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Height-Irrelevant Basketball

Making it more fair for almost anyone.
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(+2, -1)
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We all know that basketball favors tall people more than short people. This Idea is an attempt to correct that problem. But first, see the link, that shows how average heights have changed over time, and remember that the game was invented in 1891.

The height of the basketball hoop appears to be 10 feet (3.05m) even in international competition (where the court length and width is metric, but ALMOST exactly the same size as the US measurements).

In 1891 average male height in the USA, where the game was invented, was about 169cm. Dividing that into 305cm yields the number (rounded off) of 1.8.

Let us now, before the game begins, measure the heights of all the players, and enter the data into a special control-computer, along with the identification numbers being worn by the players. The computer is hooked up to multiple cameras around the court, and has appropriate recognition software installed.

We want the computer to be always able to find a good-enough image of whichever player is holding the ball, that it can read the number and identify the player --VERY quickly!

With that information the computer multiplies the height of the player by 1.8 and then sends a signal to some very high-speed motors mounted on the backboard-supports. The whole backboard with hoop is raised and lowered super-fast, to be 1.8 times the height of whoever is holding the ball.

This will add something of a danger factor for anyone standing too close to the hoop. Forming a mob of players in that vicinity will probably be discouraged severely (by the hardware if nothing else).

But the difficulty in getting the basketball through the hoop should no longer be reduced by an increase in the height of the player. Someone who is 2.2 meters tall will have to put the ball through a hoop that is 1.8 times that height, almost 4 meters above the ground.


An alternate height-adjustment idea is to subtract 305-169 and get 136. and simply add that number of centimeters to the player's height, to compute the appropriate hoop-height. I'm not sure which way is better, but experimentation is welcome!

Added June 11, 2015

A safer variation of this would involve a hoop-diameter tube coming out of the ground. The backboard would be a sort-of wall that also comes out of the ground. The hardware for raising and lowering both would be underground. Inside the tube, perhaps half-a-meter from the top, would be a ball- ejector gadget --triggered, of course, by any ball that reaches it.

Vernon, Jun 09 2015

Height chart http://www.randalol...ian-male-height.png
As mentioned in the main text. [Vernon, Jun 09 2015]

(?) Basketball Manufacturers and Suppliers http://www.exporter...ment/basketball.htm
Find Basketball manufacturers, exporters and suppliers business listings. Rubber Basketball manufacturers companies products classifieds with detailed catalogs [Exportersindia, Jun 15 2015]


       This would change the ideal basketball player from someone who is very tall to someone who is short enough to be nimble and agile and 'dribble' the ball close to the floor but still run fast - i.e. it just changes one physical attribute based selection criteria with another.
hippo, Jun 09 2015

       [hippo], I'm pretty sure that physically fit tall players could still compete well. Blocking, for example, isn't affected by this Idea. But they shouldn't dominate the sport.
Vernon, Jun 09 2015

       Why not just have a series of different height hoops, and allow the players to use whichever is most convenient?   

       In addition, you could give additional points for using an inconvenient hoop.
normzone, Jun 09 2015

       So, as long as you had a midget on your team, you could just wait until the tallest member of the opposing team was under the hoop and...
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 09 2015

       That linked graph is interesting - it shows a very significant and sustained decline in US heights over the last three decades.   

       The average American is almost 4 inches shorter than they would have been, had they continued to follow the same upward trend as other countries. This is presumably a nutritional thing.   

       In about 1900 years time, the average American will be smaller than a coffee mug.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 09 2015

       // The average American is almost 4 inches shorter than they would have been, had they continued to follow the same upward trend as other countries. This is presumably a nutritional thing. //   

       For most countries that have a relatively homogeneous population, one might be able to assume that. But the difference is more likely explained by shifting demographics due to immigration (note that other countries with more diverse populations, such as Canada and the United Kingdom are not shown on this graph).   

       // In about 1900 years time, the average American will be smaller than a coffee mug. //   

       Yes, but that doesn't tell the whole story. It would stand to reason that the adult height of children growing up in the United States follows the trend of other first world countries, and so it must simply be that not only is the number of immigrants increasing, but they're getting shorter. Eventually, you'd expect to see a country that is largely made up of microscopic immigrants whose children are all over thirty feet tall.
ytk, Jun 09 2015

       Oh, you've been to Australia then ?
8th of 7, Jun 09 2015

       Change the height of the hoop such that it is a very large percentage difference from the average height of the players, rendering the difference effectively the same for all players.   

       I propose a hoop 10 inches above the playing surface would be equally reachable by all players.   

       In case that appears to advantage extremely little players, alternatively the hoop could be mounted 150 feet above the surface.
tatterdemalion, Jun 09 2015

       //In about 1900 years time, the average American will be smaller than a coffee mug//   

       What about people who are 1/2 American?
AusCan531, Jun 10 2015

       They will be smaller than Two Mugs Of Coffee
hippo, Jun 10 2015

       This issue is minimised in wheelchair basketball. Also they keep the hoop at 10 feet too to make it more interesting
oneoffdave, Jun 10 2015

       I think the basket mechanics will probably be too slow. There should be a gradually falling height restriction as the game wears on.
4and20, Jun 10 2015

       Eliminate the basket altogether. Give each player a google glass or somesuch that projects two baskets, one where their ideal basket height is, and one where the player currently handling the ball is. When the ball is thrown with the right arc or bank shot potential, then points are scored.   

       Might be a tad boring for the fans to watch.
RayfordSteele, Jun 10 2015

       Make the court like a chessboard with each square a different height (perhaps in 10cm increments). Pad each player's shoes to the nearest 10cm. Colour each square and colour each player's shoes. Players are only permitted to stand on squares the same colour as their shoes.
pocmloc, Jun 10 2015

       //This is presumably a nutritional thing.//   

       Well, the immigration of millions from S.E. asia and latin america is probably a more likely cause.
bs0u0155, Jun 10 2015

       Clearly the answer is to make the basket so high (e.g. 30 metres above the ground) that the relative differences in height between the players makes no difference
hippo, Jun 10 2015

       Surely the obvious solution is to make a few minor modifications to basketball?   

       To begin with, lower the hoop to near ground level, so that height has no significant advantage. Of course, this means that the referee will not always have a clear view of the hoop, so it will be hard to tell if someone has scored.   

       Therefore, the traditional circular basket could be replaced which something which is knock-overable when hit by the ball, to make it easier to tell that someone has scored. For example, you could stick two or three wooden rods in the ground, balance some other shorter rods on top of them, and then anyone scoring would knock the little rods off the big rods.   

       The only problem with this is that you'd have to drill holes in the floor of the court to put the sticks in. However, conducting the game outside on grass would solve this problem, as the ends of the sticks could just be poked into the ground.   

       Mind you, it may be chilly out, so the players will probably want to wear something warmer - white is always good for visibility.   

       Then again, grass is not a good surface for bouncing a normal basketball on, so it might be as well to put more emphasis on the throwing part of the game, and less on the bouncing. This, in turn, suggests that a smaller, denser ball would be an advantage. Players might want to wear some sort of protective shin-pads (and perhaps something in the groinal area) to protect them from the smaller, denser ball. It might even be worth letting them use a stick or bat of some sort to intercept and strike the ball.   

       Of course, with all this extra equipment, players would tire sooner, so long tea-breaks would need to be introduced. It might also be worth spreading the game over several days.   

       With these small changes and a few others, basketball could be greatly improved.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 10 2015

       I dunno, sounds like an unnecessarily English version of baseball.
ytk, Jun 10 2015

       Sounds like you've confused this with highly-irrelevant basketball.
RayfordSteele, Jun 10 2015

       //an unnecessarily English version of baseball// Given that baseball was invented in England...
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 11 2015

       Just make a basket for shorties that's under a low shelf. You have to bend real low to succeed. Both baskets provide points to all the players.   

       And an "average basket" for the average guys n gals is a basketball sized hole in the newly installed basket board at the height of the average sized player. No rebounds but also cannot be thrown to or blocked from inside a confined area around it.
pashute, Jun 11 2015

       What about having the basket on top of a hat worn by one player on each team? Teams would be free to switch the hat-basket from one player to another throughout the game.
hippo, Jun 11 2015

       Or, have the requirement that the ball must bounce off the floor and go through the bottom of the hoop.
RayfordSteele, Jun 11 2015

       Or change it from being a hoop, to being a vertical slot in the wall of the basketball court rising from the floor to a height of about 3 metres, and just a few millimetres wider than the ball.
hippo, Jun 15 2015

       Suppose the rim stays in the same spot, but players who can jump higher than the standard 10' 6" vertical are given a weight vest with enough weight to hold them under that limit. The shortest players are given helium balloons and/or jetpacks.
napoleonbag, Jun 25 2015

       The difficulty of putting the ball through the hoop is far more than a function of player size.
Voice, Jun 25 2015


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