The NBA has been in action 15 times on Leap Day. Monday will make 16.
In honor of the quirkiest 29th day of any month, here are 15 oddities you might not know about the NBA and Feb. 29.
- The first games played on Leap Day took place in 1948. The Chicago Stags beat Red Auerbach’s Washington Capitols while the Boston Celtics beat the Baltimore Bullets.
- There have been 4,051 players to appear in an NBA game. The odds of having a birthday on Leap Day are 1 in 1-in-1,461. Which means going strictly by the odds – and rounding off – you’d expect there to be three NBA players ever born on Leap Day. And that’s exactly how many there have been. Happy Birthday to Chucky Brown, John Chaney and Vonteego Cummings.
- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the most points in a game on Feb. 29 is 43 by Oscar Robertson in 1964 in a win over the 76ers.
- Robertson’s teammate with Cincinnati, Jerry Lucas, pulled down 40 rebounds in that same game. It’s the most rebounds any player has grabbed on Leap Day.
- Elias Sports Bureau research also tells us that John Stockton’s 19 assists on Leap Day in 1988 are the most dimes handed out.
- As with the Robertson-Lucas game, one of Stockton’s teammates went off in that same Leap Day game. Karl Malone went for 41 points, the third-most points ever scored on Feb. 29.
- Don Nelson and Lenny Wilkens are the two winningest coaches in NBA history. It’s no surprise then that Elias informs us that Nelson and Wilkens each have four wins on Leap Day, tied for the most by any head coach.
- As for players picking up wins, Ben Wallace walked off a winner four times, the most by any player.
- Michael Jordan only played once on Leap Day, a 102-101 loss to the 76ers in 1988 in which Jordan scored 35 points.
- The Magic are a perfect 3-0 on Feb. 29 and, according to Elias, the only team that’s perfect on this very special day.
- On the flipside, the Timberwolves are 0-5 on Leap Day, the worst record by any team.
- The most points any team has scored on Leap Day is 137, done three times: Dallas in 1996, Detroit in 1984 and Denver in 1980.
- There have been 98 total games played on Feb. 29.
- Over the past 30 years, only two players – Rajon Rondo in 2012 and Jason Kidd in 1996 – have recorded a triple-double on Leap Day.