Michael Jordan had a clause in his contract called “For the Love of the Game” that allowed him to play basketball anytime, anywhere, for any reason.
Michael Jordan took home economics in high school to learn to cook because he was worried his big ears would make it hard to find a woman who would want to marry him.
Kobe Bryant is named after Kobe Beef after his parents saw it on a menu at a restaurant.
Before a game, Larry Bird told Chuck Person that he had Christmas present waiting for him. While Person was on the bench Bird shot a three-pointer right in front of him. Immediately after releasing the ball, Bird said to Person, "Merry f*%#ing Christmas!", and then the shot went in.
Lebron James was so hated back in 2012 that even a captured Al-Qaeda member wrote letters expressing his disgust at his decision to go to the Miami Heat. He told his lawyer that “LeBron James is a very bad man and should apologize to the city of Cleveland.”
NBA player Kevin Durant once helped an ambulance stuck in traffic by using his Ferrari to help clear lanes. Afterward, the paremedics waved thanks to him to which he jokingly replied, "Don't you have a job to do?"
Scottie Pippen, of Chicago Bulls Fame, was given the nickname “No Tippin Pippen” for his lack of tipping waiters and once tried to haggle with strippers on the amount they were charging.
Basketball star Dirk Nowitzki had to pick out his fiancée from a lineup of five women who were covered from head to toe. He chose correctly. If he hadn't? He'd have to buy his in-laws a goat.
Michael Jordan says Kobe Bryant is the only player to ever have approached him in work ethic, waking up at 4:30 in the morning to practice before his required practice with his team.
Giannis Antetokounmpo almost had to run to a game during his rookie season. After sending his entire first paycheck to his struggling family in Greece, he didn't even have enough to call a cab. He started running to the stadium when a fan picked him up on the street.
Michael Jordan once tipped a waitress a $5 chip for bringing him a drink. Wayne Gretzky stopped the waitress, removed the $5 chip, grabbed one of the many $100 chips on Jordan’s side of the table, and gave it to her. Then he said, "That's how we tip in Las Vegas, Michael."
Boston Celtics legend Bob Cousy rejected a hotel room in 1950 as a teammate and first African-American in the NBA Chuck Cooper was denied a room due to the policies of then-segregated Charlotte NC. Cousy insisted on traveling with Cooper on a cramped overnight train instead.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar accepted his role in Airplane! because the money they offered him would cover the cost of a rug he wanted.
Kevin Durant used to wear jersey No. 35 in honor of his first basketball coach, Charles Craig, who was murdered at the age of 35 in a gang-related case of mistaken identity.
Former NBA player Andrew Bynum was once thrown out of a team practice session because he kept shooting the ball whenever he touched it, regardless of how far away he was from the basket.
Magic Johnson retired before the 1991-1992 NBA Season after announcing he was HIV+ve, but fans voted him into the 1992 All-Star Game anyway, for which he returned and won MVP.
Lebron James rejected a $10 million offer from Reebok when he was just 18. When asked why he said that Nike or Adidas might offer him a bit more. Less than a year later, he accepted a $90 million offer from Nike.
In the 1997 NBA Finals, Karl Malone got fouled with 9.2 seconds left in a tied game and went to shoot 2 free throws. Before he got to the line Scottie Pippen told him “The Mailman doesn't deliver on Sundays”. Karl’s nickname was “The Mailman”. He missed both free throws and the Bulls won.
NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley once tried to spit at a fan shouting racial slurs during a game, but his spit accidentally hit the little girl next to him instead. Barkley became friends with the girl and her family and gave them tickets to later games.
Shaquille O'Neal only made one three-point shot during his entire career.
Basketball Hall of Famer "Pistol Pete" Maravich died of a heart condition where he was born without a left coronary artery, a vessel that supplies blood to the muscle fibers of the heart. His right coronary artery was grossly enlarged and had been compensating for the defect.
Patrick Ewing was close to signing a letter of intent with the University of North Carolina. While visiting the campus he stayed at the Carolina Inn and after witnessing a rally for the Ku Klux Klan ultimately decided not to sign with UNC.
A former NBA player and devout Mormon, Shawn Bradley, was once fined $10,000 for not going to a mandatory team meeting at a strip club.
Wilt Chamberlain played his epic 100-point game on no sleep and on a hangover.
Chris Paul, one day after his 61-year-old grandfather was murdered, scored 61 points in a high school basketball game, intentionally missed a free throw, and asked his coach to pull him out. He then sat on the sideline and wept.
The Dream Team of 1992 received death threats in Barcelona. Charles Barkley walked around the city alone despite the threats, and when asked where his bodyguards were, he held up his fists and answered, "This is my security."
David Robinson grew so tall (7'0" by graduation) at the Naval Academy that he could not have served at sea, hurting any career in the US Navy. Instead of leaving the academy, as a compromise, he was assigned to shore duty as an engineer before becoming a basketball superstar in the NBA.
James Harden of the Oklahoma City Thunder grew his famous beard because he was too lazy to shave it in college.
Tim Duncan grew up in the US Virgin Islands where he was gearing up for the 1992 Olympics as a competitive swimmer until Hurricane Hugo destroyed the island's only Olympic-sized pool. The only alternative was to swim in the ocean, and Duncan was afraid of sharks, so he turned to basketball.
Allen Iverson, besides his superstar spending habits, did not trust any bank and kept his money in plastic garbage bags in rooms in his house.
Wilt Chamberlain once challenged Muhammad Ali to a boxing match. Wilt was a foot taller,60 pounds heavier, and had a 92-inch reach. During a joint press conference, Ali answered every question with “Timberrrrr!” After breaking to meet with his lawyers, Wilt returned and called the fight off.
Dominique Wilkins holds the NBA record for the most free throws made in a game without a miss. Wilkins also won two slam dunk contests and narrowly lost a third to Michael Jordan.
In 2018, LeBron James opened “Promise School” in Akron, Ohio where at-risk students have 8 hour days, a longer school year, and receive free meals, bikes, and tuition.
At the age of 20, NBA legend Karl Malone impregnated a 13-year-old girl. He refused to acknowledge his son and only spoke to him once, saying it was too late for them to have a relationship. The child went on to play in the NFL.