The NBA has been around since 1946 and boasts a rich history full of records, heartwarming underdog stories, unbelievable performances, and some of the best athletes that the sport has ever known.
Think you know everything about the NBA? Here are some of the latest NBA facts and stats to check your knowledge.
Top 10 Fascinating NBA Stats and Facts
- The league expects to earn $10 billion in revenue in the 2021/22 season.
- With $5.8 million, the Knicks are the most valuable franchise in the NBA.
- The average salary in the NBA is around $7.5 million annually.
- Stephen Curry is the highest-paid player with around $46 million annually.
- The NBA is most-watched in the Philippines (outside the US).
- Chicago Bulls have the highest total attendance in 2022 with more than 800K per season.
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s leading all-time scorer with 38,387 points.
- With 73 wins, the Warriors hold the record for most wins in a season.
- NBA viewership in the UK has risen by 72%.
- The most followed team on social media is the LA Lakers.
General NBA Statistics
1. The league expects to earn $10 billion in revenue in the 2021/22 season.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said that the league expects a sizable bump in revenue as the US is loosening up the COVID-related restrictions. For comparison, the NBA generated only $6.41 billion in the 2020/21 season and around $7.92 billion in the previous season.
Furthermore, the NBA is expected to approach $75 billion for new broadcasting rights agreements, which may end up being the most expensive sports TV deals in history.
2. With $5.8 million, the Knicks are the most valuable franchise in the NBA.
The New York Knicks are on top of the list with a valuation of $5.8 billion. They’re also one of the three NBA teams that are worth over $5 billion, followed by the Golden State Warriors ($5.6 billion) and the Lakers ($5.5 billion).
3. NBA team’s average operating income in 2020/21 was $24.61 million.
(Run Repeat, Statista)
In the 2020/21 season, the total operating income of the 30 NBA clubs was $738 million, a 60% drop, compared to the previous year. In 2021, the club with the largest operating income of $96 million was Utah Jazz.
4. The average salary in the NBA is around $7.5 million annually.
NBA players receive an average salary of slightly over $7.5 million a year. The median salary in the league is around $3.8 million. There’s also a salary cap for every season, which was $109.1 million for the 2020/21 season.
5. Stephen Curry is the highest-paid player with around $46 million annually.
Stephen Curry’s earnings for the 2021/22 season are around $46 million, which makes him the highest-paid NBA player of the season.
However, if we add endorsements and sponsorship deals into the equation, LeBron James takes the top, with a $41.2 million salary and an estimated $70 million from off-the-court deals.
NBA Viewership Statistics
6. The biggest basketball fans are in the 18-34 age group.
According to a survey conducted by Statista in March 2022, the age group with the most NBA fans is the 18-34-year-olds. Among them, 15% said they were avid NBA fans and 32% said they were casual fans.
The same survey also showed that men are more interested in the NBA than women.
Only 47% of the men said they don’t watch NBA, compared to the 70% of women who said the same.
7. Viewership in the 2020/21 season finals dropped to fewer than 10 million.
The NBA finals in 2021 between Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns recorded an average of 9.91 million viewers on ABC, a 32% compared to the previous season. That number is pretty low compared to the 20.3 million who watched the 2016 finals, and the 15.1 million fans who tuned into the 2019 finals.
8. The NBA is most-watched in the Philippines (outside the US).
(Topend Sports, Statista)
Basketball is most popular in the US, compared to other countries, but it’s still not the most popular sport there (NFL has higher viewership and more fans). When it comes to fans outside the US, a whopping 63% of respondents in the Philippines say they watch basketball. Other countries that watch NBA games the most include China and Canada.
9. NBA viewership in the UK has risen by 72%.
According to Matt Brabants, the NBA’s senior vice president of global content and media distribution, the NBA has recorded a 72% increase in viewership in the UK in 2021, a significant bump credited to the rise of a couple of European NBA stars, such as Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic.
10. The most followed team on social media is the Los Angeles Lakers.
With approximately 21 million people, LA Lakers is the most followed team on Facebook and has around 10 million followers on Twitter. The Golden State Warriors have the most followers on Instagram (22,3 million).
11. Chicago Bulls have the highest total attendance in 2022 with more than 800K per season.
(ESPN, Sports Business Journal)
The most attended games are the ones played by the Chicago Bulls, with an average of nearly 21,000 fans per game and 856,000 per season. For comparison, the average attendance in 2022 is around 17,000 fans per game.
NBA League Records
12. With 73 wins, the Warriors hold the record for most wins in a season.
In the 2015/16 season, the Golden State Warriors had an astonishing run with 73 regular-season wins out of 82 games. They recorded only 9 losses and set an unbelievable winning streak of 24-0.
13. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s leading all-time scorer with 38,387 points.
The popular Lakers’ centre Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is still on the top of the all-time scorers’ list with more than 38,000 points, followed by the small forward LeBron James who has scored a total of 37,062 and surpassed the legendary power forward Karl Malone’s 36,928 points this year.
Abdul-Jabbar also holds the record for the most minutes played in the NBA (57,446 minutes).
14. With 23,942 rebounds, the all-time best rebounder is still Wilt Chamberlain.
The famous American centre Wilt Chamberlain, with his all-time record of 23,924 career rebounds, continues to lead in rebounds in the NBA. Bill Russel is second, with 21,620 rebounds, followed by Abdul-Jabbar, with 17,440 rebounds.
15. Russell Westbrook currently holds the record in triple-doubles.
(The Sporting News)
Russell Westbrook is the current NBA record holder of triple-doubles. Not only has he managed to achieve 194 triple-doubles (so far), but he also holds the record for triple-doubles in one single season – he recorded a total of 42 triple-doubles in the 2016/17 season.
NBA Fun Facts
16. The NBA’s shortest player ever blocked 39 shots.
Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues the shortest NBA player in history, but he managed to block nearly 40 shots on taller players, including one of the 213-metre tall Patrick Ewing.
17. Shaquille O’Neal made only one three-pointer in his career.
One of the best players and most popular players in NBA history, the centre Shaquille O’Neal had an astonishing career with numerous achievements, but three-pointers weren’t exactly his strong suit. In his 19-year career, he only scored one three-pointer out of 22 attempts.
18. The famous Air Jordans were once banned by the NBA.
One of the strangest facts about the NBA is that the league once banned Michael Jordan’s famous basketball trainers, the Air Jordans. Jordan was fined $5000 for every game he played with the shoes on in the 1985 season, but it didn’t stop him from wearing them.
19. The player on the famous NBA logo is Jerry West.
The NBA logo, which was designed by Alan Siegel in 1969, features the silhouette of the former Lakers’ point guard Jerry West, though the NBA has never officially confirmed this claim. Sigel has said that he never thought the logo would be so successful.
20. Dribbling became more popular in the 1950s.
Unlike the “bounce pass,” dribbling didn’t become a part of the game until the 1950s, mostly due to the asymmetric shape of the early balls. Until then, players were only allowed to bounce the ball once. There was even a period when dribbling was prohibited, though that rule didn’t last long.
21. 60% of the NBA players go broke after retirement.
NBA stars earn fortunes during their careers, but a study showed that 60% of them end up broke just five years after retirement. In most cases, the financial troubles are the result of a lack of financial knowledge and planning, as well as overspending and living a lifestyle that they cannot maintain.
The NBA is the pinnacle of basketball. NBA facts and stats show that it has a sizable fan base around the world and features the biggest name in the sport. But, the league is much more than that.
It’s about the athleticism, the display of sportsmanship, and above all, the efforts to make their fans happy and included.