6 Fun Basketball Games to Play

Basketball doesn’t have to be a high-intensity, full on five-on-five game nor does it have to be just casually shooting shots by yourself. It can be a game filled with fun, laughter, and friendly competition to enjoy with family or friends where all you need is a basketball and a basketball hoop. Below are six of the more popular games each with an added twist to take a new, fun spin on the classic version.


H-O-R-S-E is always a fan-favorite, go-to shooting game. In this game, each player takes turn shooting from anywhere they choose, until someone makes a shot. When that happens, the following players will have to try to make their shot from the same spot. If they miss the shot the original player made, then they will get a letter. Once a player collects all letters to spell out the word (horse), they are out of the game. This repeats until all the players but one runs out of letters.

Switch it up! Before you start the game have each player take a shot at the same time and whoever makes a shot first gets to have the game named after them. For example, Jimmy made the shot first, therefore, the letters of the game will be J-I-M-M-Y instead of h-o-r-s-e.


This game begins traditionally at the free throw line, but really you can choose to begin anywhere on the court. Everyone lines up single-file, then the first person in line takes a shot to start the game. As soon as that person releases their shot, the next person in line can take their shot. The object of the game is for the person taking the second shot to make the basket before the person in front of them. If the first person taking the shot makes their shot, they pass the ball back to the next person in line, move to the very back of the line and the game continues. If the first person misses their shot, they have to rebound their shot and make a basket before they can pass it to the next player in line. However, if the person immediately behind them makes the shot before the first player can make a shot, the first player is out of the game. This pattern follows until all but one player is eliminated. The last player standing is the winner.

Add a twist: before the game starts, come up with a fun, hard shot like a behind the back at the free throw line to give them the opportunity to get back in the game if they make it before the next person in line makes their shot.

Around the world

The goal of this game is to “go around the world” with consecutive shots around the court. Usually, starting with a layup, then a spot between a lay-up and the free throw line, then a free throw, then around the three-point line. Depending on the skill level of the players, you can decide before the game whether they must make each shot or if they have the choice to end their turn before making another shot and potentially missing it and allow the next players to try.

New twist: If they decide to go for a shot and miss the player will have to go back to the very beginning and start over. However, instead of starting over have the player spin around three times fast and then let try to redeem themselves. If they make it, they can stay in the same spot.


The game begins when the first player dribbles out and tries to score. The other player(s) tries to stop the first player from scoring any points. The player with the ball may take any shot at any time and if the shot is missed, then the player may go for the rebound and shoot again. If the shot is missed and the defensive player(s) rebounds the ball, the ball must be “cleared” by dribbling beyond the “three-point line” before taking a shot. If the offensive player makes the shot, the defensive player takes the ball beyond the “three-point line” and dribbles out and tries to score.

Goalrilla Basketball Goal

This is repeated until one player reaches 21 points to win the game. Point system goes by 3 points for anything after.

Ways to spice it up: Add a game over rule to the game. For example, if a player makes three 2-point shots in a row, then they get the chance to try to make a half-court shot to win the game instantly.

Five in a Row

The object of this game is to move as far away from the basket as possible. Begin at 6 feet away from the basket. You must make five shots in a row at that spot before you can move one step further from the basket. Continue moving one step farther from the basket with every five shots made.

Want to make it a little more challenging? Have each player shooting their shots at the same time. Then race to see how can move back 3 times first.

Trick Shot H-O-R-S-E

Saving the best for last, this game is like normal h-o-r-s-e, but much cooler.! In this game you will take shots like behind the back, grannie shots or even a left-handed shot with your eyes closed while hopping on one leg. Half the fun is just seeing what kind of crazy shots you are able to make and then knowing the odds are pretty slim that the other players will be able to recreate such greatness. Get creative with your shots and be prepared for lots of laughs!

Pro Tip: Add-ons like the basketball return net and yard guard can help keep the game going by cutting down on ball-retrieval time.

Ready to play but just need the hoop? Call (317) 773-3545 or visit Recreation Unlimited where we have a variety of Goalrilla and Goalsetter hoops on display for you to try. A member of our friendly and knowledgeable sales team will be happy to assist by answering any questions you have and helping you find the perfect hoop for your home. Oh and did we mention we have a best price guarantee? We can’t promise you’ll be playing like the pros, but you’ll sure feel like one!

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