 7000BC showing crowds watching a wrestling match…
  21. Babe Ruth set baseball’s career home run record in 1921 when he smacked his 139th homer.
  22. In order to break Cal Ripken’s consecutive games record, current leader Evan Longoria (257 straight as of Apr. 22, 2015) would have to play every day until sometime around July of 2029, when he’d be 43 years old.
  23. In 1991, Sports Illustrated predicted that the NFL of 2001 would have a 20-game season and 40 teams, including squads in London, Paris, Berlin, Tehran, Johannesburg, Bombay, Djakarta, Sydney, Auckland, and Mexico City.
  24. Wilt Chamberlain won three-straight Big Eight titles in the high jump and was also inducted into the volleyball Hall of Fame.
  25. The word ‘sport’ was first seen in English in the 15th century. It was a contraction of the word ‘disport’, meaning a diversion from serious duties.
  26. The French, Italians, Germans, Swedes, Dutch and Danes all adopted the word ‘sport’ from the English in the 19th century.
  27. Barry Switzer has a better NFL playoff winning percentage than Bill Belichick, Bill Walsh, Joe Gibbs, Jimmy Johnson and Chuck Noll.
  28. Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson and Wayne Gretzky starred in a short-lived 1991 NBC Saturday morning cartoon called Pro Stars.
  29. Sports injuries account for about two per cent of Accident & Emergency cases in the UK
  30. With the final pick of the 1983 NBA draft, Philadelphia 76ers owner Harold Katz took 49-year-old Norman Horvitz out of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. There are different rumors about the connection between Katz and Horvitz, though one holds that they were poker buddies. Horvitz’s stats as the draft’s “Mr. Irrelevant” was noted unironically by contemporary newspaper accounts.
  31. Mickey Mantle was originally a shortstop but after making 102 errors in his last two seasons in the minors, he was moved to the outfield.
  32.  In 1906, the UK parliament banned women from participating in dangerous sports.
  33. NFL refs also receive Super Bowl rings.
  34. According to research in 2008, football teams wearing red shirts have an advantage thanks to our deep-rooted biological response to the colour.
  35. The longest game in basketball history took 78 minutes and was played between the Rochester Royals and Indianapolis Olympians on 6 January 1951. The game was won by the Olympians 75 to 73 in what turned out to be a six-overtime game.
  36. Before the All-England Club at Wimbledon introduced tennis in 1875, it was a croquet club.
  37. These kids had no interest in Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Bench.
  38. Wheelchair tennis legend Esther Vergeer retired after 470-straight wins and four Paralympic golds.
  39. Frank Sinatra actually had the first right of refusal to play John McClane in Die Hard because of a contractual clause from his role in The Detective. (Die Hard‘s source material, a book by Roderick Thorpe, was a sequel to The Detective.) Then 73, the Chairman of the Board turned down the role, obviously. (What? Die Hard is totally sports.)
  40. Joe Gibbs is the only coach to win the Super Bowl with three different quarterbacks.
  41. George Steinbrenner was supposed to play himself in an episode of Seinfeld (rather than the Larry David voice that had served as a faux Steinbrenner for years) but the scene was eventually cut.
  42. While he was a football player at Florida State, Lee Corso had a college roommate named Burt Reynolds who eventually quit school because he was going “to Hollywood to be a movie star.”
  43. When 7-1 underdog Cassisus Clay (who would change his name to Muhammad Ali days later) defeated Sonny Liston in Miami Beach in 1964, the 16,000-seat arena was half-empty.
  44. Michael Jordan’s nickname is high school was Magic, after Magic Johnson.
  45. The world record for the highest basketball shot is 593 feet (180 meters) high. In 2016, an Australian trick shot team stood atop the Mauvoisin Dam in the Swiss Alps and threw a basketball through a hoop below.
  46. The Los Angeles Lakers hold the record for the longest winning streak in NBA history. They won 33 straight basketball games in the 1971/72 season.
  47. Basketball was invented by Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian physical educator, while he was looking for a game that can be played indoors during winter.

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