Hoops, even for the loneliest number

basketball_china

Basketball celebrates it’s 125th anniversary this month and is as popular as ever. They say 300 Million Chinese play the sport, and the above photo shows that even in the poorest places, they can be found shooting hoops.

It is not surprising to me that the sport has become a hit around the world. It has one thing going for it that almost no other sport can boast. You can play basketball by yourself.  You can’t do that with baseball, nor football, nor soccer.  And it only takes two, to play a competitive game.

It is also an inexpensive game, the cost being simply a basketball. You can find hoops everywhere at parks or schools. My backyard hoop was installed 25 years ago, and is still going strong.

I’ve been playing basketball for fifty years, I was never good enough to play on any high school teams, but throughout my life I’ve played the game constantly.  At one point I could play in my backyard on a regulation 10-foot net, or next door on a 9-foot net. When I wanted to pretend I was Wilt Chamberlain I went next door and dominated the boards on my own misses. I was Wilt/West/Goodrich(had to shoot left handed), McMillan, and Happy Hairston.

Considering that Dr. James Naismith created the sports simply to keep athletes vigorous through the winter, you’d have to think he would look at his creation today and marvel.

Even today, I’ll try to shoot about 50 free throws a day, shoot around the world, and continue to try to look smooth on the reverse layup even though I never did.  My days of playing an actual game of basketball are over, but shooting hoops can continue just about forever.

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