22 statistics from sporting history that never fail to blow your mind

  • Kat Lucas

Sport is conspicuously absent from all of our lives right now. 

Likewise, so is its power to dazzle, shock and inspire. 

With that in mind, GIVEMESPORT have decided to celebrate some of the most extraordinary statistics from across the world of sport. 

Now, bear in mind these aren’t necessarily just records.

We’ve cherry-picked these stats on their ‘Googleability’. The moments from history you simply can’t believe are true. 

After ploughing through the history books from football, the NBA, the NFL, cricket, tennis, golf and athletics, here are 22 bits of head-scratching trivia that you’ll thank us for – when you’re eventually allowed to go to a pub quiz again, anyway. 

1. Lionel Messi broke the records for goals (91) and assists (30) in a calendar year, while also breaking the seasonal records

Breaking the calendar year record for goals OR assists would be pretty special, but doing both at once? It’s something only the magnificent Argentine could have managed. The year 2012 saw Messi at his very best. For the record, the previous holder of the most goals in a calendar year was Gerd Muller, who scored 85 for Bayern Munich and Germany in 1972. 

2. Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and Kumar Sangakkara all took exactly 195 innings to reach 10,000 Test runs

Reaching 10,000 Test runs in itself is a remarkable achievement that only 13 batsmen have managed. Alastair Cook was the fastest to 10,000 in terms of time, racing to the milestone in 10 years and 87 days. However, it’s almost eerie that three of the greats – Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar and Kumar Sangakkara all hit the magic number in exactly the same number of innings. 

3. Eliud Kipchoge’s sub-two-hour marathon

Eliud Kipchoge pushed the very boundaries of the human body last year when he became the first athlete to run a marathon in under two hours, beating the mark by 20 seconds. 

4. Jose Mourinho once went nine years without losing a home game

Whether you think the Portuguese’s best days are behind him or not, you can’t help but marvel at this extraordinary run which spanned his reigns at four different clubs – Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid – and lasted from 2002 until 2011. 

5. Tom Brady has more playoff wins by himself (27) than 28 NFL franchises do in their entire history

Brady made headlines recently when his phenomenal career with the New England Patriots came to an end. Even if he’s no longer the quarter-back he once was, the above record speaks for itself regarding why Tampa Bay Buccaneers were so keen to snap him up. 

6. Since 1982 Bayern Munich have had at least one player in the starting line-up in every World Cup final

Courtesy of Corentin Tolisso, the Bavarians upheld this record in 2018. When the run began in 1982, Bayern had three players in the final: Wolfgang Dremmler, Karl-Heinze Rummenigge, Paul Breitner. 

7. LeBron James is the only player in NBA history to record at least 34,000 points, 9,000 rebounds, and 9,000 assists

James surpassed the late, great Kobe Bryant into third in the all-time leading points scorers earlier this year. The fact he has reached his 34,000+ points alongside 9,000 assists and 9,000 rebounds just sums up the all-round game of the LA Lakers small forward. 

8. Don Bradman needed just four runs in his last innings to finish with a batting average of 100, but eventually ended with 99.94

It would have been fitting for the greatest of all time to hang up his bat with an average of 100. Instead, in a story that will forever raise a wry smile from the lips of the English, the Australian was out for a duck in his final innings, bowled second ball by Eric Hollies at the Oval. He had needed just four runs. Bradman also scored no fewer than 19 Ashes centuries.

9. Roger Federer has won three grand slam titles in three different years (2004, 2006 and 2007) and is the only player to do this in men’s singles history.

With over 1200 match wins and more than 100 titles, perhaps nothing should surprise us about the Swiss star. A true GOAT. 

10. Tiger Woods was the number one golfer in the world for 281 weeks in a row.

Only three players have even managed 100 weeks in top spot – Rory McIlroy being the latest. To catch Woods, the Northern Irishman would need to stay at the summit for another 11 years, two months and three weeks. Woods’ reign of supremacy was almost as astounding as his 2019 Masters win after an 11-year wait.

11. The Netherlands have competed in more World Cup finals than any other nation without winning one. 

What a dubious honour. Holland reached the showpiece occasion in 1974, 1978 and 2010 but tasted defeat each time. 

12. Only one German – Uli Stielike – has ever missed a penalty in a World Cup shootout. 

Ok, so maybe this won’t shock you at all. We all know Germans are very good at penalties, but just how good? Uli Stielike can probably never look his fellow countrymen in the eye. 

13. Pele won the World Cup when he was just 17 years, 249 days

What were you doing when you were 17? Kylian Mbappe’s World Cup triumph, aged 19, was impressive enough but Pele was dominating the world stage at an even more tender age in 1958, scoring twice in the final. 

14. In 143 years history of Test cricket, Imran Khan remains the only captain who declared the innings with his personal score in 90s.

The Pakistani president achieved cult status during his playing days and also showed his selflessness when he declared after tea on day four in a Test against Sri Lanka, just shy of his century, with his team leading by 153. 

15. Roy Hodgson is 127 days older than the Bernabéu

Roy Hodgson’s longevity in football is remarkable for many reasons, not least because the Crystal Palace manager, who was born on August 9, 1947, is actually around four months older than the iconic Real Madrid stadium. 

16. Brian Lara once scored 501 not out in 474 minutes

Most can recall his famous 400 not out against England (though his chasing that record resulted in a draw when the West Indies might otherwise have won). What’s less well-remembered is his remarkable innings in 1994 when he hit 501* for Warwickshire off just 427 balls. 

17. Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a single NBA game

Chamberlain’s famous feat came for the Philadelphia Warriors in a 169–147 win over the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962. Chamberlain is also one of only two players in basketball history – Kobe Bryant being the other – to score 50 points in a streak of four consecutive games.

18. Manchester United have had an Academy player in their matchday squad for every single game since 30 October 1937 against Fulham – over 4,000 games.

Mason Greenwood and Brandon Williams are the most recent graduates to break into the first team and it’s become a key part of Manchester United’s identity. 

19. Cristiano Ronaldo averaged 15 goals a season in Real Madrid’s four Champions League winning campaigns. The most goals scored by any other player in a single UCL campaign is 14. Ronaldo averaged more than everyone else’s highest mark over four winning seasons. 

We can debate his status as the Greatest of All Time until we’re blue in the face, but there is only one undisputed king of the Champions League. 

20. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has played for six teams who have won the Champions League but never won it himself

The beauty of a CV featuring both Milan clubs, Barcelona, Manchester United, Ajax and Juventus is that it normally guarantees at least one Champions League winners’ medal. Wrong, in this case. Zlatan’s glittering career is likely to end without the greatest club honour of all. 

21. Manchester United have never lost a Premier League game at Old Trafford after leading at half-time

Even in the most traumatic of post-Sir Alex times, United can still be relied upon to pick up the points if they’ve gone ahead at home. The Theatre of Dreams has never lost its magic. 

22. Athletic Bilbao have never been relegated despite only signing Basque players. 

Bilbao’s Basque identity is a crucial part of the heritage and while it’s naturally limited their search of players, they have never been relegated from the top flight of Spanish football. 

The world of sport might seem a distant memory right now, but that doesn’t mean we should forget the power of athletes to defy the odds and achieve things nobody would have thought possible.

News Now - Sport News