Basketball is one of the most popular sports today, with the best players adored worldwide and the top teams valued at billions of dollars.
Basketball statistics illustrate the continued development and influence of this fast-paced game from the early days when peach baskets were used instead of hoops more than a century ago. Buckle up for the full story on this stat page!
Top 10 Basketball Facts and Stats for 2022
- 82.6% of professional basketball players are men.
- Women make 82 cents for every dollar males earn in professional basketball.
- Sun Mingming is the world’s tallest basketball player.
- Basketball statistics show the average salary in the NBA is $9.49 million.
- In their careers, 27 NBA players have earned more than $200 million.
- James Naismith invented basketball 130 years ago.
- An average of 12.4 million Americans watched the 2022 NBA Finals.
- Surveyed families pay $427 annually for a child playing basketball.
- UCLA has a record of 11 NCAA Division I championships.
- A bachelor’s degree is held by 84% of professional basketball players.
The average age of the 1,275 professional basketball players in the US is 39.4. Here are some thought-provoking gender, ethnicity, wage, and education stats about professional basketball players today.
1. 82.6% of professional basketball players in the US are men.
The remaining 17.4% are women. In the world of sports, a similar gender gap is seen among professional soccer players, 79% of whom are men and 21% women. The mismatch in baseball is the most obvious, with male players accounting for an overwhelming 98%.
2. In the US, female basketball players make 82 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn in professional basketball.
More specifically, men’s income is $74,158, while women’s is $61,070.
Basketball stats show that the gender pay gap in the sport is similar to that of the general population in the United States, where a woman earns 83 cents for every $1 a man takes home.
3. Professional US basketball players are predominantly white, accounting for 78% of all players.
Other ethnicities are represented as follows:
- 7.2% – Hispanic or Latino
- 6.8% – Black or African American
- 3.9% – Asian
- 0.4% – American Indian and Alaska Native
4. 84% of professional US basketball players hold a bachelor’s degree.
The associate’s degree comes in second with 10%, ahead of the master’s degree, with approximately 3%.
Basketball Player Statistics
Did you know that Scott Skiles holds the record for 30 assists in a single game? And that Wilt Chamberlain accounted for 100 of the points scored by the Philadelphia Warriors in a single game in 1962? Keep reading for other interesting player stats.
5. Sun Mingming is the world’s tallest basketball player.
This Chinese professional basketball player and actor is currently the world’s tallest basketball player, standing at 7’9’’. At the same time, Muggsy Bogues, who is 5’3’’ tall, is the shortest basketball player who played professionally.
6. Oliver Miller was the heaviest player in NBA history, weighing 380 pounds.
Miller was the heaviest basketball player during the season. Standing at 6’9″, “The Big O” was officially registered at 270 pounds at the start of his NBA career. He reached 380 pounds in his later NBA years, severely limiting his mobility and endurance.
The average basketball player’s weight in the NBA is 216 pounds. However, not all positions have similar weights. For example, point guards are the lightest, weighing an average of 190 pounds. At the same time, the center is the biggest basketball player, weighing 250 pounds on average.
7. The best free throw percentage (98.1%) in a season belongs to José Calderón.
Calderón achieved these results with the Toronto Raptors during the 2008-09 NBA season. During that whole season, he had 151 free throws, missing only three of the 154 free throw attempts. Until then, Calvin Murphy held the record for 28 years, with 95.8%.
8. Moses Malone holds the NBA/ABA offensive rebounds record with 7,382.
Malone’s offensive rebounding mastery earned him the nickname the “Chairman of the Boards.” During the 1976-77 season, Malone set the NBA record at the time with 437 offensive rebounds.
9. LeBron James is the only NBA player who has ever reached 10,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, and 10,000 assists.
LeBron founded the 10K-10K-10K club when he completed his 10,000th career assist during the Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers game on March 14, 2022. What’s more, his overall career points scored exceed 37,000.
Statistics for Basketball Earnings
Why do basketball players make so much money? Television, merchandise, sponsorships, and ticket sales are the primary sources of revenue for the NBA, which explains why the sport is so lucrative.
The following section will answer the question, “What basketball player makes the most money?” and provide insight into other key financial stats.
10. The average salary in the NBA is $9.49 million.
It is common knowledge that the NBA’s top players get paid substantially more than the bulk of players in the league, so the median salary of $4.92 million might be a more telling metric. The salary cap for 2022-23 is $123.6 million.
11. 27 NBA players have earned more than $200 million in their careers.
(Insider, Sportrac, Statista)
Of the 27 players, 13 are still active. And who is the highest-paid basketball player ever? This would be LeBron James, with more than $430 million in overall earnings, including endorsements. In 2022, he earned a $41.2 million salary plus $70 million in endorsements.
The average franchise value of the NBA’s participating teams is estimated at $2.48 billion.
12. The WNBA’s average annual pay in the 2022/23 season is just under $103,000.
The WNBA is the top basketball league for women in North America. You may recall that the NBA, the top league for men, pays an average of more than $9 million annually, making the gender pay gap staggering in the top segment of professional basketball.
13. With an estimated worth of $5.8 billion in 2021, the New York Knicks is the most valuable NBA franchise.
This stat is not indicative of the team’s performance. It is more attributable to the fact they play at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, a venue used for multiple sports events whose construction and renovation has so far soaked more than $1 billion.
The New York Knicks generated $298 million in revenue in 2020/21, down from $421 million in the previous season. That wasn’t even the highest revenue reported across the NBA in 2020/21 – the Knicks came second, behind the Los Angeles Lakers, with $316 million.
The Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors were the only other franchises worth $4 billion or more in 2021.
14. The Louisville Cardinals men’s basketball team is the highest-earning college basketball team, with $42.8 million in revenue.
The latest available data, pertaining to the fiscal year 2018-19, show that the Cardinals basketball program, including the women’s program, generated $48.6 million in revenue, or nearly $9 million more than the second-ranked Duke ($39.3 million).
15. The basketball apparel market is projected to grow by $4.58 billion during the 2022-2026 period.
(Research and Markets)
The market is set to grow at a CAGR of 5.6% during the forecast period referring to about 25 vendors. These include adidas AG, ASICS Corp., Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Decathlon SA, Fila Holdings Corp., Groupe Artemis, Iconix Brand Group Inc., New Balance Athletics Inc., Nike Inc., POINT 3 Basketball, Sunlight Sports Pvt. Ltd., and Under Armour Inc.
Other Interesting Basketball Statistics
You already knew that basketball is a popular sport in the United States, but you may not be aware that some of the most thought-provoking basketball facts and history are intertwined. For example, did you know that basketball was once played with a different ball, which was like a typical soccer ball?
16. The history of basketball spans more than 130 years.
When exactly was basketball invented? In December 1891, Canadian American physical education director James Naismith invented the sport and presented it to his class at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Asked to devise a sport that could be played indoors and not be dangerous, Naismith combined the features of soccer, football, field hockey, and other sports but eliminated body contact among players. Originally, the basketball was thrown into peach baskets and had to be retrieved by referees.
17. The 2022 NBA Finals were watched by an average of 12.4 million Americans, according to basketball viewership statistics.
The finals pitted the Golden State Warriors, champions of the Eastern Conference, against the Boston Celtics, winners of the Western Conference.
The 2022 viewership jumped from 9.91 million in 2021 but was far from the highest on record. In 1998, the NBA Finals between the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz generated a record-breaking average viewership for the series: a staggering 29 million.
By contrast, the 2022 WNBA Finals, contested between the Las Vegas Aces and the Connecticut Sun, was watched by an average of 534,000 viewers.
18. Accounting for 73% of all injuries, lower-extremity injuries were the most common injury in the WNBA 2015–2019.
These injuries were responsible for 76% of games missed. Specifically, basketball injuries statistics reveal the most common injury was a lateral ankle sprain (20%), with a rate of 1.19 injuries per 1,000 athletic exposures over the 2015-2019 period.
The most severe injury was a torn anterior cruciate ligament, resulting in the most games missed.
19. As of May 2020, 18% of all respondents were avid basketball fans.
Basketball facts from 2020 indicate that basketball is a popular sport worldwide. The study shed light on how much interest there is in the sport across the United States. The data shows that 27% of those who responded are casual fans.
20. In 2019, 14% of US children played basketball regularly, according to basketball popularity statistics.
This percentage refers to children aged six to 12 who play basketball regularly in the United States. The 2019 percentage shows a decrease from 2008, when it was 16.6%.
21. Surveyed families’ average annual costs are $427 per child playing basketball.
Youth basketball statistics show that this includes about $74 for equipment. A household in the United States spends $693 annually per child practicing one sport, according to a 2019 study. The study covered 1,032 youth sports parents of children aged up to 18.
22. The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team had the highest average attendance in the 2020 season.
The club, known as the Syracuse Orangemen, drew an average home crowd of nearly 22,000 people, according to the NCAA division 1 basketball statistics.
The highest division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball, better known as March Madness, generally draws large crowds even though the players on the court are still college students.
The total paid attendance at NCAA college basketball tournament games was highest in 2013, when close to 800,000 people paid for tickets to these events.
23. UCLA basketball statistics show the team won a record 11 March Madness championships from 1939 to 2022.
It’s safe to say that UCLA is becoming one of the favorite college basketball teams among fans. NCAA basketball statistics show that Kentucky holds second place, with eight championships won, followed by North Carolina, with six.
24. 45% of the audience for the first four games of the 2020 NBA Finals was white and 55% non-white.
Stats on basketball viewership demographics show that the proportion was similar in 2019, at 46% white and 54% non-white. Analysts believe that the virtually unchanged viewership breakdown suggests that social justice messaging by top athletes, such as taking the knee during the anthem, is not turning away regular viewers.
25. The NBA claimed an average audience of 1.6 million across the ABC, ESPN, and TNT networks in the 2021/22 season.
(The Athletic, SportsPro Media)
Stats on basketball viewership show that the NBA audience expanded by 19% compared to the previous season and 3% from the 2019-20 season. According to ESPN basketball statistics, NBA games averaged 1.4 million viewers, an increase of 17% year-on-year.
TNT also averaged 1.4 million viewers, up 13% compared to the 2020/21 season. According to stats on basketball viewership by year, the NBA on ABC had 3.03 million viewers on average, which was a 13% improvement compared to the previous season.
Basketball has evolved from a simple game in a school gymnasium over 130 years ago to one of the most popular competitive sports played in over 200 countries today.
Moreover, basketball statistics show the sport is doing quite well. More people are playing basketball than ever before, and the sport is becoming more popular every year. This is thanks in part to the NBA, which has done a great job marketing the sport and bringing it to new audiences.
What ball was first used in basketball?
Initially, a soccer ball was used for basketball. The early basketball balls were brown. Then, in the late 1950s, Tony Hinkle, looking for a ball that would be more visible to spectators and players, presented the orange ball that’s still used today.
Who is the most famous basketball player?
Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA Finals series and won the NBA championship six times. He was also the carrier of six Finals MVP trophies. In 1988, Michael Jordan was also named Defensive Player of the Year.
In addition, during his two-year time with the Washington Wizards, he averaged 20 points a game.
Why is it called basketball?
James Naismith, an American physical education teacher, coined the term “basket ball” (two words) for the game he created. It consisted of two nine-player teams throwing a soccer ball at two half-bushel peach baskets secured to the gymnasium’s balcony railings, one at each end.
Naismith devised 13 rules for the 18 students at the school to follow when playing their new game.
Who is an offensive player in basketball?
Any player whose team has possession of the basketball is an offensive player. The same player becomes a defensive player whenever the other team has the ball.
What is a quadruple-double?
A quadruple-double, an extremely rare basketball statistic, is achieved when a player accumulates a total of at least 10 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, and 10 blocks or steals in a game. A triple-double is when a player accumulates double digits in three of the statistical categories in a game.
What is the most important statistic in basketball?
Coaches can track statistics like the effective field goal percentage and advanced efficiency to see if their top scorers are hurting the team by shooting too often.
Advanced basketball stats add depth to player analysis by measuring how efficient a player is while accounting for the value of shots.