Which was the longest game in National Basketball Association history?

Nowadays the preeminent professional basketball league in the world, the National Basketball Association (NBA) was founded on August 3, 1949, when the National Basketball League (NBL), established in 1937, and the Basketball Association of America (BAA), established in 1946, set aside their differences and finalised a merger. That merger coincided with the creation of the Indianapolis Olympians, a franchise that would last just four seasons but, in its brief existence, had the distinction of being one of the teams that played in the longest game in NBA history.

The other team to play in the historic contest at Edgerton Park Arena in Rochester, New York on January 6, 1951 was Rochester Royals, who, the following April, would win the NBA title for the first time, beating the New York Knicks in the finals. However, on this occasion, despite 6-foot 9-inch centre Arnold ‘Stilts’ Risen top-scoring with 26 points, the Royals would eventually suffer a 75-73 defeat by the Olympians.

For the uninitiated, barring overtime, a basketball game consists of four quarters, of ten minutes apiece. However, if the scores are tied at the end of regulation play, teams play multiple periods of overtime, each lasting five minutes each, until a result is decided. The Royals and the Olympians were tied 65-65 at the end of regulation and, in the absence of a ‘shot clock’, which did not become a feature of the NBA until three years later, needed six periods of overtime to settle the outcome. Much of the additional 30-minute period was uneventful, with the players content to run down the clock in the hope of making a last-gasp winning shot; after 78 minutes, Olympians power forward Bob Lavoy did just that, breaking away to score with a layup and win the game.

Post Navigation