Streetball is an urban form of basketball, played on playgrounds and in gymnasiums across the world. Usually only one side of the court is used, but otherwise the rules of the game are very similar to those of professional basketball. The number of participants in a game, or a "run", may range from one defender and one attacker (known as "one on one" or "man-to-man") to two full teams of five each.

Streetball is a very popular game worldwide, and some cities in the United States have organized streetball programs, such as midnight basketball, as a way for young people to keep out of trouble and avoid problems such as juvenile crime and drugs. Many cities even host their own weekend-long streetball tournaments. Hoop-It-Up and the Houston Rockets Blacktop Battle are two of the most popular. In recent years, streetball has seen an increase in notoriety and exposure in media due in part to television shows such as ESPN's "Streetball" and "City Slam", as well as traveling exhibitions such as the AND1 Mixtape Tour and Ball4Real.

Rules and features

While the rules of Streetball are essentially/theoretically the same as normal basketball, Streetball places a higher emphasis on one-on-one matchups between the offense and defender. Often the attacker will perform numerous flashy moves while attempting to drive to the basket, including crossovers, jab steps, and other fake-out tricks. Streetball often features spectacular dunks and alley oops, impressive
ball handling, and trash talking. Also featured in streetball are moves. A move is either used to trick the defender to look away, or just to confuse. There are many different moves in streetball.

Rules vary widely from court to court. Almost invariably a "call your own foul" rule is in effect, and a player who believes he has been fouled, simply needs to call out "Foul!" or "And 1!", and play will be stopped, with the ball awarded to the fouled player's team. If a foul has been called during or after a shot has been taken the call will be ignored and the shot will be counted if the player makes the basket. The etiquette of what rightly constitutes a foul, as well as the permissible amount of protestation against such a call, are the products of individual social groups, as well as of the level of seriousness of a particular game. An outsider at a playground should closely observe the status quo in these matters. Some areas where different interpretations of rules are likely to occur are: 1) travelling - whether a step is permissible prior to dribbling, and how many more than the nominally permitted one and a half steps should be allowed at the end of the dribble. 2) hand (and leg) - checking on defense - how much can one touch the person one defends and how much physical pressure may one apply in so doing.

A common feature to Streetball is the 'pick up game'. To participate in most Streetball games across the world one simply goes to an outdoor court where people are playing, indicate a wish to participate, and once all the players "who were at the court before you" have played you will get to pick your team out of the players available and play a game. Many games play up to 7, 11, 15 or 21 points with all baskets counting as one point (sometimes shots beyond the 3 point arc count as 2 points). Players often play 'win by 2' which, as in tennis, means that the team has to win by a margin of at least 2 clear points. Sometimes a local "dead end" limit applies; for instance a game may be played to 7, win by 2, with a 9 point dead end, which would mean scores of 7-5, 8-6, 9-7, or 9-8, would all be final; while with scores of 7-6 or 8-7, play would continue. The most common streetball game is 3 on 3 played half court though often 5 on 5 full court can be found.

Sometimes in a half-court game, a "winners take out" rule is followed. This means that if a team scores, they get the ball again on offense. So theoretically, the opposing team could end up not ever getting the ball on offense if the "winners" never miss a shot. Full court basketball is not played with these rules. But in "all" instances, the winning team gets to choose which basketball and usually which direction (which basket) they get to use.

A unique streetball feature is having an "MC" call the game. The MC is on the court during the game and is often very close to the players (but makes an effort to not interfere with the game) and uses a microphone to provide game commentary for the fans.


A popular variation of street basketball is 21, also known as "Hustle," "American," "St. Mary's," or "Crunch." 21 is played most often with 3-5 players on a half court, typically when not enough players have arrived at the playground to "run 3's" (play 3-on-3). However it is possible to play "21" with only two players, or more than 5. Further, in some forms, players can freely enter the game after it has begun, starting at zero points or being "spotted" the same number as the player with the lowest score. "21" is an "every player for themself" game, with highly variable rules. Similar to a poker game, the rules of "21" are usually agreed by the players at the beginning of the game to clarify which options are to be used.

The typical rules of "21" are:
* one player "breaks" to begin the game by shooting from 3 point range. Sometimes players agree that the "break" must not be a successful shot, in order to give every player an equal chance at rebounding to gain the 1st possession of the game
* the normal foul rule is in effect
* baskets are scored as 2's and 3's (as opposed to 1's and 2's like Streetball)
* after a successful shot, the shooter can take up to three 1-point free-throws, but as soon as he misses, the ball may be rebounded by anyone; meanwhile if he makes all three shots, he then gets to keep the ball and check up at the top of the arc
* after any change of possession, the ball should be cleared past the 3 point line (or at times just out of the key)
* in order to win, a player must make exactly 21 points; if he goes over then he restarts back at either 13 or 11 points, depending on the players' preference
* whoever wins the game starts with the ball at the beginning of the next game
* no fouls are called unless there is obvious injury (commonly referred to as "No blood, no foul")
* other typical basketball rules, such as out-of-bounds are also frequently ignored

Common additional rules include:
* a player can attempt a 3-pointer in lieu of attempting three free-throws
* if a missed shot is "tipped in" by another player without their feet touching the ground, then the shooter's score reverts to zero (or thirteen if their score was over thirteen); this rule may not apply on free-throws
* if a player who has 13 points misses their next shot, regardless of whether it is a free-throw, then their points revert to zero. This is referred to as "poison points"
* whoever wins the game must shoot a three-pointer in order to start with the ball at the beginning of the next game; if he makes it, he gets the three points, but doesn't have to take free-throws, and starts with the ball
* players with less than 13 points at the end of a game keep their points into the next game (a sort of handicap system for when there is a wide variation in skill amongst the players)

"21" is considered a very challenging game, especially because the offensive player must go up against several defenders at the same time. For this reason, it is exceedingly difficult to "drive to the hole" and make lay-ups in "21." Therefore, and also because of the emphasis on free-throws, "21" is very much a shooter's game, and because a successful shot means you keep the ball, it is possible for there to be epic come-backs when a player recovers from a large deficit by not missing any shots (this can also result in epic failure when they miss their final free-throw at 20 points and revert back to 13).

"21" is popular because it allows an odd number of people to play, unlike regular basketball or other variants.

Another less common streetball variant, often referred to as "Boston," results in essentially a one-on-one (or sometimes two-on-two) tournament between any number of players. Each match is played following normal one-on-one rules, including violations (such as fouls and out-of-bounds) to just one point. The winner remains on the court and gets to take the ball out while the loser returns to the end of the line of players waiting to step on the court. The first player to win a set number of matches (usually 7 or 11) wins the game.

One great advantage that this game has over 21 is that players seem to play their hardest and at a high level of intensity, whereas many players in 21 seem to be very relaxed or even laxydaisical until the ball comes to them. This is due to the fact that no one wants to have to sit out if they lose the match.

Major organized streetball crews

Streetball is often generalized as a "pick-up game", where players may or may not know one another, and is for the most part recreational. But recent years has seen the rise of organized streetball crews, such as AND1. With AND1 setting the precedent, many crews train as a team specifically for streetball and often play in exhibitions. Some crews present slickly produced videos and DVDs for sale or available on sites like YouTube displaying highlights, dunks, and tricks. Streetball teams like Ruff Ryders, Terror Squad, and others which compete in summer leagues, such as EBC, tend to play a more "serious" game with less tricks, as the stakes are higher (the games not being exhibitions / friendly matches).

Famous streetballers

* Taurian "Mr. 720" Fontenette
* Grayson "The Professor" Boucher
* Phillip Champion aka Hot Sauce/Sizzle
* Ed "Booger" Smith
* Earl "The Goat" Manigault
* Richard "Pee Wee" Kirkland
* Raymond Lewis
* Connie "The Hawk" Hawkins
* Earl "The Pearl" Monroe
* Nate Robinson
* Lloyd "Swee' Pea" Daniels
* Roberto "Exile" Yong
* Tony "Go Get It" Jones
* Hugh "Baby Shack" Jones
* John "Helicopter" Humphrey
* Robert "50" Martin
* Cardell "Ballaholic" Butler
* Kelvin "Hometown Kid" Wylie
* Emmanuel "Hard Work" Bibb
* Aaron "AO" Owens
* Rafer Alston aka Skip 2 My Lou
* Sebastian "Bassy" Telfair
* Stephon "Starbury" Marbury
* Jamar "The Pharmacist" Davies
* Jamaal "The Abuser" Tinsley
* Allen "The Answer" Iverson
* Kevin "Bizzness" Butler
* Brandon "The Assassin" Durham
* Bobbito García
* Deshun "Father Time" Jackson
* Demetrius "Hook" Mitchell
* Jack "Black Jack" Ryan
* Slick Watts
* Chen Jianghua
* Jason "White Chocolate" Williams
* Sergio "Spanish Chocolate" Rodríguez
* Pat "Da Roc" Robinson
* Mike "Ghost" Zanidean
* Darren "DP a.k.a. Primal Fear" Phillip
* Kareem "The Best Kept Secret" Reid

treetball in popular media

* NBA Street series video game series by EA Sports
* NBA Ballers video game by Midway (2004)
* AND 1 Streetball video game by Ubisoft (2006)
* The Longest Yard
* American History X
* Above The Rim
* Crossover (film)
* He Got Game
* Who's Got Game?, a television program broadcast on MTV
* White Men Can't Jump
* City Slam, a television program broadcast on ESPN
* STREETBALL - a popular program by ESPN , featuresAND1
* Harlem Beat - manga series by Yuriko Nishiyama

External links

* [ Streetball] - Streetball news, updates, videos, interviews and forum
* [http://www.Youhoop.Net Youhoop.Net] Find Nationwide Comptetion, Tournaments, and "Hot Spots"
* [] Basketball and Hip-Hop Lifestyle, streetball videos, tricks and more
* [] - Streetball news & updates, videos, moves, and interviews
* [] Canada based streetball/events website
* [] Basketball and Streetball blog, baller interviews and schedules
* [] UK based streetball website
* [ Streetball] Streetball legends
* [ Urban Freestyler] Streetball Crew
* [ Streetball] coverage
* [ AND1] Official site of the video game
* [ Streetball21] - Streetball video, training, news and info
* [ BallerProfiles] Social Network Similar to Myspace for Streetballers
* [] Sport Arena Streetball - streetball in Europe

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