The Fung Bros.’ video on NBA Moves got me thinking about the artistic nature of the athletic performance of basketball moves and scoring.
Even though the ultimate goal is to win by outscoring one’s opponent, it isn’t enough that the players just get the ball into the hoop as many times as possible. Methodology necessitates that players try to keep the other team from scoring by getting the ball back or “fouling” them. In baseball, the pitcher strikes out the batters; in football, the defense keeps the other team from getting another set of downs, sacks the quarterback, or intercepts the ball; in hockey and futbol, and I imagine to a similar extent basketball, each team tries to get the puck/ball to score. Hence, the back-and-forth quality of these three sports compared to baseball and football, where the former is more stationary and the latter consists of a series of stop-and-go’s.
In addition to the technique and skills required to put the ball in the hoop, though, does a player have to execute these plays with ostensibly intentional rhythmic and complex footwork? Is the footwork a byproduct of trying to get the ball close enough to the hoop to dunk? The more I watch a variety of basketball plays, the more I see artistry in the physics of that choreography no matter how (co)incidental.
Basketball game-play impresses me as being more unpredictable than football. The gridiron is a much larger stage and the fluidity of certain plays contributes to the notion that every outcome is planned. It seems that basketball invites and involves more improvisation down the court.