Is Basketball An Indoor Or An Outdoor Game? (True Answer)

Is basketball an indoor or an outdoor sport?

Why are there are courts inside stadiums and on streets?

Basketball is considered an indoor sport since most leagues such as the NBA plays them indoors. Plus, the inventor created the sport to be played during the winter. But they can also be played outdoors most especially for recreational purposes.

But why are they played indoors professionally? We answer this plus look at where the most popular sports worldwide are played.

Is Basketball an Indoor or an Outdoor Game?

The simple answer is that basketball is an indoor sport. This is because most professional basketball leagues including the NBA play indoors. But it can also be played outdoors especially during the sunny seasons.  

James Naismith invented basketball in 1891 in Springfield Massachusetts. He was a physical education instructor then and he wanted to create an activity that would keep his students indoors during winter.

He invented basketball as an alternative to football which was less injury-prone and can be played indoors.

But a decades later, basketball evolved, and it’s now played both indoors and outdoors. During summer up to fall, basketball can be played outdoors while the wintertime is perfect for indoor basketball.

Why is Basketball Played Indoors Professionally?

Basketball was originally invented by James Naismith to be an indoor sport. The sport is a perfect alternative to football then which can’t be played by his students during winter.

Now, basketball is played both indoors and outdoors.

But basketball is played indoors in professional leagues due to three main factors. We break them down below:

1. Weather

Perhaps the biggest reason why basketball is played indoors is because of weather. Originally, basketball was invented as a sport to be played indoors during winter.

So today, professional leagues play the sport indoors inside big stadiums. This is to protect the players, staff, and spectators.

A basketball court is more sensitive than a soccer field in a lot of ways. For instance, a wet court will make it impossible to play in not to mention a potential hazard. Whereas you can still play even when it’s raining in a soccer field.

That’s why you’ll see a lot of floor sweepers in a professional league during a game. Their job is to always keep the court dry to prevent anyone especially players from slipping.

2. Court

Unlike American football or soccer which is played on grass, basketball is played on a hardwood court. It wouldn’t make sense to play it outside since a basketball court is significantly smaller than a football field.

Basketball is played primarily on a court on a flat surface because it involves a lot of dribbling.

3. Can be played all-year round

The beauty of having an indoor court is that games can be played all-year round. Although a lot of leagues including the NBA play starting in the winter; they can hold games anytime of the year.

When a sport can be played all-year round, this means that the leagues can make more revenue.

Why is Basketball Played Outdoors?

Now we know why basketball is played indoors professionally. But basketball can also be played outdoors. In fact, you’ll see a lot of courts in almost every street and park in America and other countries.

But why is basketball played outdoors?

1. Free/cheap to play in and maintain

The primary reason why a lot of people play basketball outdoors is because it’s free. A lot of public parks have built-in courts that anyone can play in. Aside from parks, a lot of people also set up hoops in their backyards or on the streets.

Playing outside is also easier to maintain since you don’t need to wipe the floor if it’s concrete or asphalt. Plus, outdoor hoops usually sport double rims so it can last longer.

As such, indoor courts are usually reserved for official games since they cost more to maintain.

2. Opportunity to play with others

Playing outside also provides you with the opportunity of playing with others. You can team up with random people and start a pickup game anytime.

You can’t do that while playing in a closed indoor court which can’t be accessed by people.

Since basketball is a team sport, it makes sense to play with others. That’s how you can practice your skills and gain experience. A lot of pros loved to play streetball games when they were young.

3. Can be played anywhere

The beauty of playing basketball outdoors is that you can set up a portable hoop anywhere.

You can place it in your backyard, at the driveway or even in the streets! There are even mini hoops that you can set up in your bedroom to practice shooting.

Where are Major Sports Played?

We know that basketball is primarily played indoors, but where are other popular sports played?

If you’re wondering about it, we came up with simple table that quickly shows where they’re played professionally:

SportIndoors or Outdoors?
1. SoccerOutdoors
2. CricketOutdoors
3. HockeyIndoors
4. Lawn TennisOutdoors
5. VolleyballIndoors
6. Table TennisIndoors
7. BasketballIndoors
8. BaseballOutdoors
9. RugbyOutdoors
10. GolfOutdoors

The sports listed in the table are based on their popularity worldwide. We can see that most of them are played outdoors.

But what we can observe is the way a sport is played is the primary determinant of where they’re played. For instance, soccer is played outside since it needs a huge field.

On the other hand, table tennis is played indoors to prevent the wind from interfering.


Can you play your ball indoors and outdoors?

Theoretically, you can play any basketball both indoors and outdoors. But there are balls designed for the two courts.

For indoors, you should go for a basketball made of composite leather. This is softer and provides more grip for maximum control.

On the other hand, rubber balls are preferred for outdoor courts since they offer more bounce. They’re also cheaper compared to leather balls which is perfect if you’re just playing outdoors.

Can you play your basketball shoes in both indoor and outdoor courts?

Most basketball shoes can be played indoors and outdoors. But there are also basketball shoes that are specifically marketed for indoor or outdoor basketball use.

Are there official basketball games played outdoors?

Yes, there are many local and national basketball tournaments held on outdoor courts. But professional leagues always prefer to play on indoor courts.

Final Thoughts

Basketball is a sport that can be played both indoors and outdoors. But most professional leagues play basketball indoors due to numerous factors.

However, there are also many who play basketball outside just for fun!

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