Seasons Greetings

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Basketball: NBA Celebrates 75th Anniversary Season, By the Numbers

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Basketball: NBA Celebrates 75th Anniversary Season, By the Numbers

2021-10-20 11:01:56


Milwaukee Bucks superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. (Image Source: Kathy Willens/Associated Press)

Below is a by-the-numbers look - from 1 to 75 - at some of the teams, players, coaches, games, records, moments and events that have helped shape 75 seasons of NBA history.

1 - The NBA's first regular-season game was played on Nov. 1, 1946, between the New York Knicks and the Toronto Huskies at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. The Knicks defeated the Huskies 68-66, with New York's Ossie Schectman scoring the first basket.

2 - The NBA Draft was shortened to two rounds beginning with the 1989 Draft - which remains the format today.

3 - The three-point line was introduced for the 1979-80 season. The Boston Celtics Chris Ford made the first three-point shot in NBA history in a game against the Houston Rockets on Oct. 12. 1979. For the season, the San Diego Clippers' Brian Taylor made an NBA-high 90 three-pointers. The current single-season record is 402 three-pointers, set by the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry in 2015-16.

4 - The NBA is built around four professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association (which has played 75 seasons to date), Women's National Basketball Association (25 seasons), NBA G League (20 seasons) and NBA 2K League (four seasons). The NBA and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) also jointly operate the Basketball Africa League (BAL).

5 - The NBA has had five commissioners: Maurice Podoloff (1946-63), J. Walter Kennedy (1963-75), Larry O'Brien (197584), David Stern (1984 - 2014) and Adam Silver (2014 - Present).

6 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won a record six NBA Most Valuable Player awards and Michael Jordan won a record six Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP awards.

7 - A Game 7 in the NBA Playoffs has been played 142 times. The first Game 7 was played in 1948. There have been 19 Game 7s in the NBA Finals.

8 - The Boston Celtics won eight consecutive NBA championships from 1958-59 - 1965-66, the longest such streak in league history.

9 - John Stockton led the NBA in assists per game for a season a record nine times, all in consecutive seasons (1987-88 - 1995-96).

10 - Michael Jordan led the NBA in points per game for a season a record 10 times and Shaquille O'Neal led the NBA in field goal percentage for a season a record 10 times.

11 - Bill Russell won a record 11 NBA championships as a player and Phil Jackson won a record 11 NBA championships as a head coach.

12 - The NBA record for most franchises played with is 12, shared by Chucky Brown, Jim Jackson, Tony Massenburg and Joe Smith.

13 - The NBA has offices in 13 markets worldwide.

14 - The Golden State Warriors Klay Thompson made an NBA single-game record 14 three-pointers against the Chicago Bulls on Oct. 29, 2018.

15 - In a streak that spanned 15 seasons, A.C. Green played in an NBA-record 1,192 consecutive regular-season games from Nov. 19, 1986 - April 18, 2001.

16 - NBA Cares, the league's global social responsibility program, began 16 years ago to unite people and communities through the game of basketball. During the 75th Anniversary Season, NBA Cares will unveil its 2,000th space where kids and families can live, learn or play safely.

17 - The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers share the record for most NBA championships with 17 each.

18 - Andrew Bynum was 18 years, 6 days old when he played for the Los Angeles Lakers against the Denver Nuggets on Nov. 2, 2005, making him the youngest player to appear in an NBA regular-season game.

19 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar earned a record 19 NBA All-Star selections.

20 - Since 1978, the NBA has played games in more than 20 countries outside of the U.S. and Canada. A total of 205 games have been played outside of the U.S. and Canada during that span.

21 - Dirk Nowitzki played all 21 of his NBA seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, the record for most seasons with one team.

22 - Vince Carter played an NBA-record 22 seasons, from 1998-99 - 2019-20.

23 - The Toronto Raptors had an NBA single-game record of 23 blocked shots against the Atlanta Hawks on March 23, 2001.

24 - The 24-second shot clock was implemented for the 1954-55 season and remains in effect today.

25 - The Detroit Pistons' Isiah Thomas set the NBA Finals record for points in a quarter when he scored 25 points in the third quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of the 1988 NBA Finals on June 19, 1988, making history despite playing with an ankle injury. Thomas finished with 43 points in the Pistons' 103-102 loss.

26 - Gregg Popovich is entering his 26th season as the San Antonio Spurs head coach, the longest head coaching tenure with one team in NBA history. Popovich also begins the 2021-22 season needing 26 victories to pass Don Nelson and become the winningest head coach in league history. (Popovich, who ranks third on the all-time wins list, needs 23 victories to pass Lenny Wilkens for second place.)

27 - The Miami Heat won 27 consecutive regular-season games during the 2012-13 season, the second-longest single-season winning streak in NBA history.

28 - The Philadelphia Warriors' Wilt Chamberlain made NBA single-game records of 28 free throws and 36 field goals on his way to a single-game record 100 points in a 169-147 victory against the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962. (Adrian Dantley tied Chamberlain's record for free throws made in a game with 28 for the Utah Jazz against the Houston Rockets on Jan. 4, 1984.)

29 - The Milwaukee Bucks set the NBA single-game record for three-pointers made with 29 against the Miami Heat on Dec. 29, 2020.

30 - The Orlando Magic's Scott Skiles had an NBA single-game record 30 assists in a 155-116 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Dec. 30, 1990.

31 - Trailing by 31 points in the third quarter in Game 2 of a first-round playoff series, the visiting LA Clippers rallied to defeat the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors 135-131 on April 15, 2019.

32 - The Los Angeles Lakers have made a record 32 appearances in the NBA Finals.

33 - The Los Angeles Lakers won 33 consecutive regular-season games in the 1971-72 season, the longest winning streak in NBA history. The streak spanned Nov. 5, 1971 - Jan. 7, 1972.

34 - The No. 34 jersey has been worn by NBA MVP recipients Giannis Antetokounmpo, Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon and Shaquille O'Neal.

35 - In 1980, during the NBA's 35th season, the league honoured an 11-player AllTime Team composed of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Bob Cousy, Julius Erving, John Havlicek, George Mikan, Bob Pettit, Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell and Jerry West. The Professional Basketball Writers Association selected the All-Time Team, along with voting for Russell as the greatest player, Red Auerbach as the greatest coach and the 1966-67 NBA champion Philadelphia 76ers as the greatest team from the league's first 34 seasons.

36 - The NBA has held 36 Slam Dunk contests, an annual event at NBA All-Star. The Phoenix Suns' Larry Nance Sr. won the inaugural competition, which took place on Jan. 28, 1984, in Denver.

37 - The Golden State Warriors Klay Thompson set the NBA single-game record for points in a quarter when he scored 37 points in the third quarter against the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 23, 2015. Thompson finished with 52 points and made 11 three-pointers in the Warriors' 126-101 victory.

38 - In all-time regular-season matchups involving a home team and a road team, the road team has won slightly more than 38% of those games (38.4%). Home teams have won 61.6% of those games.

39 - Basketball Without Borders (BWB), the NBA and FIBA's global basketball development and community outreach program, has hosted camps in 39 cities around the world since launching in 2001. In those 20 years, the NBA and FIBA have held 62 BWB camps in 30 countries on six continents.

40 - The 1985-86 Boston Celtics and the 2015-16 San Antonio Spurs each won 40 regular-season home games against one loss, the best single-season home winning percentage in NBA history (.976).

41 - 2020-21 NBA MVP Nikola Jokić of the Denver Nuggets was the 41st overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the lowest-drafted player to be named NBA MVP with the exception of three-time MVP Moses Malone, who was not selected in the NBA Draft.

42 - Russell Westbrook set the NBA record for triple-doubles in a season with 42 in his NBA MVP Award-winning season of 2016-17 with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

43 - Robert Parish was 43 years old on April 19, 1997, when he played the last of his NBA-record 1,611 regular-season games, appearing for the Chicago Bulls against the New York Knicks. (Parish went on to play two playoff games that season before retiring from the NBA.)

44 - The 1992 U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball Team, known as the Dream Team for its NBA talent, had an average margin of victory of nearly 44 points per game (43.8) en route to winning the gold medal at the Barcelona Olympics.

45 - The NBA has had 45 franchises in its history (30 active franchises and 15 inactive franchises).

46 - Nat Hickey was two days shy of his 46th birthday when he played for the Providence Steamrollers against the New York Knicks on Jan. 28, 1948, making him the oldest player to appear in an NBA regular-season game.

47 - The Atlanta Hawks' Dominique Wilkins scored 47 points against the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the 1988 Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 22, 1988, a classic matchup won by Boston 118-116. Wilkins' performance stood as the NBA record for most points in a Game 7 before the Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant scored 48 points against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 7 of the 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals on June 19, 2021. Milwaukee defeated Brooklyn 115-111 in overtime.

48 - NBA games have always been 48 minutes long.

49 - The Miami Heat holds the NBA record for the fewest points allowed in a regular-season game in the shot-clock era at 49. Miami defeated the Chicago Bulls 82-49 on April 10, 1999.

50 - The Philadelphia Warriors' Wilt Chamberlain averaged more than 50 points per game (50.4) in the 1961-62 season, an NBA single-season record for scoring average.

51 - The Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant and the Golden State Warriors' Antawn Jamison both scored 51 points in the Warriors' 125-122 overtime victory over the Lakers on Dec. 6, 2000, marking the first time since 1962 that multiple players had at least 50 points in the same game.

52 - Anthony Davis scored 52 points in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans while representing the New Orleans Pelicans, the highest single-game total in All-Star history.

53 - Competing for the scoring title on the final day of the 1977-78 regular season (April 9, 1978), the Denver Nuggets David Thompson and the San Antonio Spurs George Gervin each scored 53 points in the first half of different games. Thompson, playing earlier in the day than Gervin, finished with 73 points against the Detroit Pistons. Gervin finished with 63 points against the New Orleans Jazz. In points per game for the season, Gervin edged Thompson 27.22 - 27.15 in the closest scoring race in NBA history.

54 - The Golden State Warriors won an NBA-record 54 consecutive regular-season home games from Jan. 31, 2015 - March 29, 2016.

55 - The Philadelphia Warriors' Wilt Chamberlain grabbed an NBA single-game record 55 rebounds against the Boston Celtics on Nov. 24, 1960.

56 - The NBA Most Valuable Player Award was first presented in 1956, with the St. Louis Hawks' Bob Pettit earning the inaugural honour.

57 - Four-time NBA champion and two-time NBA All-Star Manu Ginóbili was selected by the San Antonio Spurs with the 57th overall and penultimate pick in the 1999 NBA Draft.

58 - The Buffalo Braves (now known as the LA Clippers) hold the NBA single-game record for points in a quarter with 58. Buffalo reached that total in the fourth quarter of a 126-118 loss to the Boston Celtics on Oct. 20, 1972.

59 - In Game 3 of the 1993 NBA Finals on June 13, 1993, the Phoenix Suns' Dan Majerle played 59 minutes without committing a turnover or foul. The Suns defeated the Chicago Bulls 129-121 in triple overtime.

60 - Kobe Bryant scored 60 points in his final NBA game, leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 101-96 victory over the Utah Jazz on April 13, 2016.

61 - The Los Angeles Lakers Elgin Baylor scored an NBA Finals single-game record 61 points against the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the 1962 NBA Finals on April 14, 1962. The Lakers defeated the Celtics 126-121.

62 - The San Antonio Spurs have won nearly 62% of their regular-season games, the highest winning percentage in NBA history (.615).

63 - The Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan scored an NBA playoff single-game record 63 points against the Boston Celtics in Game 2 of a first-round series on April 20, 1986. The Celtics defeated the Bulls 135-131 in double overtime.

64 - The Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James has been named the NBA Player of the Week a record 64 times. (The honour was first presented in the 1979-80 season - the Philadelphia 76ers' Julius Erving was the first winner - and has been awarded by conference since the 2001-02 season.)

65 - The Philadelphia Warriors' Wilt Chamberlain had an NBA-record 65 consecutive games with 30 or more points, a streak that spanned Nov. 4, 1961 - Feb. 22, 1962. That is more than double the second-longest streak in league history. (The Brooklyn Nets' James Harden had a 32-game streak of 30 or more points Dec. 13, 2018 - Feb. 21, 2019, as a member of the Houston Rockets.)

66 - The 2007-08 NBA champion Boston Celtics won 66 regular-season games, an NBA-record 42-win improvement from the previous season (24 wins in 2006-07).

67 - The Los Angeles Lakers' DeAndre Jordan has the highest field goal percentage in NBA history at just over 67% (67.4).

68 - The Cleveland Cavaliers hold the NBA record for largest margin of victory in a game at 68 points. The Cavaliers defeated the Miami Heat 148-80 on Dec. 17, 1991.

69 - The Seattle SuperSonics' Dale Ellis played an NBA single-game record 69 minutes in a 155-154 quintuple-overtime loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Nov. 9, 1989. Ellis scored a career-high 53 points.

70 - The NBA has played 70 All-Star Games, an annual tradition that dates to 1951.

71 - On the final day of the 1993-94 regular season (April 24, 1994), the San Antonio Spurs David Robinson scored 71 points against the LA Clippers to edge the Orlando Magic's Shaquille O'Neal for the scoring title 29.8 - 29.3.

72 - The 1995-96 Chicago Bulls won a then-record 72 regular-season games. They were the first team in NBA history to win at least 70 games in a season.

73 - The 2015-16 Golden State Warriors won an NBA-record 73 regular-season games.

74 - In the highest-scoring game in league history, the Detroit Pistons made an NBA single-game record 74 field goals in a 186-184 triple-overtime victory against the Denver Nuggets on Dec. 13, 1983.

75 - In the NBA's first 75 regular seasons, there were more than 62,000 games played, more than 4,500 players who played in a game and more than 12.8 million points scored.




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