Pickup basketball is the birthplace of many NBA greats. It’s where legendary players built up their skills and learned to play with the best. From Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant to Damian Lillard and Jimmy Butler, at one point or another, every player plays pickup basketball either in a park or gym.
However, different from a professionally officiated NBA game, pickup basketball has many variations of rules and regulations to play by. Of course, it’s all based on where you play, who you’re playing against, and just how competitive the games are.
We decided to poll a number of former and current NBA players, owners, and media members to contribute to our list of unofficial rules around pickup basketball. Some of these conflict, but ultimately everyone has a different opinion on how pickup basketball should be played. In fact, Ringer author Shea Serrano dedicated almost two chapters to the subject in his upcoming book Basketball (and other Things), so if you can’t get enough, go ahead and preorder.
Now onto the rules: