Children's Basketball: Facts & Fun Ideas

Expert advice and interesting facts

Interesting facts

  • Basketball was invented in 1891 in USA by a teacher at a YMCA.
  • The first actual game took place the following year in 1892 on a court half the size of those used today. During the game, only one point was scored.  It also used peach baskets for nets, and wire for a backboard.

  • Basketballs that we know today hadn’t yet been invented, so footballs had to be used. Every time somebody scored a basket, the referee had to climb the post to retrieve the ball!

  • Later in 1962, Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a single game.

  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the all-time record holder with 38,387 career points.

  • Michael Jordan holds the record for points scored in the Playoffs (which come after the league) with 5,987.

  • Basketball has been an Olympic sport since Berlin, 1936.

  • For a while in the 60s and 70s, performing a slam dunk was a foul.

  • The NBA is the biggest league in the world and has 29 teams from USA and 1 from Canada.

  • The British Basketball League (BBL) is the British equivalent, although it is a lot smaller and only has 12 teams.

  • The Harlem Globetrotters are an exhibition team not in a league. They play funny and exciting basketball and are mostly owned by the Disney family!

  • Professional basketball is definitely dominated by tall players. The average height of an NBA player is just less than 6 foot 7 inches.

  • However, short people can be good too as they can navigate through crowds quickly and steal the ball. Pros such as Muggsy Bogues were as short as 5 foot and 3 inches.

How to pick a basketball coach for your child

What should you be thinking about before choosing a basketball coach for your child?

Do you know a family that can recommend the coach or have they been accredited by KalliKids?

Does the coach just hold training sessions or is there the opportunity for your child to join a team and play in competitive games?

National associations & clubs

British Basketball.

British Basketball Association.

The British Basketball League.

England Basketball – governs the sport in England.

Basketball Wales – the home of Welsh Basketball.

Basketball Scotland – the sport’s governing body in Scotland.

Basketball Ireland is the national governing body for the sport on the island of Ireland.


Qualifications/grades - children

Like with many sports, children are not formally assessed with exams. Kids may begin by joining their school’s basketball team and competing in inter-school leagues and competitions before looking for a local club. They can then start competing at local, regional, national and international levels!

Qualifications of coaches

Coaches should have undertaken an official coaching course form the UKCC. However, other coaching qualifications exist. Find out more here.

Learning from the activity

  • Balance
  • Agility

  • Strength

  • Physical fitness

  • Large/Gross motor Skills

  • Reflexes

  • Focus

  • Concentration

  • Team work

Basketball is a great all-body workout for your child. The constant bouncing of the heavy ball means it is good for their upper body and of course running around for so long helps their lower body. Playing as part of a team is also great for communication.

Famous people

Michael Jordan (born February 17, 1963) is probably the most famous basketball player in history (and could be one of the most famous celebrities too!)  In his words, “I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

He played many sports throughout high school, including basketball, but was turned down from the team. He wanted to prove his worth by training rigorously and earned his spot on the team the next year.  This proves another of his famous sayings, "I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying.”

He has since won two Olympic gold medals and six NBA championships.

LeBron James (born December 30, 1984) nicknamed the King, has been voted as the most valuable player on four separate occasions. He also has two NBA championships, two Olympic gold medals and many more  achievements and awards.

Yao Ming (born September 12, 1980) sends a great message to any tall kids who are thinking which sport they should take up as he is 7 feet 6 inches tall! Yao started playing basketball at the age of nine when sports doctors predicted he would grow to over to 7 feet. Ming began his career in China where he was born and practised 10 hours each day so that he could be accepted onto a junior team. There were a lot of difficulties faced by Yao when he turned professional but he eventually moved over to America to play in the NBA. He also competed in the Olympics for China but retired, due to injury, soon afterwards.

Tina Charles (born December 5, 1988) currently plays in the Women’s NBA and was voted the MVP (most valuable player) in 2012. She has been a high profile player since making her name at high school due to record breaking achievements. This continued through her time at university where she led her team to a national championship and continuing further into her professional career. Tina is extremely tall at 6 feet 4 inches but uses her height to her advantage in the centre of the court as she can jump higher than anyone else.

Justin Bieber (born March 1, 1994) – When he’s not in the recording studio, Bieber has been known to be a big basketball fan. He watches a lot of games and plays, too. He was even voted as the MVP (most valuable player) at an annual charity match!

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