The following is a list of the eight reasons why I think basketball is the best sport. Not just the best sport to watch, not just the best sport to play, but rather wholly, the best sport.
1. Basketball is far and away the easiest team sport to play with friends. I can count on one hand how many times I have played unorganized baseball games. Finding a group of guys to play football is easier than baseball however, the actual game is a mere shadow of the version of football played in the NFL. What about hockey and soccer you say? Your only chance of finding pickup hockey or soccer games is if you live in Toronto or Europe, respectively.
2. Basketball players are accessible. Whether its high school, college, or pro if you are sitting within the first 15 or 20 rows you can read the players body language and often hear what they are talking about. Basketball players also don’t wear helmets or facemasks like they do in football, baseball, and hockey. The only difference between the Dee Brown I saw on the court and the Dee Brown at Gulley’s was a pair of jeans and a white t-shirt.
3. Basketball is by far the best sport to play by yourself. The only sport that put up any fight is soccer but again “it’s soccer Greg.” You can train for hockey, football, and baseball but in basketball not only can you train but you can also shoot hoops, the main goal of the sport of basketball. And you know what? I can shoot hoops for hours and never get bored. It’s the best
4. Basketball has a better atmosphere at every level. I have been fortunate enough to attend one of the best high school football games in a long time (Joliet Catholic vs Riverside Brookfield) and one of the best high school basketball games in recent memory (#1 Crane with Sherron Collins vs #2 Marshall with Pat Beverley). And you know what, the atmospheres weren’t even close. Watching Collins and Beverley battle for two hours on a cold December night was one of the greatest experiences of my sporting life.
I have been to #1 Wake Forest vs #3 Illinois and to the Notre Dame vs USC “Bush push” game. On paper the USC vs ND game had tons more going for it, hated rivals, new coach, “team of the century”, Heisman winners and you know what, the intensity of the crowd was infantile compared to Assembly Hall. Basketball games flow; they don’t go three plays, punt, timeout. The energy the crowd provides players is real and climaxes when a player hits a three point player to cap off a 10-0 run. Coaches in basketball have to call timeouts because of crowd noise and atmosphere.
5. Basketball, unlike football and baseball, doesn’t have old farts complaining tradition and legacy. Basketball over the last 30 years has done the following; instant replay, three point shot, extended the three point shot, 24 second shot clock, changed the court length and width, etc. Baseball just this year added instant replay on home run debates and the NFL still has sudden death overtime that is inherently biased towards the team that wins a coin flip.
6. Basketball players are physical specimens. I could most likely run better 100 yard dash and mile times than 25% of NFL and MLB players where as I could say that about maybe 3% of the NBA. Now comes soccer and hockey, yes these guys are probably in as good of shape and even possibly better than the average NBA player but you know what? The guys that play soccer and hockey are no different size wise than my friends. I want my athletes to be larger than life. I want them to be dominating monsters who we know could destroy us, and we are totally cool with that. NBA players walk into a bar and instantly recognized by everyone there and you know why? Because they are towering over everyone else. The best soccer player in the world is a guy named Lionel Messi and he is 5’ 8’’, the best basketball player? Try Lebron James, 6’8’’.
7. Basketball has by far the best post season tournaments. From the Chicago Public Championship, to March Madness, to the NBA playoffs, basketball’s post season tournaments are the best. College football’s championship game is determined by computer and humans, much like ice skating. Home field advantage in baseball is determined by an exhibition game. Soccer might put up a fight except that there are so many tournaments I have no idea which is most important (world cup, UEFA, Euro cup, premiership). The Super Bowl is sweet but when the commercials are usually better than the games something is wrong. Hockey might come close but when the Frozen Four is on ESPN2 the debate is over.
8. Basketball contains the least amount of luck. In a typical football game each team will possess the ball anywhere from ten to twelve times a game. In a typical basketball game each team possess the ball 60 to 100 times a game. Thus allowing for the better team to assert its dominance over the course of a game where as in football a couple of outliers can determine the outcome of a game. Baseball however, blows away football in terms of luck. Bloop hits, bad bounces, and wind, just to name a few, can cause outcomes of games to change drastically. I won’t even go into soccer or hockey where a team can have 10 or 20 more shots on goal and lose. Basketball is the only sport where for the most part, the better team wins.
In conclusion, I’m not saying basketball is perfect or that it’s better than every other sport in every way. Hardly, basketball sucks to gamble on, the NBA season is a little long, and college basketball is riddled with cheaters, but at the end of day when compared to every sport, basketball is king. And if I didn’t convince by now, these videos will put any lingering doubts you have to rest.