The Longest NBA Game of Record

Baseball games tend to drag. When it’s the middle of June and your favorite team is already out of contention, it’s very hard to get psyched up for the sixth inning when the home team trails. Baseball games average 14 minutes of action, according to a 2010 study by the Wall Street Journal. Compare that number to the average length of a game, close to three hours, and you have a lot of time to kill at the ballpark. That’s the problem when you don’t have a clock (Picture every wannabe And1 baller you’ve played against on the playground and remember how long they would hold the ball).

In honor of Major League Baseball’s opening day, let’s celebrate the longest game in NBA history. Before the shot clock‘s inception in 1954 by the owner of the Syracuse Nationals, Danny Biasone, NBA games dragged. Players would hold the ball for minutes at a time to hold a lead and lull the crowd into a slumber. The opposing team can’t comeback if there’s no time on the clock. The longest game in history is an offender of such practice.

The Rochester Royals hosted the Indianapolis Olympians in a six-overtime game on January 6, 1951. The Olympians won this record game, 75-73. The score in those 6OTs? Indy, 10-8. The teams would score and then hold possession, hoping to kill the clock. Sounds fun, no?

The Indians would proceed to lose in the first round of the playoffs to the Minneapolis Lakers, led by George Mikan, while the Royals would defeat the New York Knicks in the finals. The Royals bounced around from Cincinnati to Kansas City-Omaha to just Kansas City before finding their current home in Sacramento in ’85. The Olympians folded in ’53, but the city regained an NBA team when the ABA’s Pacers joined the league in the ’76 merger.

Be thankful for the shot clock.

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