Basketball can played with very little equipment. That is why it has become one of the most popular sports to play in the world. With a growing presence in the United States, China, Europe, and many other countries, basketball has a loyal fanbase that is only getting stronger. Basketball can be played outdoors on asphalt and dirt or indoors on wooden floors. If you're getting ready to play a pickup game, here's a list of equipment you'll need to bring. We've included pictures for each item, so you can make sure you have everything you need to play.
- basketball court
- the ball
- hoop (i.e. rim, net, backboard)
- arm sleeve
- shot clock
The Basketball Court
Basketball can be played on a court made of a variety of surfaces and can be played indoors and outdoors. You can play on concrete, wood, asphalt, and dirt. Any type of court will work as long as you can bounce the ball repeatedly off the ground.
Indoor basketball courts will have a key, also known as the paint, that is used for shooting free throws and calling paint violations. If you're playing outdoors at a park, you will likely have to measure the distance to the free throw line yourself.
You'll need a ball to play the game. Today, basketballs are either made with synthetic materials such as rubber, polyester, and nylon in combination with leather. In the NBA, the pressure of the ball must be between 7.5 and 8.5 pounds. The size of the ball measures 29.5 inches around in circumference. There are smaller sizes you can get for kids of various ages between 12-14, 9-11, and 5-8 years old.
PRO TIP: Did you know that the NBA has up to nine game balls present at all times for a single game?
There are two types of games you can play. If you're playing pickup basketball, you can play half court with one hoop instead of full court with two hoops. Basketball hoops consist of a backboard, rim, net, and metal post that holds it up in the air.
An official NBA backboard made of transparent glass, but a wooden or metal backboard will also work. In the NBA, the backboard measures 6ft wide by 3.5ft tall. If you want to have a fancy backboard, you can have it light up with red LEDs to match when the shot clock expires.
The Rim And Net
The basket and rim have a pressure release, that allows it to bend when players dunk and hold onto it. The rim is a metal ring with an 18in diameter. The ring is attached to the backboard 10ft above the ground.
If you're going to play in a basketball game, make sure you and your team has a great uniform. Basketball uniforms consist of a jersey, shorts, a pair of socks. Optionally, you can add your own personal touch to your uniform by adding a headband or arm sleeve.
You should keep in mind that you may be required to have a different uniform for home games versus away games. In some leagues like the NCAA, the home team must wear jerseys with light colors, while the away team must wear jerseys with dark colors. These color differences prevent confusion during play.
The jersey is your identity. It includes your name on the back and numerals on both the front and back that identify who you are. On the front of a jersey is your team's logo and branding. Jersey sizing comes in the traditional x-small, small, medium, large, x-large, xx-large and take into account your height, chest size, waist, and hips.
A throwback jersey is one that was worn by a famous player or team in a previous season. Choosing a throwback jersey that was worn by your favorite player might give you the edge you were looking for on the court.
Check out a Michael Jordan throwback jersey or a Lebron James throwback jersey. Old school jerseys like the original Phoenix Suns jersey is always a great choice.
Another piece of equipment that is essential to your uniform are shorts. If you're playing outside in cold weather, you may want to choose pants. However, if you're playing indoors you'll want to stick with shorts since you'll start sweating once you play. If you're playing in a league match, the colors of your shorts should match your jersey. If you're playing a pickup game, you can wear any colors you want as long as the other team knows which side your own.
You may not think socks are important, but they prevent friction between your feet and the shoes. Having a nice pair of socks will prevent blisters from forming on your heels and toes. There's also the never-ending debate on long socks versus short socks. You should decide which one looks the best for your look.
A good pair of shoes will give you an edge on the court. They will allow you to move laterally and perform quick cuts to beat defensive players. Unfortunately, not all shoes are created equal and you should try them on at the store to make sure they fit comfortably. Some of the biggest brands are Nike, Adidas, and Under Armor.
REMEMBER: New basketball shoes may need some time to break in until they are comfortable.
Basketball Arm Sleeves
Another optional piece of attire is an arm sleeve. Also known as compression sleeves, this article of clothing not only looks good, but it aids in muscle recovery on and off the court.
If you want to add a unique look to your personal style on the court, try adding a headband. You can rock a traditional cotton sweatband or use a branded dry fit bandana. Whichever style you choose, you're going to look great.
In the NBA and college basketball, players must wear a jersey with numerals, pants or shorts as part of their uniforms.
If you sweat a lot, you'll want to bring a towel to the game. There are many types of towels that range in size, color, and material.
The Shot Clock
A shot clock is a device that is used to keep track of the amount of time the offense has the ball. The shot clock lasts 24 seconds in the NBA, and 30 seconds in college basketball. It's a shot clock violation if the time runs out. You can connect a shot clock to the backboard, so it will light up red when the shot clock expires.