Although more than half of the people in the United States live in cities that have more than 500,000 people, only 15% of Major League Baseball players come from cities of at least that size. The vast majority of Major League Baseball players come from small towns and rural areas. This holds true for other North American sports leagues as well: only 29% of National Basketball Association (NBA) players come from cities that have more than 500,000 people, and almost 90% of Professional Golfer's Association (PGA) Tour players come from cities that have populations of less than 500,000 people. Several theories exist for this trend; some say it is because kids from small towns are less likely to be distracted by drugs and gangs and might get more personalized attention from coaches. Another theory is that kids from small towns get a chance to develop their skills in a lower-stress atmosphere.
More unusual sports facts:
- About 70 percent of professional athletes go through a divorce at some time in their lives.
- Female NBA referees are uncommon. The league had only one female referee during the 2011-2012 season, and only one other woman had ever been an NBA referee.
- It is estimated that about 10% of male high school athletes use steroids for performance enhancement. This does not take into account other legal performance enhancers, such as creatine, which has been associated with an increase in tendon ruptures and has not been studied for its long-term effects in people under 18.