Why Americans Love Basketball So Much
It’s a well-established fact by now that certain nations have their national sports.
Arguably the English have soccer, Australia has cricket and New Zealand have a rugby union. However, it’s hard to pin one down for the USA as there’s plenty of sports that they love for different reasons, although one such winner here maybe basketball.
Since its inception back in the mid-forties, the NBA hasn’t been without those players who have made themselves legends and, as a result, turned fans onto the sport in that way. The likes of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jordan over the years have helped to raise both the prominence and quality of the game and therefore positioned the NBA as the world’s premier basketball division. In the last few years, the creation of superteams such as the Golden State Warriors and the Brooklyn Nets have helped to continue to bring the game to the next generation and keep it entertaining.
Another reason why the NBA has been such a popular game is because of its accessibility. In a similar vein to soccer in the UK, basketball is a relatively simple game to understand, unlike perhaps American football and in part baseball, the other two big staples of American sport. Fundamentally, while the actual rules of the game may be a complicated affair, to the average onlooker, it makes for exciting viewing. Accessibility can be seen to have increased thanks to developments in technology such as through the associated video games that have gone hand in hand with the sport for many years. In the same way, as FIFA has done for soccer, the NBA 2K series has allowed fans to play out the games they want to see and also opened up the sport to a much bigger audience.
In addition, considering that basketball is also a game with constant action and very little in the way of stoppages, it’s little surprise why this has translated into such high levels of popularity. In a similar vein to this, as is also the case with soccer, basketball is also a game with a lot of theatres and intriguing little tricks that make the game pleasing and fun to watch. The trick shot in basketball has been immortalized by teams such as the infamous Harlem Globetrotters who, as an exhibition side, have brought an element of comedy and trickery into the game that wouldn’t normally be seen in the proper professional game.
Intriguingly, the popularity of the Globetrotters themselves acts as a nice exhibition of how popular the sport behind them is, as they’ve been immortalized, for instance, in animated form with Scooby-Doo, as well as countless other television shows and cameos and appearances in plenty of other forms of mass media.
As much as basketball can be practically the USA’s national sport as a result of its immense popularity, there are others that are played on American soil that has also garnered popularity. The likes of baseball have become enshrined in the American psyche thanks to legends such as Babe Ruth, while in more recent times, soccer has also become more prevalent.
It can be argued that in any guise, be it through the domestic game in the MLS or the increased American interest in the European leagues, soccer is becoming more visible in the USA. Teams such as Manchester City have caught the imagination of many due to their beautiful style of play and their dominance, as reflected in the soccer odds where they are priced at 1/500 to win the league. Pep Guardiola’s side is still on course for what would be a legendary quadruple, although they still have a significant way to go.
There is no doubt that basketball has to be one of the most popular sports not only in America but across the world to thanks to its worldwide presence and some of the stars that the sport has produced. The following years are likely to see more legends be made and stars created and, as a result, maintain the sport’s status at the very top of the American sports pyramid.