Time for Hoops!

December 19th, 2012 | By Marjie No Comments

A true American sport, basketball – also called roundball, b-ball or hoops – was “born and raised” right here in the U.S.A., but virtually every person on the planet has probably played something like basketball, whether they knew it at the time or not.

Think about it … Have you ever wadded up a piece of paper and tried to land it in the wastebasket? Or launched an apple core into the kitchen garbage can? Or how about tossing a piece of popcorn up in the air to see if you can get it to land on your tongue? Yep, even if you haven’t actually shot a regulation ‘roundball’ into a net on a b-ball court, you’ve probably played one of those variations of the game of basketball.


James Naismith invented the sport of basketball more than 120 years ago. For most of you kids reading this issue of Athens MOVE, that means that it was invented about the time your great-great or even great-great-great grandparents were born. That sounds like a really long time, and in a way it is. But compared to some ball games that are about 3,000 years old, or martial arts competitions that are even older than that, basketball is a baby!

Since you live in Georgia … The “Peach” State … you have a connection to basketball that you might not even know about! The earliest baskets were actually PEACH baskets. That is, they were real baskets designed to collect peaches during their harvest time. The bottoms of the peach baskets were cut out, then the baskets were nailed to the walls of the gymnasium where the basketball game was to be played.


Basketball is played in almost every nation in the world today. It has been an Olympic sport since 1936, and today is one of this country’s most popular sports.

Children as young as four and five years old play hoops in recreation leagues, and seniors as old as 106 have played competitively!

Girls and boys alike enjoy this game, from young children all the way through the professional teams. Right here in Georgia, you can cheer for the Atlanta Hawks of the men’s NBA (National Basketball Association) and the Atlanta Dream of the women’s WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association).

Of course, here in Athens we are partial to UGA’s Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs basketball. And all of our public and private high schools have boys’ and girls’ teams as well. Virtually every weekend from now through February, someone is playing school-sponsored basketball somewhere, and the pro season continues for weeks beyond that!


Like any sport, basketball is beloved for many reasons. For some, it’s the fast pace of the game; there is seldom a lull in the action! For others, it’s the unique scoring system that allows for free throws, field goals and three-point shots … from layups to the half-court shot, the scoring is constant and exciting. And for still others, the diverse skills needed to play are fascinating. Players have to know how to dribble, pass, shoot, avoid fouling the opponent, size up the other team during the actual movement of the game and maneuver the ball into scoring position.

As I prepared to write this article, I spoke with my good friend Mike, who has been around basketball all his life. He has played the game competitively for more than 50 years, coached and officiated at the high school and college levels, and watched literally hundreds of games as a spectator. He said, “I love the strategy of the game. No minute of one game is the same as the next. And it’s so good for you! Players get cardiovascular conditioning, increased strength, improved agility and reflexes, and incredible hand-eye coordination workouts. It’s truly one of those sports that works every facet of fitness.”


Your nearest parks and recreation program is a great place to start. Some churches also have leagues like the Upward Basketball program at Beechwood Baptist. Basketball leagues are usually formed at least during the winter season, and sometimes during the summer as well. Check with your school, too … some elementary schools, many middle schools and every high school have competitive programs.

Basketball is also one of the many sports that you can play at any level – beginner to expert. You can also play indoors or outdoors, so the onset of cooler weather doesn’t mean you have to wait to play!

If you want to shoot some hoops but are not interested in playing with an organized program, play some “pickup games” at your local park. Almost all of them have at least one court. All you’ll need is a basketball and the desire to play basketball. In fact, if no one else is around that day, you can still dribble and shoot as long as you want.

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