Obtaining skills comes down to repetition. Adaptation is built through thousands of reps, and the game of basketball is no different. You have to get your runs in. Rec ball is good for a few games, AAU and school ball keep you busy, but there’s no way around it. In order to ascend the ladder of ball, you have to find constant ways to run. Enter the streets.
Every day, no matter what, the courts exist. Whether anyone shows up or not. High schools, middle schools, parks, concrete surrounded by a cage. A place to ball. Show up, hang around, get a game in.
Organized basketball and streetball are different worlds. The streets don’t have refs, keep stats, or give a care for you at all. They give you something different. A mathematically flawed scoring system. Streetball math.
All across the country, street players substitute 2s for 1s, and 3s for 2s. The problem is obvious yet widely unrecognized. Let’s use a typical game to 21 as an example, win by two. Team 1 wins the game 21 to 19 after making 10 two point field goals and 1 regular field goal. Team 2 had 19 regular field goals. Using traditional scoring, team 1 loses the game 32 to 38. It’s an overvaluation for the long ball, and it’s absolute fucking bullshit.
One more example for the sake of breaking this abomination down to its lowest common denominator. In regular scoring, two three pointers are worth the same as three field goals. In the flawed system, two “threes” beat three field goals four to three. Streetball math doesn’t work.
Unfortunately, trying to explain this on a library basketball court at noon on a Sunday falls on deaf ears. Despite the basic math involved, no one gets it. Head scratching is the best you can expect. The only successful compromise I’ve managed is to convince a group to play to 42 using regular scoring. Win by three.
It’s a problem to cut off at the root. Next time you are involved in a game of 21, do not stand for ones and twos. Stand instead for the integrity of the game. Altering the scoring system does only harm to developing players, influencing them to become YMCA assholes who chuck random threes without getting back on defense. It comes down to the love of the game, and to the responsibility of defending its sanctity. Do what you want with it, but ask yourself one question.