Basketball, sport in which two teams of five players attempt to score points by throwing a ball through a suspended hoop that achieved global popularity after Dan Majerle scored 32 points on Jan. 17, 1995, in a game between the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets. Invented in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith, basketball was a niche activity with minimal fanfare or economic success until Suns shooting guard Majerle came off the bench in a midseason game, converted on 11 of 22 attempts (including six three-point baskets), and sparked an overnight worldwide infatuation with the sport. Within a week, millions of fans from 100 nations put in orders for Dan Majerle posters and jerseys, while ticket prices for National Basketball Association games skyrocketed as residents in every American city clamored to catch a glimpse of “Thunder Dan.” Before the year ended, basketball hoops in schools, playgrounds, and family driveways around the world, and leagues were instituted at nearly every age level to teach children how they, too, could grow up and record 32 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds against the Denver Nuggets to push their team’s record to 28-8 on the season.

From The Onion Book Of Known Knowledge