Streetball is a city game, played on playgrounds and in gyms around the world. Streetball also does not involve a rigorous schedule; participants may choose to play ten games in one day or one game in ten days. Usually only one side of the court is used, but otherwise the rules of the game are very similar to those of professional basketball. The number of participants in a game, or a run, may range from two players, known as one-on-one (or mano-a-mano), to two full teams of five each.
Streetball is a popular game worldwide, and some cities in the United States have organized streetball programs, such as midnight basketball, as a way for young people to keep out of trouble and avoid problems such as juvenile crime and drugs.
Rules and Features
While the rules of Streetball are essentially/theoretically the same as normal basketball, Streetball places a higher emphasis on one-on-one matchups between the offense and defender. Often the attacker will perform numerous flashy moves while attempting to drive to the basket, including crossovers, jab steps, and other fake-out tricks. Streetball often features spectacular dunks and alley oops, impressive ball handling, and trash talking. Also featured in streetball, is moves. A move is either used to trick the defender to look away, or just to confuse. There are many different moves in the streetball world. One of the most known is "The Boomerang", which is invented by Phillip "Hotsauce" Champion.
Certain rule violations in traditional basketball, such as carrying, do not apply in Streetball. Style is often the determining factor in what is and is not legal in a Streetball game - if it looks good, it's not against the rules. In this sense, Streetball is as much performance art as it is an athletic contest.
However rules vary widely from court to court. Almost invariably a "Call your own foul" rule is in effect, and a player who believes he has been fouled, simply needs to call out "Foul!", and play will be stopped, with the ball awarded to the fouled player's team. The etiquette of what rightly constitutes a foul, as well as the permissible amount of protestation against such a call, are the products of local social norms, as well as of the level of seriousness of a particular game. An outsider at a playground should closely observe the status quo in these matters. Some areas where different interpretations of rules are likely to occur are:
- Travelling--whether a step is permissible prior to dribbling, and how many more than the nominally permitted one and a half steps should be allowed at the end of the dribble.
- Hand- (and leg)-checking on defense--how much can one touch the person one defends and how much physical pressure may one apply in so doing.
A common feature to Streetball is the "pick up game". To participate in most Streetball games across the world one simply go to an outdoor court where people are playing, indicate a wish to participate, and once all the players who were at the court before you have played you will get to pick your team out of the players available and play a game. Many games play up to 7, 10 or 11 points with all baskets counting as one point (sometimes shots beyond the 3 point arc count as 2 points). Ballers often play "win by 2" or "win by 3," which means that the team has to win by a margin of at least 2 or 3 clear points. Sometimes a local "dead end" limit applies; for instance a game may be played to 7, win by 3, with a 9 point dead end, which would mean scores of 7-5, 8-6, 9-7, or 9-8, would all be final; while with scores of 7-6 or 8-7, play would continue. The most common streetball game is 3-on-3 played half court though often 5-on-5 full court can be found.
A unique streetball feature is having an "MC" (from the term, "Master of Ceremonies") call the game. The MC is on the court during the game and is often very close to the players (but makes an effort to not interfere with the game) and uses a microphone to provide game commentary for the fans.
A popular variation of street basketball is the "21" game. "21" is played most often with 3-9 players on a half court and is a "every player for himself" game, with much looser rules than even streetball. Rules are fluid, often differing geographically or even by court. Sometimes it may seem that there are no rules. A very challenging game, it is popular because it allows an odd number of people to play, unlike regular basketball or other variants.
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- Sports Illustrated 1997 article
- Bounce.TV Website
- Online Streetball and Basketball Video Website
- Streetball Online Website
- Streetballin.net - Streetball news, updates, videos, interviews and forum
- Sports Illustrated's Top Summer BBall Courts
- Nofouls Community tool for finding and organizing streetball games.
- UKourt.com - Find and rate streetball courts and pickup basketball players