1. Introduce a “hot potato” element
There’s nothing quite as exciting as watching the shot clock dwindle closer to zero, but I think we could amp it up even more. It’s not enough that the other team gets the ball, I think the ball should explode — kind of like a game of hot potato plus a showering of confetti. Adding a more dangerous element to the game will increase the pace and possibly lead to some injuries, but I never claimed these ideas would make the game better — only more interesting.
2. Switch up the outfits
Having each team wear the same colors gets so boring, and orange and blue isn’t the best color combo ever invented. I propose we let the players wear whatever they want, but no two players can wear the same outfit. I’m talking patterned leggings, bright sneakers and short shorts circa 1970. The game would become just as much about the fashion sense of the players as the skills they each possess. Now that’s a bandwagon I can hop on.
3. Have non-athletes enter the game
Whenever people watch sporting events, they somehow become experts in the sport as if they’re retired players or all-star coaches. But truth be told, if any of us tried to go up against even the least-skilled benchwarmer, we would have no chance. So if each team had to sub from the audience, those people could serve as a benchmark for how a mediocre person would play the game. Maybe it would cut down on the amount of hate the players get when they mess up — you and I both know you couldn’t do any better.
4. No hands
This idea will sound a little crazy at first, but hear me out — the players can’t use their hands. “But how will they score?” you ask. “How will they do anything?” Do not fear, for I have a solution. Have you ever seen those baby carriers that look like backpacks to hold children? Well, those are exactly the answers we’re looking for in the no-hands dilemma. Each adult player wears a baby carrier and gets an elementary school-aged child strapped to their back. Not only will the adults have to learn to run backwards so their backpack kid can dribble, but they’ll have to be mindful of the tiny person now attached to them when running into other players. Is this feasible? No. But is it interesting? You can bet your bottom dollar it is.
5. The floor is a trampoline. Or a waterbed.
Basketball courts are way too easy to walk on if you ask me. I’m also always secondhand cringing when I hear someone fall and slide on the hardwood. So for player safety and optimized fun, we should really give the courts an upgrade. Trampoline parks are really cool, and think about how awesome it’d be to watch Dominique Toussaint or Jack Salt block someone in midair. Or maybe a waterbed floor would be an even better idea. Wrestling for the ball would become much more difficult and much more fun to watch.
6. A new position — the court jester
The court jester’s position would be simple — distract the teams as much as you can. The jester would be impartial, like the referees, so they could do whatever they wanted to any player. There are no limits to the lengths a court jester could go in order to break concentration or stop a team from scoring. Personally, I think I’d be great at this job. My weapon of choice would of course be the T-shirt cannon.
7. New points system
The points system of only scoring a basket worth one, two or three points is outdated. Those numbers are so small that they create no desperation, and they don’t allow for special circumstances. But don’t worry, I have some ideas for a revamp. First, if an audience sub scores a basket — see entry number three — that would be worth 10 points. If a player shoots an airball, they lose however many points they were trying for. If each player on the team touches the ball before it goes in the basket, they earn 15 points. If the head coach sinks a shot, seven points are awarded. With these new values, the game could change in the course of one basket and possibly erupt into chaos.
8. Fewer games, higher stakes.
Sport seasons last way too long. I feel like basketball has been going on for 12 years, at least. I also think the amount of games also leads to lower stakes if there’s a loss. Sure, it hurts a team’s rating, but they can always come back and win all of their other games. Basically, I don’t think the penalty for losing is dire enough. But if we only allow each team five games, the season will quickly turn into a do-or-die extravaganza for the best record. I’m all here for it.
9. New penalties
In basketball, if you foul someone, they get to go to the free throw line and try their luck at gaining some extra points. But where’s the fun in that? Implementing a penalty box would lead to an exciting yet uneven matchup. Or maybe the player that committed the foul would have to wear a blindfold for a minute. I can’t imagine anything funnier than watching some huge, lanky player stumble around on the floor just trying to figure out where the action is while avoiding tripping and making a fool of themselves.
10. Let me be the announcer
I don’t know if you’ve ever really listened to the sports announcers, but only a fraction of what they say requires any sports knowledge and so much of it is yelling. This is why I’d be great at the job! I have basic sport smarts, but I think my lack of knowledge and loud voice will make my sportscasting even better. I’d comment on outfits, errors and the perfect coach that is Tony Bennett. I can’t promise that you’d learn anything from listening to me, but I’d at least be entertaining.