Now I Know: Why Europeans Can't Score in Their Own Basket

Hi! A lot of new people subscribed to Now I Know over the last week. If you're one of them and want to know what's going on here, no worries! Click here for a quick rundown of what to expect. Or, just read the below, because it's a pretty typical "fun fact and the story behind it" that you'll get here each weekday. Enjoy! -- Dan

Why Europeans Can't Score in Their Own Basket

The rules of basketball, in their most basic sense, are simple: if you put the ball through the other team's hoop, you get two points (usually); and if they put the ball through yours, they get two points (again, usually). If you score more points than the other team, you win. Therefore, you want to put the ball through the other team's hoop as often as possible and prevent them from putting the ball through yours. 

You probably knew that already, though. So let's go a bit further. Imagine a situation with two teams, say, the red team and the blue team. A player on the red team shoots the ball toward the blue team's basket but it's not a very good shot -- it really has no chance of going in. However, a player on the blue team jumps up to block the shot and, in doing so, deflects it right into the hoop. In that case, even though the red team's player missed the shot and the blue team's player was the last to touch the ball, the red team gets two points. Basically, what matters is what hoop the ball went through, not how it got there.


Every year, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) sanctions EuroLeague, arguably Europe's top-tier basketball league. There are 18 teams in the league hailing from roughly a dozen different countries. The modern format echoes that of most other professional sports leagues: each team plays 34 games -- two against each of the other teams, one home, one away -- and the eight with the best win-loss record over that 34-game season advance to the playoffs. But that's a relatively new format for EuroLeague -- and one that only emerged after they tried a lot of other formats. And the format used for the 1961-1962 season created a little bit of chaos.

At the time, there were 24 teams in the league with five rounds of play. In each round, teams were paired off and played two games -- one at each team's home arena, to avoid any home-court advantage issues. That immediately created a problem, though; it was possible, if not likely, that some of these two-game series would end with each team winning one game and losing one game. No problem, the organizers decided: whichever team scored the most total points over the two games would advance. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything, it turned out. In the quarterfinals of that 1961-62 tournament, Real Madrid of Spain drew Italy's Ignis Varese, with Ignis Varese hosting the first game. Real Madrid broke out to an early lead but couldn't hold it. With only a few seconds left in the game, Ignis Varese tied it up, 80-80. This left the Real Madrid coach, Pedro Ferrandiz, in a predicament. His team was shorthanded -- one of his best players was injured and two others had committed enough fouls to disqualify them from the rest of the game. If the game went to overtime, Ferrandiz was concerned that his squad would be overrun by the Italian team. And that was a problem because the point differential mattered more than the victory itself. Ferrandiz realized that if he lost the game right then and there, 82-80, he'd only have to make up two points in the second game of the two-game series, and that seemed very doable: the second game would be in Spain and all three of his absent players would likely be able to play in that second game.  

So Ferrandiz did exactly that: he ended the game right then and there. With either two or seconds left, Ferrandiz called a timeout and, according to the official EuroLeague website, he told his team to score a basket for the other team. And they did just that: "After the timeout, guard Jose Luis inbounded the ball to Lorenzo Alocen. The Madrid center, with a clean and uncontested shot, gave Ignis the win, 82-80." 

The ploy worked. There was no rule against intentionally scoring against yourself at the time, so FIBA upheld the results of Ignis Varese's win. A few weeks later, the two teams met in Madrid and the results were what Ferrandiz had hoped for -- his team won, 83-62, giving them a 163-144 overall victory against the Italian hopefuls. They ended up making it all the way to the finals where they ultimately lost, 90-83, in a one-game round on a neutral court against a Soviet team. 

But it would never work again. Shortly after the first game, FIBA created a new rule, today listed as rule 16.2.3 (pdf summary here, see page 9), which reads: "If a player deliberately scores a field goal in his team’s basket, it is a violation and the goal does not count."

Now I Know is supported by readers like you. Please consider becoming a patron by supporting the project on Patreon. 

Click here to pledge your support. (If you do, in gratitude, you'll have an ad-free Now I Know experience going forward.)

Bonus fact: FIBA adopted the "EuroLeague" name before its 1996-1997 season and has used it ever since, with once exception: the 2000-2001 season was called the "FIBA SuproLeague." The reason? When FIBA switched to the EuroLeague name before 1996, they forgot to trademark the term, and another league popped up and used the name.  That league, run by Euroleague Basketball, won out. FIBA folded the SurpoLeague after one season, and the current league -- while not operated by FIBA -- uses FIBA's rules set.

From the Archives: Sometimes, To Win, You Have to Play to Lose: A similar story to today's main one, but in the world of soccer.
Like today's Now I Know? Share it with a friend -- just forward this email along.
And if someone forwarded this to you, consider signing up! Just click here.
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward
Archives · Privacy Policy

Copyright © 2023 Now I Know LLC, All rights reserved.
You opted in, at via a contest, giveaway, or the like -- or you wouldn't get this email.

Now I Know is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Some images above via Wikipedia.

Now I Know's mailing address is:
Now I Know LLC
P.O. Box 536
Mt. Kisco, NY 10549-9998

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your email address or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp

Key phrases

Older messages

Now I Know: Reintroducing the Random Button

Friday, May 26, 2023

And a lot of broken images, dead links, weird fonts, and other warts. View this email in your browser · Missed an issue? Click here! If you're new to Now I Know, you'll notice that today's

Now I Know: Tina Turner's Surprising Trademark

Thursday, May 25, 2023

What's love got to do with it? Not much View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives Right after college, on a lark, some friends of mine and I went to a Tina Turner concert,

Now I Know: The Fake Town That Became Real (Briefly)

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Welcome to Agloe, NY, a town which didn't exist until it did, and then didn't. View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives This is a re-run from 2014, and to be honest, I

Now I Know: The Convict Who Pulled an Inside Job

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

The title is vague as to not give away the ending View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives Apropos of nothing, the URL of the DOJ press release linked below suggests that the

Now I Know: How No Drinking Led to Speed Racing

Monday, May 22, 2023

Driving around in circles is kind of silly, but the origins were pragmatic View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives Hope you had a good weekend!-- Dan How No Drinking Led to

How to make new friends as an adult

Monday, December 11, 2023

Hi everyone, This is probably my favorite time of year, and I'm sad it feels like it's already almost over. The song Auld Lang Syne somehow captures the tension of both melancholy & hope of

Mini Announcement, The AI Alliance, Google's Gemini & Independence Mantra

Monday, December 11, 2023

Explore the groundbreaking AI Alliance, witness the unveiling of Google's Gemini and many other AI news, and embrace the power of independence 3-in-3 Mini Announcement, The AI Alliance,

•  Authors: Kindle Vella Promo Ads via Social Media •

Monday, December 11, 2023

Promote your Vella episodes. We want to help you get your VELLA series out on front of readers. Our VELLA SERIES PROMO Packages can get you there! VELLA SERIES PROMOTIONS by ContentMo We want to help

Fail, learn, repeat = Experimentation mantra

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Ready to take experimentation to the next level? Then is time to adopt the mindset of experimentation: fail, learn, repeat. Our new course Advance Experimentation Masterclass will teach you how to run

Food for Agile Thought #422: Human Misjudgment, Evaluating Product Managers, Fake Agile, Scaling Simplified

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Also: Strategy & Discovery, Indecisiveness, Tuckman, Just Hiring Talented People? ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Paperback • Shipwrecked and Rescued by  Larry Jorgensen • Over 50 historic photos included, memories, & details not known before.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Off the tip of the snow-covered Keweenaw Peninsula both the crew and the cars are saved... ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Transitioning to social impact careers: Bloom coach advice

Sunday, December 10, 2023

The Bloom Issue #149, Dec 10 ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

FTI #390: Two life-changing concepts

Sunday, December 10, 2023

​ ​ ​ The more you absorb these two concepts and act accordingly, the happier and more successful you'll become. Now, on to this week's ideas... *** The Starting Five 1. Get My Product-In-A-Day

Profits Are Proof of Service

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Every step toward the elimination of profit is progress on the way toward social disintegration. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

• Christmas Week Book Promo Ads for Authors & Publishers •

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Reserve a Spot Now to Get Seen During the Busiest Shopping Season of the Year! Book Your Spot in Our 7-Day Countdown to Christmas Book Promotion! Enable Images Christmas is Monday, December 25th •