Friday , Dec , 21 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Forty Little-known NBA Facts: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett and more…

A couple of summers ago with a blog deadline looming and a million ideas bobbling around in my cranial cavity, I decided to let loose a fact fart and list some of my favourite NBA trivia. Surprisingly, it turns out that I’m far from being the only fan of pointless information, with dozens of you emailing me to chip in with your own esoteric additions to my list.   With your contributions and the junk I’ve assimilated in the two years since the feature hit the web, I realised I had more than enough to double the original list.

So, without further ado, I present my updated collection of fun NBA facts. Some of these are common knowledge while others will be new to most of you, but what binds them all together is that there is absolutely no need for anyone to know these things. Oh, and please don’t try to impress your friends with these.  I tried that once. I have not seen my friends since.

  • Tim Duncan has a tattoo of Merlin the Magician on his back.
  • LeBron James writes and eats left-handed.
  • Kevin Garnett’s mother was a Jehovah’s Witness, and as such he was nineteen before he celebrated his first Christmas and Hallowe’en.

  • The man known as “Ray Allen” is, in fact, named “Walter Ray Allen”.
  • Moochie Norris’ real first name is Martyn. His nickname came from Cab Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher”, his grandfather’s favourite song.
  • As a child, Chris Paul was reprimanded with a paddle that had “Board of Corrections” written on one side and “Victim Sign Here” on the other.

  • Pau Gasol enrolled in medical school before signing his first professional basketball contract.
  • As a child, Shaq fell from a tree while imitating Spider-Man and fractured both of his wrists.

  • As a high school senior, LeBron attended the Adidas ABCD Camp wearing Nike sneakers. At the Nike All-American Camp, he wore Adidas.

  • Kobe met his future wife, the then-seventeen-year-old Vanessa Laine, at the video shoot for “G’d Up” by Tha Eastsidaz while recording his ill-fated album in the same building.
  • Jason Williams started alongside Randy Moss on his high school basketball and football teams.
  • Bonzi Wells’ real first name is Gawen, which he shares with both his father and his son.

  • Richard “Rip” Hamilton inherited his nickname from his father, who used to rip his diapers as a baby.

  • Playing as teammates on an AAU squad, Ron Artest and Elton Brand once had a fight during the warm-ups.

  • Ray Allen once dunked the ball in his own hoop following the tip-off as a high school senior.

  • Jason Williams has a tattoo in Japanese characters which translates roughly as “F*ck y’all.”

  • Carmelo Anthony was once given detention in grade school for introducing himself to his teachers and classmates as “Tyrone”. He claimed that the other children were unable to pronounce his real name.

  • The Baltimore neighbourhood in which Carmelo Anthony grew up was used as the setting for television series “The Wire”.

  • Dwight Howard’s family refer to him as the “Miracle Child” as his mother miscarried seven times before he was born.

  • Popeye Jones’ real name is Ronald.

  • Kobe Bryant adopted the number eight as it was the total of the digits on the jersey he wore at the ABCD camp (143). He wore his current jersey number, twenty-four, in his freshman year of high school before switching to thirty-three as a sophomore.

  • Darvin Ham’s mother is the mayor of Saginaw, Michigan.
  • Drew Gooden’s mother is Finnish.

  • Josh Howard’s legs were so severely bowed as an infant that he underwent a procedure in which they were broken and reset so that they could grow straight.
  • Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean Jacques Wamutombo (known simply as “Dikembe Mutombo” to most) speaks seven languages fluently.
  • Gilbert Arenas’ father once had bit parts in the television shows Miami Vice and Days of Our Lives. He also modelled for Sears and JC Penney and appeared in commercials for Tostitos and Pepcid AC. He coached his son in a park league before Gilbert quit and joined another team which offered him more playing time. In their first encounter, little Gil scored fifteen on his father’s team.

  • Kobe Bryant’s middle name is “Bean”.    
  • Kevin Garnett’s wife is sister to the wife of Jimmy Jam.

  • Ron Artest held the press conference to announce his declaration for the NBA draft in the Queensbridge Community Center.
  • Mike Bibby and Eddie House are brothers-in-law.
  • Kwame Brown has a daughter named “Kwameeri”.
  • Rasheed Wallace has a daughter named “Rashiyah”.
  • Rasheed Wallace had his championship ring altered so that it would fit his middle finger.

  • It’s common knowledge that Tim Duncan was once an excellent swimmer. It’s also fairly well known that he made the transition to basketball after Hurricane Hugo destroyed his local pool. What few know, however, is that Tim quit after his team moved their training sessions to the ocean due to his mortal fear of sharks.

  • Chauncey Billups was commended for his heartfelt apology letter to the student body at the University of Colorado. The reason for it? He’d stolen video rental coupons from the campus bookstore.

  • Vince Carter was a drum major in his high school band and was offered a music scholarship to Bethune-Cookman.

  • A local TV station organised a game of one-on-one against Michael Jordan for the then-high school senior Michael Finley. When Phil Jackson heard about it, he requested that it be changed to a game of H-O-R-S-E. Jordan won and challenged Finley to game of one-on-one, beating him 3-1.
  • Contrary to what is often found in official media guides, Ronald “Flip” Murray was given his nickname by a friend who claimed that he was as dark-skinned as Bernie Mac’s character in the movie Above the Rim.
  • Tayshaun Prince was born in Compton.
  • Vladimir Radmanovic has twice played the part of the grandfather in the party scene of the famed ballet The Nutcracker.

    Got any interesting facts to add? Let us know in the comment box below or post them on our message board at

    CYE ([email protected])