What Are Some Similarities Between Basketball & Baseball?

Baseball on Sports Turf Grass

Basketball and baseball may appear to be completely different sports; however, both are built on sportsmanship and a touch of shared history. While there are a myriad of obvious differences between these two sports, they're more similar than they may appear.

Nine Players Each

Basketball, invented in its current incarnation by Dr. James Naismith in the late 1800s, was originally played by two teams of nine players. He based the team size on the standard of a baseball team, which also fields nine players per team. In the years that followed, the nine players were reduced to five, and that's now standard for basketball teams.

Pass on It

Passing is the throwing motion necessary to get the ball from one player to another. Both basketball and baseball require quick, accurate passing ability. In basketball, passing is crucial for the offense in order to move the ball around the court and make baskets. In baseball, it is the defense which needs to utilize the pass to make plays to prevent the other team from scoring.

The Cutoff

Both basketball and baseball are played on large areas, though a baseball field is notably larger. However, what these two sports have in common is the need for a cut-off player. When a basketball player wants to get the ball to the other side of the court quickly, he will pass the ball to a player positioned near the mid-court line. In baseball, a similar process works to quickly retrieve a ball hit deep into the outfield and return it to the infield. Skillfully positioned players, in both sports, reduce ball travel time, facilitating crucial plays.

Success Centers on Teamwork

In basketball, the team literally centers around the center. In baseball, the defense centers around the pitcher. Though these players have different titles, their actions, and more importantly, their leadership, is vital to the success of the team. Centers are highly visible in both offensive and defensive scenarios, where their physical presence and ball-handling skills are called upon to score baskets or prevent the other team from scoring. Pitchers are the bedrock of their team. Positioned in the center of the baseball diamond, pitchers throw the ball to the batter in a manner as to prevent them from hitting it back. So, whether a center or a pitcher, these players are central to their team.