To someone from another country, the American sports landscape might be a little bit confusing. What the rest of the world calls “football” is known as “soccer” in the United States. Soccer is actually pretty widely played in the U.S., especially by young people. As a spectator sport, however, it’s what corporations would call a “niche market.” It gets more confusing because, while Americans often complain that soccer/football is a bit boring to watch, baseball, aka “America’s pastime,” consists largely of waiting. Meanwhile American football (which is just “football” here, leading to occasional confusion as you can imagine) is a violent and exciting but also rather arcane game with many complicated rules.
No wonder then that basketball hoops are becoming a bigger export than they’ve ever been. A game so deceptively simple anyone can figure out the object almost immediately (scoring points by throwing balls into basketball hoops), basketball has a long and fascinating history and it is definitely one of the sports which America most obsesses over. Just visit almost any American city with a college, or without one, during “March madness,” when universities vie for the top spot. If that American city happens to have casinos with sports books, you’ll see even more madness. The play-offs and finals for the championship of the National Basketball Association (NBA) are nearly as “mad.”
Basketball is definitely an exciting game to play and the good news is that all you really need is a hard surface of some kind, say a gymnasium floor or vacant outdoor parking area, regulation basketballs and regulation basketball hoops. The rules can be learned immediately online but the principle is impossible to miss. You won’t be any closer to playing like a Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant than you would be to a David Beckham, but since when has that been the point? Have fun.