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Rochester Royals played in an arena so small they’d end outside in the snow during fast breaks

Rochester Royals

It’s no big secret that basketball has evolved over the years. The rules, the strategies, and just about everything in between has changed over the years. Even the arenas are drastically different now.

Teams play in gigantic arenas built to hold upwards of 20,000 people with every luxury imaginable. The courts are pristine and the locker rooms are completely state-of-the-art facilities. But this wasn’t always the case.

In fact, the Rochester Royals of the National Basketball League and Basketball Association of America played in an arena so small that players regularly ran out the door into the brutal Rochester winters. According to a post by Redditor rake2204, an excerpt from the book, The Basketball Hall of Shame by Bruce Nash and Allan Zullo, alleges that players would regularly run through a door underneath the basket into snowdrifts.

The court was so tiny that players wouldn’t be able to stop their momentum from taking themselves out of the arena. This excerpt from the book explains the interesting court setup:

“In Rochester’s Edgerton Park Arena, players charging down the floor on a fast break had to be ready to stop on a dime. For those who couldn’t manage the tricky maneuver, the Royals had volunteers stationed out of bounds at both ends of the court. Their job was to open a door just beneath the basket. The overzealous players had to make a quick decision—smack head-on into the wall or take the open door.”

That’s a far cry from the luxurious courts and arenas of the NBA today. This sounds much more like something that would happen in a high school gymnasium rather than a professional game.