“Basketball doesn’t build character, it reveals it.”
It’s what the inventor of basketball James Naismith said after he realized he invented the best sport in the world.
Little did he know that the basketball popularity and the meaning it has for the people around the world will reach unprecedented heights. Little did he know that so many characters would be revealed.
Those who already love basketball know that all these things I’m going to talk about are actually true. This article is a reminder to them. And for the beginners, let this be an introduction to a beautiful basketball journey.
Here are the 27 legit reasons why basketball is the best sport in the world. Let’s go.
1. Streetball is the Part of the American Culture
Until the 1980s, most of the NBA draft prospects came from the streets. The New York and L.A. playgrounds, starting with Harlem, gave us so many great NBA players who became stars despite their difficult childhood, problematic family and corrupt society.
Living in poor neighborhoods where they sometimes needed to beg for food, the streetball was their way out of problems and all the bad things that were happening on the streets.
They only had two options: to start selling drugs or to start taking basketball seriously to go „from hood to Hollywood.“
Some of them, like Earl The Goat Manigault, didn’t make it, but they are still legends. And the real streetball may be gone, but be sure it will live forever, written in the history books of the NBA.
2. You Don’t Need Money to Play Basketball
Almost every popular sport require a lot of different equipment just to start practicing. To play basketball, you just need a hoop (or two) and a basketball. And that’s it!
Yes, there are special basketball shoes, jerseys, knee and arm sleeves, braces, etc., but to shoot some hoops or play a game of pick up basketball those two things are enough. You could spend less than twenty dollars on a basketball and be ready.
You’ll easily find a basketball hoop in the park or by the school, and if you want to play in your driveway – DIY basketball hoop is always an option. Another great inexpensive option is a portable basketball hoop, as well as the one that mounts on a garage.
3. Teamwork and the Individual Matter Equally
Whether you’re playing 3 on 3, or 5 on 5, teamwork is usually considered most needed for team’s long-term and highest success.
And that is absolutely justifiable looking at the history of the NBA and NCAA, as well as experiencing it on the playgrounds around your neighborhood or city.
But as you can also see for yourself, there are always some individuals that eventually prevail. Think about MJ, Kobe, Magic or Bird. They had great teams, nobody can’t deny it, but they were the ones who made all their titles come true.
In basketball, every player matters. All players can make a huge impact. Just think about Robert Horry, his seven titles, and all the important shots he took.
4. Does Wonders for Physical Condition and Health
Basketball makes you run, jump, change directions, and fight in the paint. Running consists of light running and short distance sprints.
It means you’re building leg muscles more, unlike the usual long-distance running. Jumping is also a leg builder, and it can do pretty good for buttock and thighs. Changing directions has a lot with the human mind, and sometimes it can do wonders for focus.
When I think about it now, the changing directions exercise could be a good exercise for ones suffering from ADHD.
And finally, fighting in the paint. If you’re a big man, you know what I’m talking about. It takes a lot of force to fight 250-pound monsters, and that itself is exhausting enough.
5. You can Enjoy it Alone for Hours
No other sport is more interesting than basketball when playing alone. You don’t need anyone to shoot some hoops. Sometimes nobody wants to play pick up; everybody’s too lazy. But that shouldn’t stop you from fulfilling the need for this particular activity.
Come alone, set the number of shots you’ll take, and go home. If you’re already at home, get yourself one of those basketball returning nets so that the ball comes back straight to you after the shot.
You can place the chairs on the court, dribble around it and practice for the game.
6. Player’s Faces are Visible to the Crowd
Unlike football or baseball, basketball offers a complete package regarding emotionally living the game. The player’s faces aren’t covered so you can see their facial expression.
And to see the facial expression of players means to see what they feel in a given moment. And when the spectator sees what a player feels, he starts to connect with a player.
He begins to feel what the player feels; he starts to share it with others, which eventually can get the crowd going.
Because when you have 20 thousand people off the court, and ten players who don’t wear any masks or helmets on the court and that kind of connection happens, it cumulates incredible energy.
7. Cheering is Waaay More Intense Indoors
If you don’t like noise, that’s ok. But if you’re a fan of good old sports cheering and screaming, you’re going to love this game.
Ever since Wilt Chamberlain came into the league and popularized basketball, people are massively coming to basketball games. With so many people in a crowd, it’s logical to assume that the cheering would be loud. The arenas back in ’60s were much smaller, so the cheering was much louder.
Today the arenas got bigger, and the noise is much more acceptable. It’s loud enough to feel the atmosphere better than in baseball, but not too loud to make your eyes bleed. For that – you will need to go to Europe. The craziest basketball fans in the world come from there.
8. Basketball is Always Improving
That’s right. Now and then, as the times require, basketball organizations are setting new rules, instructions for players and referees, electronics to help with in-game decisions, court dimension changes, etc. to make basketball more interesting.
Extending the 3-point line and introducing the shot clock (follow the link to read more about it) was a big enough step to make it the best sport in the world. When looking at some other sports, we just can’t see the same desire to please the spectators.
For example, soccer still has trouble with introducing instant replays on decisions from the referees. When looking at the NFL’s overtime system, coin tossing favors one team, which just isn’t fair.
Basketball adjusts to the players and the viewers and that’s why its popularity grows with the times.
Is there anybody in this world that doesn’t like to see a dunk in a game? I think there isn’t.
After they allowed dunking in the NBA in ’70s, the league popularity blow up. Dr. J, Dominique Wilkins, and Larry Nance, before MJ and the one and the only – Vince Carter, maybe the best dunker of all time. Later came Blake Griffin and the best dunkers today – Zach Lavine and Aaron Gordon.
But to be truthful, dunking contest isn’t what it was before when the best players were in it. Today, big money’s on the table, the teams and sponsors are afraid of injuries, so they advise the players not to participate.
Luckily, we have enough of it on YouTube. Check out one of the best dunkers today – Jordan Kilganon, and tell me this isn’t crazy.
10. Luck has Little to do with Winning
If you’ve ever played pick up basketball, and I’m sure you have, you must’ve won a few games just by shooting treys. And after some games, the opposing players would state that it was a lucky game, lucky shots, etc. And sometimes it really was.
But see, you had to make that shots. It wasn’t one lucky shot like they have in soccer. It was the consecutive number of shots that made you win the game.
Keep in mind that it doesn’t mean that luck has nothing to do with winning because we see all kinds of game-winners and last-second shots every few games. It just means that in basketball, luck is playing a much smaller role than in some other sports.
11. Basketball Never Stops
Fans know that there’s always some action if they’re looking to fulfill their need for a drug called basketball.
Starting from the end of October and beginning of November, when the NBA and NCAA show gets going, almost every day you’ll find good games you can watch. After the NCAA season, there’s March Madness, and after the NBA season, there are NBA playoffs.
Then comes summer when there are summer leagues all around the States and a chance for young blood to make a point. After that, there’s warming up for real games with NBA pre-season.
Outside America, except for national leagues and Euroleague, during the summer you can find the traditional world tournament or the Olympics every four years.
12. The Climate Conditions in Gym Stay the Same
Well, except you’re having a broken air-conditioning system as San Antonio Spurs did in their AT&T Arena in 2014 playoffs. But in most cases, you won’t depend on climate conditions to play or watch a decent basketball game.
This is just one of the reasons why it surely is the best sport in the world. Even if it’s raining, snowing, or the wind is so strong you can feel it in your bones, basketball will always be there.
Yes, the weather can bother you when you’re trying to shot some hoops in your backyard, but since you don’t need much space for a hoop, it’s easy to take care of it just by installing a metal construction with a secure cover.
13. Every Minute Counts
It surely does. The first quarter is always the indicator of the direction the game is going to take.
The end of the second quarter marks the end of the whole halftime, so the score is important for lockerroom atmosphere and player’s mindset.
The third quarter sometimes changes everything, and the locker room talk can sometimes yield exceptional results. We’ve seen teams being ten points behind going to +15 in the third quarter.
And finally, the 4th quarter. For winning the most important quarter of all, the team needs to be at its best. Some basketball players can handle pressure; some don’t. But one thing is sure – 4th-quarter heroes will be remembered for all times.
14. Positions are Not a Limiting Factor
In basketball, every player, no matter what position he’s playing, gets to run, jump, dribble, shoot and pass.
The basketball team on the court initially consists of five players that play five positions: center, power forward, small forward, shooting guard, and point guard (playmaker).
But in basketball, positions often mean just where the players will stand at the beginning of every play.
We’ll often see how most versatile players like Lebron or Antetokounmpo play every position needed at a given moment.
The game has changed in the last few years, and there are indications that the positions in basketball are someday going to die. Fast plays, players running the floor and shooting threes – it looks like future.
15. You can Learn Basketball Fundamentals in Days
I assure you, it’s possible. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to hold the basketball, how to run bouncing it off the floor in the same time, or that you don’t have enough of coordination for playing basketball.
Those are all excuses, and the truth is, basketball is so much easier to learn than some other sports. That, of course, doesn’t make it easy, but it’s easy enough to get you going and tease you to learn more about it.
You just need a friend or a coach who has enough patience to get you through the first few days. Yes, even a friend can teach you, it’s that easy. So don’t hesitate, read outdoorbball.com and love this game.
16. Rules are Not Complicated at All
Of course, they’re not! If you’re hesitating with introducing your youngest to basketball, don’t. Some kids almost know basketball rules even before they start talking.
When you look at it, there’s not much to learn. Just don’t cross the lines, don’t stop with a dribble (if you do then shoot or pass), don’t grab opposite player too hard (if you do, don’t do it often because of fouls), and make the basket.
You learn other stuff through playing and watching games and practice. Almost anybody can play this game and enjoy it, no matter how smart they are.
That’s why basketball is awesome. And if you’re afraid of trying new things, just remember: nobody is born with all the skills and knowledge of this world, so why not give it a try.
17. Basketball Players are Beasts
One of the reasons why basketball is the best sport is that the basketball players excel in many different physical tests that include vertical jump, sprint, agility, bench press and squat.
They need to play more than 80 games per season which require a ton of commitment and body care. Also, every other night they need to battle with other beasts on the court that train as hard or even more as themselves.
To have a longlasting career, a basketball player should include gym work and condition training. With time, depending on the genetics, those basketball players who do put in work often become what we call beasts.
18. Good Basketball is Played all Over the World
In the last 20 years, basketball took a strong leap forward. After the first Europeans broke the ice in the NBA at the end of ’80s, the basketball world started to change.
But the things really started to move forward with the invention of YouTube. The world became a global village. It became unimportant where you live; everyone could show off their skills.
For years, China was getting richer, and the team owners over there were getting wealthier. They slowly started to bring the American basketball players over there, and now they have a league that’s not bad at all.
Argentina, Brazil, Australia, all of them along with almost whole Europe play good basketball. Could you say the same for football?
19. Teams Around the World Exchange Players
If you’re an elite basketball scout, you’re destined to peek at every corner of the world to find the player who has the potential to become a superstar.
That potential is usually hidden in unknown players, and sometimes it’s hard to get it out. So the basketball teams send those players in lower rank competitions for them to harden up and prepare for highest competitions.
For example, NBA teams are sending younger players to D-League or Europe, mostly to Italy, Spain, or Russia. It’s a two-way pleasure if the player comes back stronger and along with that makes an impact on the team he was sent to.
20. The NBA is an Awesome Association
Do you know what’s cool about the NBA? They never forget what you did for them.
Think about all the retired players that are now coaches, commentators, scouts, hosts in NBA TV shows, etc. They are all taken care of by the NBA.
One thing that all those players have in common is that they all respected the rules the NBA has set. And the NBA is always setting some rules, but it’s all just to make things more professional and to give more pleasure to the audience.
The NBA will fine players with 10 thousand bucks for a single word they said, and it may seem much, but knowing how much they earn it’s not much. All those rules are exactly why they earn so much because the NBA wants „nothing less but everything best“ if you catch my poetry.
21. You Just Need an Even Number of Players
Call your friends and go play pick up basketball! The 1 on 1 can be a bit boring, but it’s a great shooting and dribble practice, as well as exercise for transition offense if you ever play 5 on 5.
The 2 on 2 is a bit more teamy, but still consists mostly of individual plays with pick’n’roll and pick’n’pop action to practice.
The 3 on 3 is the best pick up basketball number to play with because it gives you the possibility to rest on defense, cooperate with teammates and still leaves you enough room to do what you’re skilled to do.
Head to the park on a sunny day and shoot some hoops, you’ll feel much better.
22. Basketball is the Sports Everyone Can Play
Even your grandma, depending on her volition. Seriously, anybody can learn the fundamentals. There’s not much to it.
There was this one old guy in my neighborhood who started playing basketball in his 50’s, and by the time he got to 60 years old, he was almost dunking. He was not very tall (about 6’1”), so that must be one of the best progress I have ever seen.
If you’re willing to shoot some hoops and enjoy quality time with your favorite ones then it’s not important how old you are, or in what physical condition you are (do you know about wheelchair basketball?).
Grandpa and grandson, brother and sister, father and son. Isn’t it wonderful to see them playing basketball and hanging in a park?
23. The Excitement is Off the Roof with Basketball
Unpredictable trades, injuries that change the whole perspective of the franchise, buzzer-beaters, crazy personalities, blowouts, ankle breakers, you name it. (We’ll talk about dunking later).
And what about those long-distance treys and sneaky basketball tactics and strategies for the playoffs or 4th quarters? Everything about basketball can get you hyped up. I think only the Superbowl can match the amount of the excitement basketball provides.
If you’ve ever watched a basketball game in Europe, you must know how good is the atmosphere the home crowd usually makes. Those are crazy people in stands, but also the people who love basketball more than anything in this world, no matter how their team stands at a given moment.
24. Post-Season Tournament System is Most Fun to Watch
We are starting from the March Madness that earned its reputation through the years. With profiling and promoting the best college basketball players, tv rights and non-tv earnings exploded in the last few years.
European Euroleague offers a special kind of excitement as the 2nd best league in the world, where action may be slower, but the strategy game is on a higher level (even when talking about THE NBA).
And finally, the NBA playoffs, as at the end of an April, all eyes are on world’s best basketball players. Millions of fans remember the legendary Celtics – Lakers rivalry, Jordan’s Bulls, Kobe & Shaq, to Spurs who are always there and new-era Warriors. It’s always some special vibe around the playoffs.
25. Basketball Camps are Widely Spread
Even if you never thought you’d be interested in basketball, you must’ve heard that some kids go to basketball camp for a few weeks in summer.
There are thousands of basketball camps in the USA today, and many of them are really top notch. Even the cheaper camps have much to offer.
Most of them recruit all ages and teach all positions with the accent on the fundamentals in younger ages, to more advanced stuff in teen years.
26. The All-Star Weekend(s)
Almost every league in the world right now has its all-star weekend. Of course, it all started with the NBA.
Over the years, many high-level NBA players profiled through The All-Star Weekend, and those who didn’t at least got a chance to show us something they can do but can’t show it in a game.
Except for the All-Star game, where this year we saw the teams that Lebron and Curry chose, there is also the USA-WORLD game where rookies and sophomores from the USA play against European players with the same experience.
To name the contests that are deeply rooted in The All-Star Weekend, there is also the 3pt contest that will prove who’s the best long-range shooter in the NBA, and the dunk contest that will revile who has the most creativity and athleticism in the league.
27. Best Players Always Play
Sometimes in sports, players use an injury as an excuse not to play unimportant games at the end of a season. In the USA basketball, it became a matter of principle; to play even though you could use a rest day and you don’t even statistically need that win for anything.
We call that the respect towards the fans. Many hardworking dads work their ass off for game tickets and decide to take son to a game and the stars ain’t even there. Just because of this reason, the NBA decided to fine the team owners every for resting stars.
The association is setting up high standards for other leagues when talking about the care for fans.
There you have it. 27 legit reasons why basketball is the best sport in the world. By the way, this is a living article. I will add more to this list with time. If you notice something missing from the list that you think really should be here, please share it in the comments. My goal is to eventually make this list exhaustive of every reason why basketball is the best sport in the world.