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March Madness is upon us, which means that it’s time to start scoping out the best players for next year’s draft. But before looking forward, it might be time to look back at some of the craziest facts about NBA players current and former.
1. One of the more impressive stories in the NBA is that of Josh Howard, who was so bowlegged as a child that he had to have his legs broken and reset. Even that didn’t completely fix the problem, but he still managed to become a professional athlete.
2. LeBron James is not just one of the best players in the league today, he’s also ambidextrous. While he only shoots with his right hand, he eats and writes left handed. If he could shoot with both he might be totally unstoppable.
3. The Bullets had a pretty amazing lineup in the 1987-1988 season: they had both the shortest and the tallest players in the NBA, Manute Bol at 7’7″ and Muggsy Bogues at 5’3″.
4. Shaquille O’Neal is known as one of the top players basketball has ever seen, but despite making over 11,200 baskets, only one was a three-pointer.
5. When Kobe Bryant was first drafted by the Charlotte Hornets, he was not yet 18 and so his parents had to co-sign his contract. Thanks to new rules that require rookies to be at least a year out of high school, this is no longer a problem.
6. Michael Jordan’s iconic shoes, the Air Jordans, were created in 1985, but they weren’t a big hit with Commissioner David Stern. He fined Jordan $5000 for wearing them because they supposedly clashed with the Bulls uniform. Of course, Nike paid the fines for Jordan, so it didn’t stop him.
7. Double doubles and triple doubles (games in which someone hits double digits in multiple stat categories) are fairly common in the NBA. David Robinson even pulled off a quadruple double once, but an NBA player has never hit a quintuple double. That has happened twice in girl’s high school basketball though.
8. Some of the most famous basketball players took some time to develop. Both Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley were cut from their freshman year high school varsity teams, and Barkley was even cut his sophomore year as well. Of course, he eventually made the team and got a basketball scholarship to Auburn University in Alabama.
9. Manute Bol, a Sudanese native, once killed a lion with a spear. He specifies that the lion was asleep or he wouldn’t have been so brave. The lion had killed one of his cows.
10. Paul Pierce spent the evening of September 25, 2000 at the Buzz Club, where he witnessed and tried to stop a fight. In the course of his attempts, he was stabbed 11 times. Amazingly, he still played every game in the 2000-2001 season.
11. Richard Hamilton’s nickname is “Rip,” which he earned by ripping through his diapers regularly as a baby.