“FROM DOWNTOWN!!!!!” – A RANT ON BASKETBALL (THE EASIEST SPORT EVER)

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Sports. I was never good at them (unless you count California Games on the Master System, which I’m guessing you won’t), but I do like watching them. There’s something about an unpredictable few hours of entertainment in which a battle is played out between highly skilled and trained athletes to determine who is best.

Boiled down, all sports are stupid and pointless endeavors. They often involve governance of an inanimate object against opposing/unfavourable factors. A sign of how hard it is to overcome these factors is evidenced in the scoreline and points awarded. Football is a hard sport, physically grueling and score lines rarely exceed 4-4 (in fact that would be considered a goal-fest. 8 goals in a game. WOW.)

But take a moment to consider basketball. A game can finish with the score being 108-123. And that tells us one very important thing.

Basketball is clearly too easy.

108-123 score lines? That’s a LOT of points. Even if they were all scored with three point throws, that’s still 66 baskets or so a spectator has witnessed. Contrast this with football (proper football – e.g. Soccer). A game with 66 goals would be nauseating. An endless stream in which goals are so common as to be meaningless. How can there be any drama in a game with so many goals? Where’s the tension? Where is in fact, the sport?

And why are there so many goals? It’s because basketball hasn’t been properly thought out.

There’s a saying that to become an expert at something you have to put 10,000 hours of practice in. It doesn’t matter if I practiced for 100,000 hours, I’m never going to improve the one thing that will massively assist me as a basketball player – height. The average height of of an NBA player is 6’7″ (The shortest ever NBA player was 5’3″, the tallest 7’7″). It stands to reason that the taller you are the easier it is to score, and with score lines that reach hundreds of points, it’s clearly far too easy to score. Therefore basketball should do two things.

1) Have a handicapping system where teams compete in height divisions.

Now everyone can play basketball, and it’s no longer just a sport for people who have been blessed/cursed with freakish height.

2) Move the basket higher up (relative to the height of the team playing).

This means a slam dunk will become valuable again. Something important. Something you don’t see everyday. Something you’ll feel privileged to see.

And why stop there? Let’s consider the backboard. Y’know the bit the hoop hangs off, with the little painted rectangle above it to help players aim.

Help players aim?

They are scoring 100s of points a game, they don’t need any help! If anything that black box should be taken away, or better still replaced by a moving shelf, so players have to better time when to jump otherwise they’ll find the basket blocked. This will add more drama. Is there any other sport played professionally that has such a child-like guide to help a player? Golfers don’t have lines drawn towards golf holes. Footballer’s don’t have big neon signs above the goal saying ‘shoot here’ – so why in Zeus’s beard do basketball players need a guide box to aim for? They are professionals, aren’t they? They should be able to shoot hoops with eyes closed, without even needing a backboard.

Players are paid millions of dollars, make them earn it. Make the game harder, give it more drama. Goals/points should be meaningful. Each one celebrated like this, because this means something.

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