How Do NBA Players Know the Score? Explained

Some numbers tend to be the prime determinant of the growth of a particular event or experience. For NBA players, the numbers on the scoreboard will tell if their teams are winning or losing.

Still, you might wonder how NBA players know the score. Perhaps you see professional basketball athletes passing and shooting the ball that they don’t know their current standing in games.

Here, we’re going to talk about how NBA players track their progress in official matches. Further, we’ll discuss the proper way to view scoreboards and how NBA players look at scoreboards throughout history.

NBA players know score

NBA players keep track of their scores the same way basketball enthusiasts do – look at the scoreboard. These professional basketball athletes glance at the scoreboard whenever they can.

For example, a player shoots the ball and gains points for their team. At this time, the players have a few seconds to prepare for the next play, which also gives them a few seconds to look up at the scoreboard.

Also, some basketball courts have LED strips by the edges of the court. Aside from showing advertisements from popular brands, these colorful lights may also display the current scores of each team. Some players may find it easier to glance at these strips during matches than looking up at hanging scoreboards.

What are the Labels on an NBA Scoreboard?

At a minimum, the standard basketball scoreboard should contain the following data:

Furthermore, the last minute of each quarter will show up as tenths of a second. This type of display has been a requirement for the NBA since 1989.

In some cases, scoreboards can show more or less information than the standard model. For example, certain scoreboards will only show the names of the two teams and their accumulated scores. On the other hand, sophisticated models may show more information like shot clocks.

How Did Sports Leagues Show Scores Throughout History?

Various sports associations, particularly the NBA, use different versions of scoreboards for generations. Since the beginning of the 20th century, these displays went from the traditional chalkboards to intricate digital behemoths.

Here’s a look at some of the different scoreboards that changed throughout the years.

Scoreboards in the 19th Century

According to one article, the earliest mention of scoreboards was from an old New York Times publication from November 1984. It was when Penn, or the University of Pennsylvania, had a 12-0 win against Princeton that transpired at the Trenton Fairgrounds.

However, many debate over who unveiled the first scoreboard as two Ivy League schools vie for this title. Harvard says that its athletic association revealed the first scoreboard in the US during an 1893 Thanksgiving Day football game. Conversely, Penn said they were the first to unveil the first scoreboard in 1895 at Franklin Field.

Scoreboards in the Early 20th Century

George A. Baird, a Chicago inventor, developed the first electric scoreboard for baseball in 1908. His invention tracked balls, outs, and strikes.

Baird’s invention found its way to two Boston major league clubs. However, this particular scoreboard wasn’t able to quickly catch the attention of the rest of the league.

Some team owners were still quite hesitant to purchase the technology back then. It was in fear of cutting scorecard sales. But, buyers would soon see the convenience of electronically displaying numbers with buttons and dials than using ladders to manually place scorecards.

The succeeding years have been fruitful for this preliminary invention as updated models surfaced carrying and displaying more information than before. Player names and lineups were soon viewable by the masses, along with pitchers’ numbers for different games across the professional baseball league.

Scoreboards in the 1930s

Baird’s scoreboard invention could display data electronically and would continue to catch the interests of different courts and stadiums across the nation. However, in 1932, it still required an operator to work the machine manually. That individual should always keep a close eye on the game, lest he or she makes a mistake in displaying the wrong information.

This particular scoreboard has a name called “Dial-a-Down.” Although the idea was sound, the implementation still had some rough edges to iron out. In particular, the need for a person to handle the scoreboard may create problems as it paves the way for human error. Furthermore, it restricted the individual from taking emergency bathroom breaks.

Scoreboards in the 1980s

During a 1980 All-Star Game, the Los Angeles Dodgers unveiled an 875-square foot video board. This display enabled the stadium to showcase highlights and replays saved by a VCR. It was also the first video scoreboard of its kind, which only meant that other sports associations would follow suit over time.

These particular scoreboards not only showed important highlights but also displayed animations to hype up crowds. For example, if a player scores, the scoreboard transforms into a giant screen that showed colorful mascots cheering.

Since then, the NFL and NBA began implementing variations of this video scoreboard. This evolution even leads to the manifestation of the world’s largest HD LED video display in 2009. The massive score-tracking screen developed by Mitsubishi is in the Dallas Cowboy’s home stadium.

Final Words

NBA players and other athletes of various professional sports leagues keep track of their scores by simply looking at the scoreboard.

The points seen on the display can motivate a player to push harder than usual for their teams to take home the coveted grand prize. If the team’s score is lower than their opponents’ points, players may need to create different strategies to outwit opposing participants. Conversely, if a team had a higher score, morale gains a much-needed boost. However, the winning team would still need to devise plans to ensure their victory.

Athletes throughout history glance at scores with different scoreboards throughout generations. These updates allowed games to continuously become more enjoyable as both players and fans enjoy the sports they come to know and love.

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