Whether you’re shopping for an ankle-biter or an ankle-breaker, basketball gear and apparel are go-to options when you’re looking for gifts for basketball lovers.
High-quality basketball hoops and the best hoop accessories & equipment are musts for developing talent and always the best gifts for basketball players, but unique basketball gifts can be found for fans as well as players.
If you don’t know what to get your hoops-crazy kids, their coaches, or your partner, check out this list of cool basketball gifts. You won’t get called for flopping.
New Basketball Shoes
Basketball is hard on feet and shoes. Good shoes help feet hold up to the rigors of the game. Bad shoes not only tempt injury, but also are liable to deteriorate quicker and require more frequent replacement. Better to spend a little more. Better also to consult with your player. Size, style (high tops? low cut?), brand, color, and fit are very personal, so your best bet might be to establish a budget and set a shopping date.
Favorite Player’s Jersey
We’re all kids when it comes to our favorite players. A Warriors family might find dad in a Rick Barry throwback and junior in an authentic Steph Curry, and that smart-aleck brother-in-law in a Steve Kerr Bulls jersey. Let them all chirp about who’s wearing the best shooter. If you can pair a jersey gift with a pair of tickets, so much the better.
Performance Basketball Socks
This is a smart choice high on the list of best gifts for basketball players. The right socks not only match your player’s team colors or shoes, but also they protect the foundation of a player’s game — feet. Comfort, callus and blister protection, traction, and arch support (preventing fatigue) all keep a player operating at peak efficiency. Nike Elites and Adidas Creator 365 are the trending choices for fashionable and functional feet.
First Team FT11E Chain Basketball Net
A real hoops junkie will wear out a nylon net in no time. The zinc-plated First Team FT11E Chain Basketball Net attaches with S-hooks to any rim and will outlast any nylon net — no matter the weather and no matter how hot your shooter gets.
First Team FT23 Block-Aid
A knack for rebounding will always earn a player time on the court. Your player can work on his or her rebounding with the First Team FT23 Block-Aid, a simple device that is easily installed and removed, and allows players to work on rebounding skills without wasting time on made shots. Boxing out becomes second nature when you expect the ball to come off the rim.
Basketball Return Net
Shooters aren’t born. They’re made by repetition. Every ball chased is a shot not taken. For driveway or backyard shooters, a ball return net makes a terrific gift. Shot after shot can be put up without the player having to move. And it keeps ball marks off the garage door.
Portable Basketball Goal
A high-quality Portable Basketball Goal is not an inexpensive gift — expect to spend $2,000 up to $10,000 or more. Whether on a backyard pad or a fieldhouse floor, you should be looking for a product that considers performance and protection as well as portability. Freestanding goals come in a wide variety, but Quality Hoops’ website will take you through a series of questions to determine the right product for you.
Proper footwork and quickness are essential in any sport, but none more so than basketball. Agility ladders are seen everywhere athletes are trying to get better, from football practice fields to health clubs. Players trying to improve their athleticism or coaches trying to add variety to practices and training sessions could do a lot with an agility ladder.
Fashion or function? Does it matter? Allen Iverson started using a shooting sleeve at the turn of the century to combat bursitis. Since then, many have sworn by the benefits of mild compression to prevent fatigue and injury and help muscles stay loose. Others just think it looks cool.
These days, players are gamers and fans are, too. The gold standard of hoops video games is one of the great gifts for basketball lovers. NBA 2K revolutionized the gaming industry and is so much a part of the game that each new edition is accompanied by star players (Kevin Durant, for example) questioning their player ratings.
Good gifts for basketball players include unique ways to improve. Dribbling goggles fill the bill for players interested in improving their ball handling. Inexpensive and a simple concept, dribbling goggles work much like blinders on a racehorse — but instead of preventing a distracting glance sideways, they stop you from looking down. As training tools go, this is as good as it gets for young players.
Dribble Stick (from SKLZ)
SKLZ is an innovator in the field of sports-specific training aids. Its Dribble Stick is a simple, very portable, and adjustable device designed to improve hand positioning, stance, and speed with the ball. Any player who puts the time in with the Dribble Stick will develop a tighter, quicker handle.
Mini Basketball Hoop
A perennial among the best basketball gifts, a mini basketball hoop hooks over doors anywhere — from a child’s room to an executive office. Be aware that competitions can reach rare heights of rambunctiousness when a game of H-O-R-S-E can include banks off a bookcase and dunk contests can be launched off an ottoman.
Reading about the game is a great way to stoke a player’s curiosity and promote a more well-rounded basketball fan. There are many great basketball-related titles, including Rick Telander’s seminal treatise on playground hoops, “Heaven is a Playground”; John Wooden’s primer for all coaches, “Practical Modern Basketball”; and Scott Lynn’s examination of racial strife and perhaps the greatest high school basketball team ever, “Thornridge: The Perfect Season in Black and White.”
D-Man Defensive Mannequin
How about the perfect practice partner for the gym rat who stays long after the rest of the team is gone? This hands-up defending mannequin is a perfect trainer for learning to shoot or pass around a defender. Expands up to eight feet in height, and it’s portable and lightweight for easy setup and breakdown.
A Good Basketball
Avid players will wear out a basketball, especially if they play outdoors a lot. One good basketball is a must. Two is better, given the proliferation of two-ball dribbling drills. The Wilson Evolution, a composite game ball, is approved for competition by the National Federation of State High School Associations. Traditionalists might prefer an NBA-official Wilson leather ball. Non-traditionalists could go for a smart basketball, which allows users to track metrics with a companion app.
Making Hoop Dreams Come True
You can’t buy a Eurostep or a rainbow J, but a smart shopper can dish like a great point guard. Picking from this list of the best basketball gifts is a terrific way to drop a dime.