Close this search box.

Is Basketball a Hobby?

Old caucasian man in a wheelchair playing hobby basketball with an able bodied young black male

Is Basketball a Hobby?

Basketball has become a global sport that’s played and watched in many countries worldwide. Although it’s been defined as an active sport that involves many skills, I’d argue that it’s a great hobby that can be enjoyed in all kinds of settings and at many paces.

Whether you’re playing a full-court game, utilizing skills to play different variations, watching games, or playing basketball video games, lovers of the game have devised several ways to enjoy basketball. As a result of the game growing globally, and with more exposure everywhere, a common question that’s asked is “Is basketball a hobby?”

How Is Basketball Played?

Basketball is a game where a point is scored by shooting a ball into a basketball hoop. To score a point efficiently, various skills are required including shooting, dribbling, and passing.

In a full-court game, for which basketball is most known, two separate teams participate with each having five players playing against each other. The game consists of offense and defense as teams try to prevent the opponent from shooting the ball into theirs.

Any team in possession of the basketball tries to attack by getting the ball to the other end of the court while keeping it away from the defending team. The attacking team can move the ball by passing between its five players, shooting, or dribbling i.e. bouncing the ball while on the move and evading the opponent’s challenges.

When the ball gets to a shooting range, an attacking player can shoot by guiding the ball through the opponent’s basket. Depending on the distance and the situation, shots can be worth one, two, or three points.

In a standard basketball game, two opposing teams with five players each contest against each other. The game is played on a rectangular court, usually 94 by 50 feet in dimension for the National Basketball Association (NBA) and slightly smaller (91.9 by 49.2 ft) under the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) rules.

Basketball courts can be seen in parks and yards all over the world and require only a ball for activity. Recreational centers often have courts for the community to utilize safely.

Why Would Someone Say Basketball Is Not a Hobby?

Critics of the game have raised some points on why basketball shouldn’t be called a hobby. They include:

  • Its Competitive Nature – Hobbies are things you do just for pure fun. Some people believe that when sports like Basketball are played, the competitive edge replaces the need to have fun, and people start playing to win the game rather than enjoy it.

  • It is Physically Exerting – Some critics believe that sports shouldn’t be considered hobbies because they are physically exerting.

So, Is Basketball a Hobby?

According to, a hobby is an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation without it being a primary occupation. Lovers of basketball have created many variations of the game to ensure that it can be played as a hobby by almost all categories of people.

Some variations only need you to shoot the basketball into the hoop without having to run around. These variations help to ensure that those who do not desire to run can enjoy the game and test their shooting skills.

Basketball can be played in swimming pools and from wheelchairs. It does not have an age limit. The young, middle-aged, and older populations can play variations modified to their capability and preference. The strict rules in professional basketball can be discarded to make the game more flexible and enjoyable for those who are only seeking to have fun.

The argument that its competitive nature often overrides the need to have fun only holds for official games of basketball. The variations played as hobbies are way less competitive. You can afford to have fun and show off your skills among friends and teammates.

Group of 4 multi ethnic and gender people playing basketball on a court

What Makes Hobby Basketball Different from Organized Professional Basketball?

There are several differences between a professional game of basketball and a game played as a hobby. They include:

  • Extreme Training – A professional basketball player spends more time training than they do on the court playing official games. Professional games now involve extreme training and perfection of game-winning tactics. This can get boring very quickly as opposed to playing it as a hobby where you get to have fun and enjoy your game.

  • Rules and Restrictions – Unlike professional basketball which is governed by strict rules, hobby basketball can be tweaked in several ways to the players’ taste. There are no referees, no fixed time, no limit on substitutions, no timeouts, etc.

  • Intensive Competitive Nature – It’s hard to enjoy something when you have so much at stake if you lose. Of course, when you win, the happiness is unmatched. However, losing brings an equal amount of sadness. Hobby basketball ensures everyone enjoys themselves out there without the fear of losing.

  • You Can Play with Unskilled Peers – When you play organized basketball, any mistake can put you at risk of being substituted. However, in hobby basketball, mistakes add to the fun and often bring about a good laugh from teammates and opponents alike because both skilled and unskilled players play it for fun. There is no pressure or hard feelings when you lose.

How Can I Play Basketball as a Hobby?

Basketball has been modified in several ways to allow almost everyone to enjoy it as a hobby, whether you’re a professional or a novice. The following are some of the ways to play basketball as a hobby.

Modified Basketball Games to Play

  • Pick-Up Basketball – Depending on the number of players available, you can play full court (5 v 5) or half court (3 v 3). Usually, the first team to score 21 points wins the game. There are no referees in this game.

  • 21 – The requirements for the game include a basketball, a basketball hoop, half-court, and at least three players. It is an individual game where each player has their score and the first to reach exactly 21 points wins the game.

  • Bump – This game requires a basketball hoop, two basketballs, and a few players. There is no limit to the number of players that can play this game. All the players are lined up behind one another from the free-throw line. After player one makes a shot from the free throw line, player two is allowed to shoot the other basketball.

If player one scores their first shot before player two, the ball is passed to player three. If not, player one tries to score their rebound before player two can score their shot. If player two scores before player one, player one is bumped or eliminated from the game. This continues until a last person is standing.

  • Around the World – This can be played by two or more players. The players decide on several shooting positions and then try to make all their shots. The only player to score all the shots from all selected positions wins the game.

  • Swimming Pool Basketball – While this is not as mobile as court basketball, it is an enjoyable game that is played in the pool. All you need are a pool basketball hoop, a basketball, and a few players and you’re good to go.

Benefits of Playing Hobby Basketball

Most people engage in their hobbies to relax or enjoy their free time. However, playing basketball allows you to do this with added benefits. They include:

  • Builds Physical Fitness – As fun as playing basketball is, it is equally as rewarding if you’re looking to build up your physical fitness. The constant running, jumping, and maneuvering ensures that your muscles are constantly stretched.

  • Cardiovascular Exercise– When you’re constantly running around, you tend to burn a lot of calories and keep your physical fitness at a respectable level. You’re less prone to diseases caused by obesity, and your body is in great condition.

  • Is a Social Hobby – Basketball allows you to meet new people and bond with strangers due to a shared love of the game. You don’t have to go to the arenas to play basketball. You can play pick-up basketball at the local basketball courts in your streets.

  • Teaches Teamwork – Teamwork makes the dream work! Working with your teammate gives you a much better chance of winning.

  • Leads to Happiness – As expected of a hobby, you derive a lot of pleasure by playing the variations of Basketball.

Verdict: Basketball is Both a Sport and a Hobby

Basketball isn’t just a sport, it is one of the most popular and widely accepted sports globally. Its physical nature, competitiveness, and the fact that a set of official rules determine how it is played make it similar to other natural sports.

However, while professional basketball is competitive, physically demanding, and unfit for a hobby, several other variations of basketball have been created to allow it to be played as a hobby. These variations remove the restrictions and ensure that the young, old, and the physically challenged can enjoy the game during their free time.

Basketball is both a sport and a hobby. You get to decide how you want to play it.

Some Common Rules of Professional Basketball

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) are the two most crucial official Basketball organizations, and they determine the rules of the sport. Some of the most common rules include:

  • Players and Substitutions – Each team has five players. At no point in the game should a team have more than five players in the game. The eligible substitutes on the bench can replace any of the players.

  • Points – A shot is worth three points if it is made anywhere on the court beyond the 3-point arc of the opponent, and it is worth two points if it is made within the arc and closer to the basket. One point is awarded for free throws awarded after a foul.

  • Free Throws – These are unhindered shots awarded to a team by the referee after a specified number of fouls by their opponents or if a defensive team fouls a shooter from the offensive team.

  • Violations – Common basketball violations include traveling (moving both feet illegally without dribbling), double dribble, and backcourt violation (once the offensive team has advanced the ball past the mid-court line, they cannot go back across the line while in possession of the ball).

Looking for more hobbies to try? Check out our long list of activities

Keep up with new Hobbies

Join our list

Designed by MS Digital Agency