Yesterday, Major League Baseball kicked off the organization’s season with its annual Opening Day. In reading up on America’s favorite pastime, we were surprised to discover that Puerto Rico – where La Familia operates with five stores – is second only to the Dominican Republic in Latin American countries that have the most players in the MLB. Since we at La Familia are sports nuts and right now – with basketball, hockey and baseball all in-season, Orlando City Soccer revving up to get started next week, and the official announcement last month that the Solar Bears are returning to Orlando – is one of the best times of year to both watch and play sports, we were curious to see what other interesting cultural factoids we could uncover in the sports world. Below are some of our favorites:
- Canada has produced the most foreign-born players in the NBA for the 2011-2012 season, with 21 athletes hailing from the Great White North. Less surprising is that the majority of NHL players – more than 500, currently – also call Canada home.
- Although the Super Bowl is consistently the most-watched sports event in the United States, the single most-watched sports event of all time was the 2011 Cricket World Cup semi-final between India and Pakistan, which pulled in one billion viewers, more than twice as much as the actual final, which 400 million people watched. Who knew cricket was so popular?!
- Although soccer – or football, as it’s better known around the globe –boasts the most worldwide popularity of any sport, we are Americans aren’t that into it. And only a few other countries outside of the U.S. refer to the sport as “soccer”: Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
- Contrary to what’s been reported by those consumed with Linsanity over the past few months, Jeremy Lin is not the first Asian-American to play in the NBA. However, he is the first-ever Asian-American of Chinese or Taiwanese decent in the league.
- Boxing is one of the oldest sports still around. Ancient Sumerian and Egyptian drawings depicting fist-fighting contests go as far back as 3000 BC, and the sport was officially accepted as an Olympic game by the Greeks in 668 BC. In 1743, a man in England named Jack Broughton formalized the sport to incorporate many of the rules and equipment (such as gloves) that we see today. Also interesting to note: In 2004, ESPN named boxing the most difficult sport in the world.
- From 1952 until 1988, the USSR claimed all by two Olympic gold medals in ice hockey. The U.S. claimed the other two, in 1960 and 1980 (the “Miracle on Ice” year).