BONUS LESSON – The Characteristics of Basketball in Comparison to Other Sports

The welcoming character of Basketball

Nowadays the popularity of sports is higher than ever before, what brings enormous number of fans following their sport religiously. In majority of team sports in the UK, one of the main concerns while playing at the top level is the aggression from fans. Especially in football, Britain has a long history of dealing with fan related issues.

What separates basketball from those sports is the way it is marketed in the United States what then influences the rest of the basketball world. The main purpose of the marketing of the NBA throughout the years was to make sure that every single person can come to the basketball game and find something made especially for them, making it one of the most family oriented team sports in the world. From Kiss Cams to Kids Games, from cheerleaders to high-flying tranmpoline dunkers. Thanks to this marketing agenda basketball became a much more welcoming sport to everyone.

The SWAG

There is no other sport discipline which is associated with the global culture more than basketball.
Throughout the years basketball developed a clear synergy between the game and hip-hop music. The influence of the duo was put on the spotlight by the Afroamerican professional basketball players who represented their culture not only on but also off the court. Up until this day basketball is strongly associated with the culture of hip-hop, what clearly attracts more and more people to get interested in the sport. One of the first representatives of the hip-hop world of basketball was one of the best to ever play the game – Allen Iverson, well known for his characteristic cornrows, tattoos and the swag on and off the court.

Todays basketball is associated not only with music, but also with fashion. Top basketball players are usually not shy to express themselves through any possible channels. Many players create their own businesses and invest in variety of charity initiatives. Others are acting in movies or creating their own music. The fact that players are so much involved in extra activities is making basketball players one of the most likeable group of athletes.

The Icon of the NBA fashion – Allen Iverson (left) was the first player to dress in an extravagant way. Because of him the NBA developed an official player’s dress code. On the right, you can see how the spark initiated by Iverson evolved into today’s basketball – LeBron James showing off his fashion game.
LeBron James on the opening ceremony of the “I PROMISE school” he opened for kids from disadvantaged communities in his hometown, Akron.

The shoes, The sneakers, the kicks

Have you ever heard of Jordans? What about huarache’s? You must have heard of Air Force 1’s!
You would not be able to wear those sick sneakers if it wasn’t for basketball!
Michael Jordan, aka the GOAT, has made multiple times more money on selling his shoes than throughout his whole basketball career. Even despite hanging up his basketball kit for the third and final time in 2003, it seems Jordan still reigns supreme when it comes to the basketball shoe market with an estimated $193 million annually from Jordan Brand, making him the top earner among NBA player sneaker deals.
In todays basketball every good player has his own signature shoes, many of them being worn by people all around the world.

The AIR Jordan 1, the very first signature shoe from MJ, was officially banned by the NBA in 1985 due to the shoe giving a player an unfair advantage over other players. Obviously this decision put the shoe on the spotlight making it the most recognisable basketball shoe in the world.
Michael Jordan was accompanied by well known writer and director Spike Lee in his multiple ads with Nike, making it one of the most memorable shoe campaigns ever. On the left, you can see Kobe Bryant back in 2015 in the ad of the new colorway of his new signature shoes – Kobe X.

The Creativity of the sport

Basketball allows for more creativity than for example football or rugby because of the range of playing styles—there are so many areas of the game to personalise, like shooting form, ball-handling moves, defensive style, court vision, and more. For example, In baseball, the only real space to get creative is in swinging a bat. In football, you can’t customise much at all apart from dribbling skills and fancy passes, and hockey only really allows for skating and shooting in different ways.

While simplicity is often beautiful in itself, basketball’s strength lies in its difficulty of combining different physical abilities. In baseball, strength and speed are necessary for many plays, but skill is still by far the dominant trait, exemplified by back-to-back American League MVP Miguel Cabrera, who relies on hand-eye coordination for his remarkably impressive hitting, which is clearly his most valuable quality. In football, skill and speed are almost always necessary for big plays, but beyond speed, there’s not a whole lot of strength or power necessary, unlike in basketball.

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