Basketball is a popular American pastime. In fact, it is so popular and makes so much money that a special National Basketball Association (NBA) was established to create rules to standardize the game. If we lived in a world where insects were also interested in basketball, the game would be very different. Let’s take a look at some of the key points of basketball to see just how it insect might play the game.
The NBA requires that basketballs be 30 inches around, and nine inches in diameter. This means that the basketball is about 12.5 percent the size of an average man standing at six feet tall. Let’s assume the average insect is one inch tall. Using NBA rules regarding the size of a basketball, this means that the regulation basketball for the average insect would have to be 0.125 of an inch in diameter. In metric, that is just three point one millimeters (3.1 mm) in diameter.
Let’s take a look at the basket used for this ball. The NBA requires that regulation hoops be 18 inches in diameter with a net that is 15 to 18 inches long. Using the above information for our insect basketball players, this means that a regulation hoop for insect basketball is just .25 inches in diameter. The net for this hoop would be .2075 to .25 inches long.
In addition, the NBA hoop has to be 10 feet off the ground. Using the average of one inch height of and an insect as a reference, the basketball hoop would only be 1.6 inches off the ground.
However, the average person can only jump vertically about 20 inches in height which is only 27.7 percent of his or her own height. An insect, like the cricket, can jump up to 20 to 30 times its own body length. If we were to go by jump height, a one inch cricket jumping 20 times its height can go 20 inches. So, if we add this potential height to the true average height of a one inch cricket, the hoop would actually need to be about 35 inches off the ground to be a real challenge for the cricket.
Dribbling and Traveling
The rules of insect basketball would also be slightly different compared to human basketball. For instance, insects have six legs compared to the average human’s two legs. When a human dribbles the ball he can only use one hand at a time to bounce the ball to the floor as he moves around the court. Since insects have so many legs would they be allowed to use more than one hand to dribble, or would this count as double dribbling? The issue of traveling also comes into question for insects. Traveling is when the player walks more than a step and a half without dribbling the ball. However, insects always have multiple legs on the floor. How many steps should the insect be able to take before having to dribble? Flying insects would also have trouble with the game of basketball. They might be tempted to use their wings to fly to the hoop rather than jump. It also makes blocking these insects very difficult.
However, a good game of insect basketball is hard to find. First of all, you have to get several different species of insect to come together. Secondly, you’d have to find a regulation basketball that was 0.125 inches in diameter to play!
About the author: Chris is writer for a San Jose pest control company.