Friday, June 12, 2015

My Appreciation for NBA Basketball Players

You ever watch an NBA game, and wonder how these players can run up and down the court at a continuous, high-level of pace and wonder how they do it? Better yet, go find out for yourself and take your basketball to an official size basketball court, then dribble up and down the court, shoot baskets and do this for 5 to 10 minutes at a time.  Trust me; if you’re not in good shape, those minutes seem like hours as you struggle to breath, and focus. 

I used to be one of those guys that couldn’t understand why a player’s game participation was recorded by minutes.  Those game time minutes can work for you, or against you, just depends on your skill-set, and how good of shape you are in. Nowadays, I understand how physically challenging it can be to run up and down a basketball court, and play the game with all that physical contact.

From what I see as a fan from my television set, or even from the sidelines of a live game, it’s obvious to me; NBA Basketball Players are quick on their feet, they have artistic ball handling skills, they have total body awareness to control the way they jump, twist and turn as they approach the backboard to make a shot.  Also they are very athletic to avoid certain injuries to their bodies, and they possess the stamina and cardio traits to make their way up and down the basketball court for 48+ minutes per game.  

Running up and down the basketball court is just one facet of the game; once these players make their way to the other side of the court, the battles are won and lost inside the paint. Just watch the jostling, the elbowing, the pushing, the shoving, and the fighting for position to get open, or to snag a rebound off the backboard.  Do you know how much energy it takes to battle inside the paint to position yourself to get the open to receive the ball, let alone get off a clean shot?

Now do that for 82 days, 48 minutes plus per game.  In my opinion, no other sport is physically demanding as basketball.  Hockey has 4 to 5 lines of fresh body’s; football has a separate offense and defense with 40 seconds between plays, and baseball, a player can fall asleep in the outfield and not miss a beat. Yes, each sport mentioned has their own breaks in periods, quarters, and network breaks, but you can understand the point being made.

Now think about the mental aspects of the game. Just watch each team’s point-guard as they bring the ball down the court; he’s dribbling the ball, positioning his feet to setup a play, and calling out signs to his players. So much emphasis and practice is put into any given play, every player must focus, and execute to succeed.  In today’s game, it is expected that every player on the court can shot and score, and that includes the center position.  All 5 starting players must be in tip-top shape and a good IQ for the game to be productive on the floor.

In summary, even if you don’t care much for the game of basketball, you have to respect what it takes for a player to motivate himself to prepare and practice to be a professional basketball player. The countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears that each and every player puts in the gym to get an opportunity to play this great game of basketball.

Author: Mark Aiello, owner of Basketball Hoops Online - 6/12/15