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Unique-Perspective: Recreational Basketball

matt ·
Unique-Perspective: Recreational Basketball

Summer is the offseason for most basketball leagues and organizations but as Nike stated in a recent campaign “Basketball Never Stops”. As a former basketball player and self admitted basketball junkie myself, I know this to be true. The basketball season can be a grind for players of all ages and skill levels with the number of practices and games but summer is a time to get back to the basics. A time to enjoy pickup games with friends or simply shooting around in the driveway.

The AAU circuit and tournaments continue into the summer but beyond that are games like Around the World, H.O.R.S.E, Knockout and Twenty One to name a few.

In my experience, these games can get as competitive as any organized game and a little trash talk never hurts. All in good fun, of course.

If you’re not familiar with any of these games, it’s simple. All you need is a ball, hoop and an opponent. It’s home court rules, so interpretations of each game may vary but I find these to be the most common.

Around the World: Around the World is a game played with one shooter taking a number of shots in positions around the court of your choosing or most suited to your ability. The goal is to be the first to make your way “Around the World” by making shots at all selected locations, advancing to the other side of the court and back. If a shot is missed, the player has an opportunity to take a second shot and risk returning to the starting position with a miss or to play it safe and stay at that location, giving the opponent an opportunity to shoot.

H.O.R.S.E: H.O.R.S.E or P.I.G. if you’re short on time, is one of the more recognizable basketball games in play and also the most simple. Challenging or creative shots are taken by a player and must be matched by the competitor. Fail to make the same shot as the player before you and you’re assigned a letter. In the end, you don’t want to be the PIG - trash talk ensues.

Knockout: Knockout starts with two or more players lined up at a shooting location on the court. The goal is to shoot and score as quickly as possible with a miss giving the second person in line an opportunity to score and “knockout” or eliminate you with a made basket. It’s a scramble to score quickly but knockout often rewards the patient who set up to take and make their first shot. Last man or woman standing wins.

Twenty One: The game of Twenty One is a bit more complicated and is often open to several interpretations of the rules. Twenty One requires three or more players and opens with one player “breaking” by throwing the ball off of the rim from distance. Once the ball is live, each individual is rewarded for a made basket with three free throws. First to 21 points without going over that mark wins. This requires strategy with free throw makes and misses but be careful…each miss, in open play and at the line, is an opportunity for the opponent to tip you’re shot, or make the miss by jumping and scoring without touching the ground, sending you back to 0.

It’s important not to develop any bad habits in games like Knockout and Twenty One that often reward players for taking advantage of the less structured set of rules. With that said, each of these games can also help introduce new players to the game of basketball while also building valuable skills.

Summer basketball camps and 3 on 3 tournaments are a great way to get young athletes involved and excited about the game of basketball. Cedar Rapids , Iowa (home of Unique-Sports) hosts several camps through various schools in the area as well as tournaments for all ages. Find events in your community and get involved.

Of course, you don’t need to find a camp or tournament to get in the game. We offer a variety of basketball systems perfect for backyard or driveway play. From in-ground to portable and everything in between.

Goalsetter Systems, Inc. located just down the road from Unique-Sports in Lynnville, Iowa; produce some of the highest quality systems on the market today. We recommend Goalsetter systems for all ages and both residential and institutional use. The adjustable height settings and durability make it a great system for young athletes to learn on and will last for years to come.


If you have any questions about products or just the rules of game, please feel free to ask. That’s what makes us Unique.

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