30+ Amazing Pickleball Facts, Trivia, and Milestones

Est. Reading: 4 minutes

You may have heard that pickleball is America’s fastest-growing sport and is continuously spreading across the globe. Despite being invented in an old badminton court in the summer of 1965, this relatively new sport has attracted players from all walks of life. Some people compare pickleball to tennis and badminton, as the sport's growth continues to become unstoppable.

Thanks to its unique characteristics and ease of play, pickleball is also becoming a valuable investment. Believe it or not, famous players from different sports, such as basketball and tennis, have already invested in professional pickleball teams.

Well, that's just a single fact about the sport. Here's another 30:

  • Pickleball was invented by three dads - Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum on Bainbridge Island in Washington state. After Joel and Bill played golf, they went to Joel's place and noticed that families were getting bored. They tried to play badminton but couldn’t find the rackets. Solution? They improvised, with Barney later joining them to create the rules.
  • Pickleball is the only racket sport with a non-volley zone, which is also called the kitchen.
  • As a dedication to the sport’s rich history, the Pickleball Museum was built on Bainbridge Island.
  • The National Pickleball Day started in 2021 and is celebrated every August 8th.
  • To honor the great players of the sport, the Pickleball Hall of Fame (PHOF) was established in 2017.
  • Barney McCallum invented the first pickleball paddle, which he created by shaping plywood using a hand saw. It was called the McCallum 1 paddle.
  • The first pickleball ball is a Wiffle ball. But because it was not durable enough to handle the whacking, it was eventually replaced by a Cosom Fun ball.
  • The first pickleball court was constructed in the backyard of Bob O’Brian, a friend and neighbor of Joel Pritchard.
  • Pickle-Ball, Inc. was the first company to manufacture and market wooden pickleball paddles.
  • The very first pickleball tournament was held in 1976 at South Center Athletic Club in Tukwila, Washington. David Lester won the grand prize, and Steve Paranto was the second placer.
  • The first composite pickleball paddle was invented in 1984 by Arlen Paranto, a Boeing engineer. Instead of heavy plywood, it was made of honeycomb fiberglass from a discarded airplane floor paneling.
  • The first pickleball rule book was published in March 1984 by the United States Amateur Pickleball Association (USAPA), now the USA Pickleball (USAP).
  • Prolite is the first company to manufacture and sell composite pickleball paddles. It was established by Arlen and his son, Steve Paranto. At that time, the younger Paranto realized that wooden paddles were too heavy.
  • By 1990, pickleball was already played in every US state.
  • The first pickleball website, Pickleball Stuff, was launched in 1999.
  • For the first time in 2001, pickleball was introduced in the Arizona Senior Olympics and attracted 100 players that time.
  • In 2008, pickleball was included at the National Senior Games Association (NSGA) for the first time. It was held throughout the United States.
  • In 2019, pickleball became a professional sport with the formation of two independent tours - the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) and the Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP).
  • In 2021, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) declared pickleball as the fastest-growing sport in the country.
  • Identical twin brothers Angelo A. Rossetti and Ettore Rossetti hold the Guinness World Records title of playing the world’s longest pickleball rally. The event took place on October 10, 2021, in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, and lasted for 6 hours and 11 minutes, with an insane 16,046 consecutive shots!
  • In 2022, tennis star Naomi Osaka, NBA superstar Lebron James, along with Kevin Durant and some other NBA players became the newest owners of a professional pickleball team via the Major League Pickleball (MLP).
  • In the same year, over 8.9 million people played pickleball across the US. According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), this is more than twice the 4.8 million people who played in 2021!
  • The global pickleball paddle market was estimated at $163.48 million in 2022 and is estimated to reach $347.02 million in 2028.
  • In July 2023, Canadian rap superstar Drake and Hollywood actor Michael B. Jordan invested in the Brooklyn Aces team, which competes in the MLP.
  • The Minto US Open Pickleball Championships is the world’s largest pickleball tournament. This prestigious event is held annually in Naples, Florida every April. In 2023, over 3,000 players competed, and 40,000 people watched!
  • The 2023 Biofreeze USA Pickleball National Championships is dubbed the world’s largest pickleball tournament. This very prestigious event was held from November 6 to 12, 2023, and nearly 3,500 amateur and professional players participated.
  • As of December 2023, pickleball is being played in more than 85 countries around the world.
  • The world's first pickleball stadium will rise in 2024. This state-of-the-art facility will be in Fort Lauderdale and will feature 43 professional pickleball courts. So far, 14 of them will have a roof to allow matches regardless of the weather.
  • In September 2023, USA Pickleball added the Quiet Category as a step forward to help reduce noise in courts.
  • In November 2023, Owl Sports launched Owl Paddle, the first quiet pickleball paddle certified by USA Pickleball.
  • On January 2, 2024, USA Pickleball appointed Pickleball Hall of Fame Inductee Steve Wong as Vice President of Competition.
  • On January 19, 2024, Major League Pickleball (MLP) events were added to the 2024 Miami Open. This is the first time that pickleball tournaments are included in a professional tennis event.

In the meantime, if you’ve just started playing pickleball, we have a growing list of Playing Tips for Beginners. We also have a complete list of pickleball terms and definitions.

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