Why don't you like basketball?

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Mark Deeks
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Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:00 am

Hello!

So as some of you already know (considering this is a repost from Facebook), I work in and around the NBA, the National Basketball Association of Amurrca. It is not a sport that has much standing in this country at all, for myriad sociological and organisational reasons I won't go into here - what I'm curious about here is people's own basketball journeys hitherto, or lack thereof.

You may have played it at some point in your life. Schools generally do a couple of sessions to meet quotas and then little more than that. You may have watched some in your time (people synonymise "basketball" and "NBA" quite readily, so it's probably the NBA you've seen). But the chances are you didn't like it. No one does in Britain, really.

So, why? Particularly if you like football - why don't you like basketball? What does it for you in the former that doesn't do it for you with the latter?

I am basically working on a piece (or series of pieces, depending on what materials I can get out of it) as to why football fans should like basketball, and vice versa. But I'd like to crowdsource some views first. They aren't going to be reproduced anywhere - this is purely to trigger some content on the matter. Thanks!
Last edited by Mark Deeks on Fri Aug 03, 2018 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:58 am

Why particularly if you like football? In your Facebook discussion, I think it was worded as if it was exclusively for people who liked football, so I feel I'm at least allowed to comment here. But I think most of what I'm about to say has been covered on Facebook.

Basically, people like the sport(s) that they grow up watching or playing. Football is everywhere in this country, so if you're the sort of person that would get into sports, then you're likely to get into football. It's difficult for something to come along and break the status quo.

Also, I don't think most people feel they can aspire to be a good basketball player, because they're not tall enough. I know you said that you don't necessarily have to be really tall (although I'm sure that statistically speaking it helps a great deal), but perceptions go a long way. Most people might not have the intrinsic talent (we can debate how much of a thing this is another time) to be good at football either, but it's not necessarily so obvious from the outset.

I, personally, am rubbish at all sports, so when we did basketball at school, I was rubbish at it, so playing it held no appeal to me.

Also, I read something about how football does well as an "exciting game" because it's low-scoring and can therefore be exciting and close even if one team is much better than the other. But in a game where the final score is normally something like 4563487564287-432523, you need two really closely matched teams to get the same excitement. And with teams scoring a basket every 2.6 seconds, it might take the edge off the excitement of somebody scoring. Of course, I'm speaking as someone who had never got into basketball, so I'd be happy for you to counter these claims. And it wouldn't explain why in Britain in particular basketball hasn't taken off anyway.

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:10 am

Why particularly if you like football?
At its core, my idea (considering my company's hugely football-centric fan base) is to make whatever I produce out of this particularly targeted to a football audience. The aim is to convince that they are pretty similar games. Or it was, at least.
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Paul Worsley » Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:15 am

I can tell you why I love football. It's the goals. There's no feeling like when your team scores a great goal, or winning goal. Every football fan can relate to this. For me the greatest goal was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's last minute winner in the 1999 Champions League final. Other goals that stand out include Wayne Rooney's overhead kick against Man City, David Platt's last gasp winner against Belgium in 1990, Eric Cantona's FA Cup winner against Liverpool in 1996. There are more.

I'm not suggesting that basketball is lacking in drama, but it's not the same when you don't understand the rules or tactics and don't care who wins.

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Elliott Mellor » Fri Aug 03, 2018 12:29 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:58 am
Why particularly if you like football? In your Facebook discussion, I think it was worded as if it was exclusively for people who liked football, so I feel I'm at least allowed to comment here. But I think most of what I'm about to say has been covered on Facebook.

Basically, people like the sport(s) that they grow up watching or playing. Football is everywhere in this country, so if you're the sort of person that would get into sports, then you're likely to get into football. It's difficult for something to come along and break the status quo.

Also, I don't think most people feel they can aspire to be a good basketball player, because they're not tall enough. I know you said that you don't necessarily have to be really tall (although I'm sure that statistically speaking it helps a great deal), but perceptions go a long way. Most people might not have the intrinsic talent (we can debate how much of a thing this is another time) to be good at football either, but it's not necessarily so obvious from the outset.

I, personally, am rubbish at all sports, so when we did basketball at school, I was rubbish at it, so playing it held no appeal to me.

Also, I read something about how football does well as an "exciting game" because it's low-scoring and can therefore be exciting and close even if one team is much better than the other. But in a game where the final score is normally something like 4563487564287-432523, you need two really closely matched teams to get the same excitement. And with teams scoring a basket every 2.6 seconds, it might take the edge off the excitement of somebody scoring. Of course, I'm speaking as someone who had never got into basketball, so I'd be happy for you to counter these claims. And it wouldn't explain why in Britain in particular basketball hasn't taken off anyway.
This is almost my exact thoughts to a tee. If I'd grown up and seen basketball everywhere I'd probably have been more interested in it (though having always been a shrimp, I'd probably not have fancied my chances). I've played basketball before at school and whilst I didn't find it really boring to play (though tbh I find most sports at least somewhat fun to play even if I loathe watching them), I doubt I'd be able to sit down and watch a match of basketball because it seems at least to me a bit repetitive. When you're watching baskets be scored every few seconds, it defeats the novelty of one somewhat because you're expecting them as opposed to waiting for them. In football part of the draw of it is the fact that a match could be really tense and locked at 0-0 for the first 90 minutes, then in the 3rd minute of injury time your team could snatch the win with a last gasp attack.

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Marc Meakin » Fri Aug 03, 2018 12:36 pm

I have watched football for the best part of fifty years.
It has changed a lot over the past twenty years making it almost a non contact sport.
Which is why I'm not so keen on basketball as it is non contact.
I liked the Harlem Globetrotters though and will watch any needle matches at the Olympics.
Another reason to dislike live basketball on (US ) TV is the incessant as breaks.

Another reason is unless it's close (4 points or less ) it becomes a procession.

But for your piece, you can say that as football is no longer a contact sport, Basketball is comparable and it is end to end with lots of points to be played for
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Fri Aug 03, 2018 12:51 pm

Basketball is absolutely a contact sport and the idea that it isn't is a big misconception that needs addressing. It is a non-collision sport, yes, but that's very different.
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Marc Meakin » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:31 pm

Mark Deeks wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 12:51 pm
Basketball is absolutely a contact sport and the idea that it isn't is a big misconception that needs addressing. It is a non-collision sport, yes, but that's very different.
Well that's a distinction that needs clearing up I assumed that you couldn't touch your opponent , only the ball.
I'm curious if I'm in the minority on this matter
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Marc Meakin » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:34 pm

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Marc Meakin » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:46 pm

Also football is an outdoor sport (apart from 5 a side )
That makes a big difference in atmosphere etc.
You should be trying to attract fellow indoor sports enthusiasts like Table Tennis, Tennis, Badminton and Boxing fans
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark James » Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:24 pm

I don't know why I don't like it really. I had a brief flirtation with basketball around the time the video game NBA JAM came out and White Men Can't Jump (both of those feature two on two, maybe that should be the way to go) is still one of my favourite films of all time but now, of the big 4 it's my least favourite American sport (in order I like baseball, ice hockey, hand egg then basketball). Even then I'd really only watch highlights packages then entire games.

I used to watch a basketball show on itv on Saturday afternoon in the 90s after the morning cartoons but I stopped watching it. Can't remember why. The next time I watched a game in the 2000s it seemed to me that it had gotten much more non contact in so far as, every attack, if a point wasn't scored a free throw was given. And it just seemed too back and forth. Basically, you have a go and then we'll have a go and the winner was the team that didn't miss their free throws.

And definitely the fact football is low scoring is actually to its benefit despite what the stupid yanks think. It should be hard to score.

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by samir pilica » Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:41 pm

In former Yugoslavia basketball was considered to be a No 1 national sport by and large due to a huge success the national team enjoyed during the 70s, 80s and prior to disintegration in 1992. It was very easy for youngsters to fall in love with the game watching the likes of Dalipagic, Kicanovic, Delibasic, later on Radja, Kukoc, Divac etc. Having lived in the UK since 1992, I can honestly say that I saw just ONE game on terrestrial TV, some obscure European Championship game involving England many years ago. In terms of non stop excitement, personally, I would struggle to place football ahead of basketball, but perhaps due to lack of media coverage, basketball will remain an unknown quantity to many.

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by David Williams » Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:09 am

As well as the lack of the excitement that football has, is the lack of tension that you get in, say, test match cricket. I'm not massively interested myself, but the current game must be excruciating if you are. Whereas basketball - one team scores, other team scores, first team scores again, ooh that's three points not two - doesn't quite cut it.

I guess it's also true that if there was more coverage I might be more interested, but there won't be any more coverage because no-one's interested. I remember once seeing hurling on TV and thinking it was objectively the best sport I'd ever seen. All the best bits of football and hockey, and take out any rules that slowed the game down or had been introduced to stop people getting hurt. But I've never watched it again.

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Fred Mumford » Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:13 am

In common with others, too much scoring is the reason I have never got into basketball. Football on the other hand goes too far in the other direction. I think American Football and rugby have got it about right.

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:23 am

Responses hitherto have focused on watching basketball. But what about playing it? It's not very high scoring if you're not good.
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Marc Meakin » Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:32 am

I reckon if there was a scaled down version for short arses then it might be a more popular sport for the masses
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark James » Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:00 pm

Mark Deeks wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:23 am
Responses hitherto have focused on watching basketball. But what about playing it? It's not very high scoring if you're not good.
Well it requires a basket to play. There's no jumpers for goalposts equivalent for basketball. Most sports though are much better to play then to watch. I'd love a game of basketball but most of my mates I play football with aren't interested.

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:07 pm

Marc Meakin wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:32 am
I reckon if there was a scaled down version for short arses then it might be a more popular sport for the masses
Again, you're talking the highest level. You and a group of mates, or a local club, or just you on your own shooting around/dribbling....you don't need height. You don't even need a hoop, really, if you're just wanting to dribble. The high thing is a massive misconception born out of only watching the very top levels.
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:08 pm

The most rabid basketball fanbase in the world is the Philippines, which rather proves that you don't need height to like the game.
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark James » Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:15 pm

I was thinking about NBA JAM and how I kept getting called for goal tending and I didn't know what it meant so I just Googled it there and watched a few clips of people getting punished for goal tending and I've decided it should actually be allowed.

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark James » Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:22 pm

And just to elaborate a bit, I don't think you should be able to put your hand back up through the basket but some of the blocks that were given as goal tending I would count as great defending and I rather see more of that.

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Sat Aug 04, 2018 2:05 pm

Goaltending is outlawed because at the highest levels, it'd be too easy to do.
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Sat Aug 04, 2018 2:07 pm

It would also bias the game towards taller guys, which, per the above, already seems to be a problem to many.
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Matt Morrison » Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:11 pm

Paul Worsley wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:15 am
I can tell you why I love football. It's the goals. There's no feeling like when your team scores a great goal, or winning goal. Every football fan can relate to this. For me the greatest goal was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's last minute winner in the 1999 Champions League final. Other goals that stand out include Wayne Rooney's overhead kick against Man City, David Platt's last gasp winner against Belgium in 1990, Eric Cantona's FA Cup winner against Liverpool in 1996. There are more.

I'm not suggesting that basketball is lacking in drama, but it's not the same when you don't understand the rules or tactics and don't care who wins.
I feel like football's goals are far more varied than basketball's goals too. With completely no knowledge whatsoever, and ready for Mark's counter, it feels like basketball probably has "brilliant teamplay goal" and "goal from a long way away" as the most interesting formats. Football has a helluva lot more variation surely.

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Matt Morrison » Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:13 pm

Mark James wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:00 pm
[...]it requires a basket to play. There's no jumpers for goalposts equivalent for basketball.
One of the most important and biggest differences. Especially when we're talking about impressionable young kids.

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:06 pm

Mark Deeks wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:23 am
Responses hitherto have focused on watching basketball. But what about playing it? It's not very high scoring if you're not good.
But it's all connected. Enjoying watching a sport is likely to lead to wanting to play it.

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:07 pm

Also how easy is it to get what's going on if you have no prior knowledge of the sport? Football is really easy.

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:08 am

Matt Morrison wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:11 pm
Paul Worsley wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:15 am
I can tell you why I love football. It's the goals. There's no feeling like when your team scores a great goal, or winning goal. Every football fan can relate to this. For me the greatest goal was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's last minute winner in the 1999 Champions League final. Other goals that stand out include Wayne Rooney's overhead kick against Man City, David Platt's last gasp winner against Belgium in 1990, Eric Cantona's FA Cup winner against Liverpool in 1996. There are more.

I'm not suggesting that basketball is lacking in drama, but it's not the same when you don't understand the rules or tactics and don't care who wins.
I feel like football's goals are far more varied than basketball's goals too. With completely no knowledge whatsoever, and ready for Mark's counter, it feels like basketball probably has "brilliant teamplay goal" and "goal from a long way away" as the most interesting formats. Football has a helluva lot more variation surely.
Well, thinking about this more - how many other ways are there in football? I mean, if we delineate "30 foot strike" from "dribbled through like six guys and slotted it home", then, yeah, maybe, but beyond that I'm not seeing it.

As for 'counters' - I work basically alone in this country in my field. My peers are all in the states. It's lonely, and I'd really like people to like what I do! Especially if the main obstacle to doing so is simply opportunity and/or naivety. I want to help with those, hence canvassing for the feedback.
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:15 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:07 pm
Also how easy is it to get what's going on if you have no prior knowledge of the sport? Football is really easy.
Up to a point, sure. That said, if we were on a basketball court, just chilling, and I passed you the ball, you'd try and get it in the hoop, no? We all know enough to know that's the point of the thing.

In my limited experience (I don't play much myself), everyone would. And eventually they'd get one in, and they'd be happy about it. Forget the rest of the sport - that right there is playing basketball. It is odd though that we in this country can barely get to this point. The lack of facilities and dominance of football are both partly why, but I suspect there is also an automatic inclination to reject American things, which, while far from the only obstacle to the success of basketball in this country, has got to be a part of it. If you can make/have made shots yourself, then you can understand better the sheer brilliance of legit-candidate-for-best-in-the-world Stephen Curry making ridiculously difficult shots look ridiculously easy, regularly. And considering he's 6'1 and weighs about 0.4R, the size thing isn't a problem here either. I'm trying to establish here what I'm missing, given that I'm so many years into it now that the naivete of my early days is hard to remember.

[As an example of what I'm trying to do here - I put this question to my football-loving colleagues, and one came back to say, part of the problem is that when basketball is broadcast in this country, it is done using the international/NBA broadcasts, which come with a level of assumed base knowledge that can be alienating. We can fix that!]
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark James » Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:39 am

There's definitely a marketing issue. In the lead up to the superbowl or the world series I know they are coming up. When do you ever hear that the playoffs are on? I really only hear about them after the fact. Nobody has basketball playoff parties. There's way less of a hullabaloo made about it in the media. It doesn't have that same big event feel. I don't even know which channel actually shows the playoffs.

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark James » Sun Aug 05, 2018 5:13 am

Sorry Mark but that video of curry hitting those three pointers was boring af. It's probably testament to his skill that he makes it look easy but that's what it looks like. The same happens in other sports.

Say something like snooker. There's times I think they make it look easy when it's not but also they practice so much that you also think really they shouldn't be missing certain shots but the tension and excitement of the sport comes from the misses as much as the made shots because the punishment for missing gives your opponent such a massive chance. In basketball though you're probably gonna have another chance to score in about 48 seconds if not 24 and when you're that good you'll probably take that chance.

That's the issue with high scoring aspect of the game. There's just too many opportunities to score and that reduces the tension and missing chances isn't as catastrophic (as an Irish man I have a similar issue with GAA. I would rather they just had goals and no points. I'm sure hitting the ball over the bar rather than into the goal requires just as much skill but it just comes across as too easy and happens all the time)

The most entertaining clips of basketball I see are the ones right at the buzzer where it's the last opportunity so the consequence of missing or scoring are heightened.

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Phil H » Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:53 am

Interesting topic and I think a lot of what I'd have said has been covered already. I may be misremembering because I was 10-14 at the time, but it seemed to me that interest in the UK did rise a little when we had the American 'dream team' playing in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. You also had Michael Jordan being used as one of Nike's main brands ('Air Jordan') and Reebok then trying to imitate this using Shaquille O'Neal, who many hoped would become Jordan's successor. I may be wrong but I have a feeling that the top NBA players no longer play in the Olympics.

It would have been around the same time of my life that I played basketball the most - at primary school we went to one of these PGL outdoor centres for a week, and it had a basketball court but no football field. I think we had 6/8 week units of basketball in early secondary school too, although only for an hour or two per week. I think many of us enjoyed it well enough, but equally I doubt if we missed it afterwards.

In terms of watching, a related issue to the frequency of scoring is the lack of different phases of play. You don't have the equivalent of a midfield battle, or a partnership between the left-back and left-winger. I guess there must be exceptional dribblers and passers like there are in football, but 'turning defence into attack' loses its excitement when it happens all the time.

As for playing, perhaps this is another version of the familiarity issue but I feel you can't express yourself to the same extent. You don't get the chance to sprint at maximum speed because the ball holds you up. You don't get the chance to shoot with full force because the ball is heavier. Most of us at some point have probably run into an open field, kicked a football and chased after it. I can't imagine what the equivalent would be with a basketball.

At the risk of making the OP feel a bit shat on, I wonder how fruitful a strategy it is to convince football fans that basketball is similar. With hockey the similarities seem even more obvious, and I've enjoyed watching it on that basis up to a point, but to me it will only ever be a lesser version of the real thing.

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Marc Meakin » Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:30 am

I do believe Space Jam 2 is coming out soon so that may be a way of getting kids interested
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:07 am

Mark James wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 5:13 am
Sorry Mark but that video of curry hitting those three pointers was boring af. It's probably testament to his skill that he makes it look easy but that's what it looks like. The same happens in other sports.
It wasn't supposed to be exciting! It was supposed to be perspective. "It's all giants doing athletic things" is a common rebuke. Well, it's not.

One of the frustrations that I have when dealing with this topic is the shifting goalposts (semi-deliberate pun) as to why people don't like it, particularly that one about height.

There's just too many opportunities to score and that reduces the tension
Eh, it doesn't, but OK.

I get this one a lot. My answer would be - what's the right number of points, then? The first game of basketball ever played anywhere ever finished 1-0; would that be better?
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:25 am

Phil H wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:53 am
At the risk of making the OP feel a bit shat on
Heh there is a bit of that, yes. But then I started this knowing people were going to take views I wanted to challenge, so it's all good.
I may be wrong but I have a feeling that the top NBA players no longer play in the Olympics.
tl;dr This was true for a while, but isn't now.

The US used to send amateur teams to the Olympics, and still won them all, except for one particular corrupt farce back in 1972. Then in 1988, they lost on merit, and obviously American pride is a fragile beast, so in 1992, they sent The Dream Team. Best team ever assembled, at a time when the competition internationally was still way behind the US at its best. Every game was like Real Madrid versus Bromsgrove Rovers under-11 reserves. Carnage. The practices were the most competitive part. Thereafter, they reduced the quality of their teams a little bit, sending a very good but not elite team to the 1994 Worlds (won easily), a team that was was about 75% of the calibre of the first Dream Team to the 1996 Olympics (won easily; it helped participation that this was on American soil), a ragtag bunch of minor leaguers to the 1998 Worlds due to NBA strike action (bronze; the gap was closing), a disjointed bunch of second-tier-but-still-good players to the 2000 Olympics (where they just, just won), and then an even more disjointed bunch of good-but-not-great players at the 2002 Worlds. By that time, the World had caught up, and they finished a lowly sixth; with a slightly improved squad from that in the 2004 Olympics, they never impressed and finished third. They also didn't win the 2006 Worlds, despite starting to get more commitments from the top tier again. No longer invincible, this stretch of challenged American Exceptionalism convinced the game's very best (LeBron etc) to play again. They haven't lost since, but it's not easy like it was.

the ball is heavier.
Barely!
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:42 am

- Rules-wise, basketball is very simple. You can't run with the ball. You can't tackle whoever's got the ball. You have a certain amount of time to attempt a shot in, otherwise the other team gets it. [This was brought in because of the tackling rule; winning teams just used to stand there holding the ball, and the game was so risk-averse as to be dull as hell.] You're trying to get the ball in the hoop. You can't go out of bounds. Shots from further away count for more because they're harder. Most points wins. There's nuances beyond that, but eh, it's much simpler than most sports.

- Tactics-wise, it's way more intricate than many of the people I have spoken to on this topic seem to think. This is where the similarity to football comes in. You set up general shapes, then read and react off of that, with set plays mimicking football's set pieces.

- Culture-wise, basketball shits on football, and indeed all sports. The NBA is extremely good at this.

- Stats-wise, if that's your thing, there's so much.

- Playability-wise, OK, so in Britain, there are scant few facilities, which is a real problem. That said, when there is a hoop, the playability of shooting the ball at it couldn't be much easier.

The main problems as I see it are accessibility and cultural relativism (our own league is nowhere to be found; the NBA is at unsocial hours, and it's all behind paywalls anyway), a lack of heroes, the stoppages in play (this isn't nearly as bad as is assumed, although it did get excessive towards the end of games, which they are working to improve, and for some reason the refs insist on touching the ball a lot), and not really knowing what's going on.

All true. All frustrating. But all fixable, I hope. Especially the last one.
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:47 am

Phil H wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:53 am
At the risk of making the OP feel a bit shat on
Just to add to this - who else here does a job whereby people, after asking what you do, you have to (a) explain it for ages, and then (b) have people say it's cool, but then at the same time (c) have the same people tell you they don't like it? Happens a lot. "So what do you do?" "Oh, that sounds cool! I don't really like basketball though." It was worse when I didn't have the specific job I do now to back it up. If I seem defensive, apologies - it's not intended. But for a decade I've ploughed a very lonely furrow and I just want some friends to play with :(
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Marc Meakin » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:51 am

Mark Deeks wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:47 am
Phil H wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:53 am
At the risk of making the OP feel a bit shat on
Just to add to this - who else here does a job whereby people, after asking what you do, you have to (a) explain it for ages, and then (b) have people say it's cool, but then at the same time (c) have the same people tell you they don't like it? Happens a lot. "So what do you do?" "Oh, that sounds cool! I don't really like basketball though." It was worse when I didn't have the specific job I do now to back it up. If I seem defensive, apologies - it's not intended. But for a decade I've ploughed a very lonely furrow and I just want some friends to play with :(
You are easy to Google so maybe when people ask what you do tell them to Google your name and UKNBA
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Phil H » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:51 am

Re: the Olympics, am I imagining an instance where the Russians achieved a shock victory over the Americans when they were close to their peak?

If you are asking people what they feel is an issue, and a lot of them say the high scoring, I think that has to be taken seriously. Not many of us would prefer for the average number of goals in a football match to be 1 or lower, but while the rare games which finish 6-5 might be entertaining, they tend to verge upon the farcical. I imagine a basketball game with a similar level of scoring to football would almost certainly be of a poor standard.

I don't think I'd fully twigged just how dominant football is until I did the Sporcle quiz on countries where it isn't the most popular sport; I don't think there were more than 25, although admittedly they included two huge nations in India and the US. There may be sociological reasons for this as well, but it almost suggests a natural state of affairs. The ball might not be much lighter in football, but you can kick it much harder than you can throw it. To take a more extreme example, I think the 100m sprint will always be close to the most popular athletics event, and the shot put close to the least popular; people feel far more limited while doing the latter.

I was going to ask the OP why he thought basketball was even as popular as it is, but I now see he's anticipated that.

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Phil H » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:55 am

Mark Deeks wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:42 am

- Culture-wise, basketball shits on football, and indeed all sports. The NBA is extremely good at this.


How do you mean 'culture-wise', and what in that respect does basketball do better?

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:57 am

but it almost suggests a natural state of affairs.
Or the success of colonialism :)

This isn't really football versus basketball, though. That's just one angle I may or may not go down. This is about basketball itself. I suspect a rejection of American stuff (look how long it took us to come around to the idea that their TV shows are better, for example) is partly what's going on here, particularly in certain generations. But I can't prove that.

The high scoring thing is purely subjective. It's all purely subjective, but that one particular aspect truly is, as it seems to refer to the NBA alone. If anyone would like to watch this, for example, and then tell me why they didn't like it, I'd be grateful.
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:59 am

Phil H wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:55 am
Mark Deeks wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:42 am

- Culture-wise, basketball shits on football, and indeed all sports. The NBA is extremely good at this.


How do you mean 'culture-wise', and what in that respect does basketball do better?
The NBA is cool. It has dominant market share in fashion, music and culture. To massively oversimplify this and drizzle it in bias (and I'm a football fan), football culture is knuckle dragging neanderthals with tribalism and jingoism that occasionally give way to violence and racism. Basketball games are fun days out.

Football's biggest advantage, particularly in Britain, is how old it is.
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:03 am

Re: the Olympics, am I imagining an instance where the Russians achieved a shock victory over the Americans when they were close to their peak?
The Russians beat the US in the 1972 Olympic final, as above, but it was a US amateur team, as were they all at that time. The 1992 team was the first professional one.
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Marc Meakin » Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:08 am

Mark Deeks wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:59 am
Phil H wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:55 am
Mark Deeks wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:42 am

- Culture-wise, basketball shits on football, and indeed all sports. The NBA is extremely good at this.


How do you mean 'culture-wise', and what in that respect does basketball do better?
The NBA is cool. It has dominant market share in fashion, music and culture. To massively oversimplify this and drizzle it in bias (and I'm a football fan), football culture is knuckle dragging neanderthals with tribalism and jingoism that occasionally give way to violence and racism. Basketball games are fun days out.

Football's biggest advantage, particularly in Britain, is how old it is.
Although Basketball was invented in the 1890s so maybe growth of the game, globally is more of an issue
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Phil H » Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:12 am

[/quote]

The NBA is cool. It has dominant market share in fashion, music and culture. To massively oversimplify this and drizzle it in bias (and I'm a football fan), football culture is knuckle dragging neanderthals with tribalism and jingoism that occasionally give way to violence and racism. Basketball games are fun days out.

[/quote]


That's interesting. This might have ignorantly been based on no more than a handful of top stars, but I had assumed that (a) the majority of NBA players were black, and (b) this might have been a barrier to cultural acceptance or prestige in some quarters.

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:12 am

It was invented in the 1890s, yes, but not by a colonial superpower that took it everywhere they went. Instead, in one small portion of one massive-ass country that didn't even sort out its own league worth a damn until the 1940s, and which then needed the onset of television a generation later to actually start pushing its product. By that time in this country, everyone's dad had been taken to football games by their dad every Saturday for twenty years.....etc. The game is embedded in the culture here because it started way earlier, can be played on any bit of reasonably flat grass (and Britain is notoriously covered in grass), and has the history, which itself becomes something to cite, which itself becomes rivalry, which for many is the point of it all. It in turn becomes self-fulfilling; you can't now not be exposed to football, even if you don't like it. Everything else is caught up in the shuffle.
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:14 am

(a) the majority of NBA players were black
About 80-85%,
(b) this might have been a barrier to cultural acceptance or prestige in some quarters
Not really! The NBA had a drug problem in the 1980s that gave it lower social status, but the rehabilitation of its image in the time hence has been pretty marvellous. Bit like how people like the Royal Family now, except blacker.
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Marc Meakin » Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:38 am

I think there are some sports that are quintessentially American like Baseball that , if it was ever gonna take off globally would have by now
We dabble in American football and Basketball and to a lesser extent Ice Hockey but I think they are only going to be massive in North America.
It's part of their culture like Cricket is part of ours.
Most other countries that played cricket were at one time colonial
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:52 am

Well, you say that, but basketball has grown enormously all over the world....except here. We are the exception in this instance, not the norm.
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Marc Meakin » Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:12 pm

Is it big in Japan ?
That was a serious question btw and not a pop song reference.
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:17 pm

Marc Meakin wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:12 pm
Is it big in Japan ?
That was a serious question btw and not a pop song reference.
Not bad! They are still a baseball-mad nation, but it's on the upswing there. Their professional league had a BDO/PDC thing going on until recently, but it's been fixed, and they get some decent import players through. And they are to host the 2023 Worlds, which will help further. The game has really exploded in China over the last 20 years, and Japan has come along with that a bit. They just need their own star now to really kick on.
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:11 pm

Something else that I think might put people off. My perception (and presumably some other people's) is that professional basketball isn't just people playing basketball better than random people playing basketball - it's effectively a completely different game. The point is that in football (or whatever), you're still trying to do the same basic thing as the professionals but probably doing it worse. In basketball, you (as in most people) simply have no opportunity to even fluke a basket in the same manner as a professional. Every shot for most people would be just throwing the ball at hoop and hoping it goes in. For a professional, they just put it in the basket, because they're 7 feet tall. So it's not the same game but better, but something completely different.

When whoever invented basketball invented it, they probably had in mind how normal people play it. The professional game has evolved into something completely different. Maybe make the basket a couple of feet higher, reset all records, and start again.

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Marc Meakin » Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:33 pm

What about smaller hoops.
They made the pockets smaller in snooker.
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark James » Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:04 am

Mark Deeks wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:57 am
If anyone would like to watch this, for example, and then tell me why they didn't like it, I'd be grateful.
So I managed to get through about 2/3s of the first quarter. I just found it boring. I don't think you can explain why you don't like something in much the same way I doubt I could explain why I do like something. Could you explain what's great about that game? Why did you pick that one?

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:35 am

Again, I never said it was great. It was however low scoring and not populated by giants. So maybe the answer isn't those things after all.
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark James » Mon Aug 06, 2018 9:21 am

When I stopped watching, both teams scores were in the 20s. I count that as high scoring. I did notice that they were missing lots of shots, maybe more than usual, but like I said above the consequences for missing aren't as harsh because another opportunity to score comes along quickly, to such an extent, even in a "low scoring" game you can still be in double figures after 8 minutes. That was the point I was making about the tension being removed from when someone's making a shot. It either goes in or doesn't. No biggie. They'll get another chance soon enough.

When I made that point you just dismissed it. If you're gonna ask for people's opinions of why they don't like something maybe don't ignore their opinions. They're still just subjective opinions after all. Other people might like basketball for the very reason I dont. Maybe football is boring to them because just creating a chance to score takes so long. To them that's boring, to me that's where the drama comes from.

I think you're trying hard to make the reasons people are giving you not to be the reasons because you know they can't be changed. That game you picked may not have been populated by "giants" but I would bet the average height of both teams was still over 6 foot. Isn't the average height in the NBA like 6' 7"? Sure there's outliers but overall it's a game for people well above average height. Just accept that. And accept that it puts some people off.

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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Marc Meakin » Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:14 am

I would like to know the percentage of 6 foot 7 plus people living in the UK.
I suspect that answer will explain the lack of participation.
But never give up as it has taken decades for America to accept soccer as a viable sport and I suspect come 2026 they may come close to winning the darn thing.
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:05 am

Mark, I'm not sure what you want acceptance of your opinion to look like. I disagree with your opinion and I'm not going to start agreeing with it. But that doesn't mean I don't accept it. I do seek to challenge it, and the logic behind it; that's what this very thread is from the start. It was an invitation to take contrary positions. But don't take that as a lack of acceptance.

The problem as I see it with the idea that the number of possessions makes it unenjoyable is again the fact that we in Britain/Ireland seem to be the only ones that feel this way. To the rest of the world, the attraction of constant scoring is part of the reason basketball has caught on. [And it really has caught on - it is a sport of some calibre and prestige pretty much anywhere else you can think of. In many if not most, it is not as big as football, but it doesn't need to be as big as football to be a piece of the sporting culture. We are pretty much the only sizeable country, except India, where it isn't a part at all.] So why's it different here?

As best I can tell, it seems to be because low scoring is so normalised on these two islands of ours (1-0 to the Arsenal etc) that to accept high scoring as an alternative is awkward to do, and would involve rejecting the sporting principles on which we were raised. It is an interesting thought experiment to me as to whether, if I was a bigger football fan than I am (I am a football fan but it's not life-altering), whether I would love basketball like I do. I can never know that answer, but I hope to at least talk about the differences with others. And so that is why I feel it is something underpinned by culture, media, and implied anti-Americanism - to accept basketball and high scores in adulthood with no previous exposure to it worth a damn is to challenge core beliefs about what sport should be. I am either 'ignoring your opinion' or trying to find the reasoning beyond 'it just is this way, accept it'. Your call.

I included that game, not because it was a special or important game, but because it was slower (college games have longer possessions and a longer shot clock), shorter (apparently key), and harder (they aren't as good so they don't make it look as easy, which was one point made above).
Just accept that.
Alright Mr Shouty. I hereby accept that high level professional basketball is played by people of above average height. I mean, I don't think I ever didn't accept that, but for the record, there it is. Now, go down your local club, the park, wherever else. Who's playing it now?

You synonymise "basketball" with "basketball at the very best levels" quite readily, which I think is unhelpful. Basketball doesn't have to be played by the tall. The college team we put together didn't have a guy over 5'10. Kids teams are always short apart from the abnormalities. It doesn't really shine through how tall you are if you're in a wheelchair. Etc. This is all basketball. The overwhelming majority of people who play recreationally, and even seriously recreationally, are not giants. Even more true of the viewers. If the fact that the ones you see on the telly are all taller than you is a problem to you, then OK. But I fail to see a sport in which you aren't massively athletically inferior. High level professional football is played by people of above average skill, stamina, speed, body control and (at certain positions) height as well. Track and field athletics are obviously way out. And even high level professional darts, even though it's played by knuckle dragging neanderthals and is the kind of sport you could imagine yourself become a world leader at with six months of hard practice, features people with a gift of hand/eye co-ordination. There's a reason they can do it and you can't. Any sport played at the high level is unassailable to the viewer/recreational player for reasons of athleticism and/or co-ordination. But I keep being told height is why people don't watch or play. I accept it, but, eh. Seems in error.
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Mark Deeks » Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:07 am

Marc Meakin wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:14 am
I would like to know the percentage of 6 foot 7 plus people living in the UK.
I suspect that answer will explain the lack of participation.
But never give up as it has taken decades for America to accept soccer as a viable sport and I suspect come 2026 they may come close to winning the darn thing.
Second most participated-in team sport in the country, fun fact. Even more than cricket!
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Re: Why don't you like basketball?

Post by Marc Meakin » Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:13 am

Probably the lack of a jumpers for goal posts element , as mentioned earlier is a big thing.
I personally would be more inclined to go watch if it was an outdoor game I've been walking my dog in the park and watched a few games
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