For All The Marbles

Following game six of the NBA Finals, Miami Heat star LeBron James said that game seven was “for all the marbles.” He meant that the next game would be the deciding game of the series and the winner would take home the NBA Championship.

I’ve always thought that was an odd phrase.  I mean, how many marbles are we talking about here? I want to win just as much as the next guy, but I also want to be prepared for just how many marbles I am going to have to lug around if I win.

For today’s Wonder Why Wednesday, even I am smart enough to guess that the phrase dates back to an old game of marbles. But why do we still use that phrase today?  Why not something more recent, like “for all the pogs” or “for all the Pokémon cards.”

Take a look at this fun history of marbles from

Apparently marbles began being mass produced in 1884 by Sam Dyke of Akron, Ohio.  Oddly enough, that is the same city LeBron James is from. Maybe that is why he likes to use the phrase so much.

I found the Mental Floss story interesting because, not only did the game of marbles give us the phrase “for all the marbles” but it also gave us other phrases and terms such as “knuckle down,” “fudging” & “playing for keeps.”  Oddly enough, the game of marbles appears to have nothing to do with the phrase “lose your marbles” which refers to going crazy.

Who knew that marbles have had such an affect on the slang terms we use today?  I guess the same can’t be said for pogs or Pokémon.

Here’s video of the LeBron James quote I referred to at the beginning of this post.

Thanks to Maggie Smith & for the photo used on the homepage.

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