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Love is basketball

To love a game, one must not only enjoy the burning yearning for it, he must also show it to others. When a person loves something so much that he can't live without it, when this something becomes a thing which a person waits for every day, that is the true definition of somebody who is more that a fan, an admirer. When a person believes in the sport to the point that it becomes a religion, then this guy really loves the sport. One of the sports than can drive a person crazy, that can give a goal, a target or something to live for in this life is basketball.

Millions of people today enjoy basketball and even invest great hopes in the form of money into it. In America, basketball attracts millions of fans from about December up until June – the length of the basketball season. Basketball, first of all, has to be considered an entertainment, which is becoming more and more popular these days, and, secondly, a sport played by lots of people. It has already spread from the countries of North America to those of Europe and beyond. The National Basketball Association pays its players multi-million-dollar contracts over a course of a couple of years. Of course, the size of the contract depends on the size of one's skills, therefore the better you are, the more attention you gain from media, audience, and influential people, the bigger salary you will receive. In my opinion, basketball is the sport in which the biggest amount of money circulates. Actually, the whole game of basketball can be divided into two or even three domains: 1) The National Basketball Association or the N.B.A. 2) Street Ball and, 3) Freestyle.

The N.B.A. is a professional basketball league, which holds the best basketball players of the world. It compiles 32 teams that battle their way to the championship. It is sufficient to say that the N.B.A. is the most prestigious place to play basketball at today. One of the motivations to play in the pro league is, of course, money and worldwide recognition.

Getting into the N.B.A. is not an easy task; on the contrary it is super tough. Only the best players make it. More and more often these days we see young people, straight out of high school, getting accepted by the N.B.A. You have to have an enormous amount of skill to get into the N.B.A., that's why you have to keep on practicing, improving your game.

Any basketball player on the street is called Street Basketball or Street Ball. This is the easiest game of basketball played because you don't have to have that many skills and abilities as you would require in the N.B.A.. People of many different levels come to play on the street; some are very good, others are just o.k. For the street ball you pick your own rules, that is, some you keep and some you don't, it depends on the will of the players and seriousness of the game. Some street games attract a lot of attention and hold quite a big audience because “star” players known to a lot of people on the street participate in the game. People gossip about these kinds of games and even make bets on them.

Freestyle is a trend of a street basketball. The most important in Freestyle is to have a good handling of the ball. Freestyle has no rules, thus you can do whatever you imagine with the ball. Moves are tricks that are executed to fool your opponents. The more difficult and imaginative the moves are the better. The best moves are the ones that make everybody say, “wow”, or “how did you do it?”, or “do it again”… The best Freestyle Street Ball team is The AND 1 team. This team includes the best players that didn't make it to the N.B.A. except Skip-to-my-Lou who currently plays for Detroit Nuggets. They have such names as And 1, Flash, Headache, 50… Everybody knows them and respects them on the street.

As years pass, a person becomes more knowledgeable about the game, gains skills, and with skills improves his technique. There is such an aspect of a person's game that doesn't apply to every sport – it is style. The style of a player depends on many things: the way a player behaves on the court, the attitude with which he goes through the game, the moves that he uses… Every person creates his own style. For example, you may wear only And 1 clothes and they may call you And 1, or you may use some famous player's moves and others can call you by his (famous guy's) name... Create your own style, be unique.

There is a great number of moves which a player can use in his everyday game, but because of the rules, not too many of them can be used in the N.B.A. for the fact that these moves simply go beyond the limits of the rules. That is why they can be done only on the street, if you get lucky that nobody will say that you are breaking the rules, in which case the move is unrecognized and is considered to be unsuccessful. It is sufficient to say that moves depend on the imagination of a player: the crazier, more difficult, and complicated the move is, the more “wow” you will receive from the audience. The moves, the way you handle the ball are very important in this sport, they are one of the criteria by which we determine the level of one's skills. You learn better moves or gain the ability to execute them with time because “practice makes perfect”. In order to learn new moves, you have to break them down into pieces, see how they are done, try them yourself, but remember, all it takes is time, patience, and will. Cool moves have cool names. Moves, also called shakes (on the street) got such names as shake-and-bake, behind the back pass, fingerroll… By far the best “shakes” are the ones that “break” the opponent's ankles, that is knock him off his feet, confuse him, basically make him look stupid (fans love that).

Some, or many, people say that “it is all about respect”. That's true; on the street, respect plays a role. Gain respect and you will gain popularity and alongside will make lots of friends.

Basketball has a lot of positive characteristics, in my opinion only positive ones. Mentioning only a few of them will give you a clear understanding of this sport's significance. First and most important of all, basketball keeps kids off the street, that's why people spend their time constructively and don't go joining gangs and menacing other people's property and people with it. Basketball gives people something to do.

Second of all, the game develops a person physically and even mentally. It improves one's reaction time and makes a person faster. People are able to make right split-second decisions quicker and with a greater result. Also, when you play, your mind, along with your body, constantly works. You keep on looking around and from the corner of your eye try to keep the situation under control, you try to see where everybody is and where they are going in order to see where to pass the ball, if you have it that is.

Mental development also comes from “smart plays”; this is when a person starts coming up with different plays, starts using his brains to outsmart the opponent. At this point, you don't just use you skills and gained abilities but, most importantly, use your intellect. Smart players, that know people's weaknesses and use them to their own advantages win the game. You become muscular and stronger as well, also better looking and at ease with yourself. You become powerful.

Another positive feature is that your body gets toned up and you lose those extra pounds that bother you so much.

Last but not least, basketball never really goes away because a person playing continuously wants to improve oneself, that's why you keep on playing and playing. The more you play it, the more you want to play it. I guess that only time can stop you playing basketball, but the love for the game never really goes away.

By Art MacHentsev


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