Streetball could be the greatest thing to ever come to a hoop junkie like me. The feeling of elation upon hitting that game-winner from the corner while being tanned by the glaring heat is priceless. For us peeps who were not bestowed with the height, heft, or exceptional skillset, streetball courts give us our own version of the Staples Center. It is through this miniature –no pun intended –version of our most beloved sport we are able to showcase our arsenal of dazzling moves and smooth jumpers.

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Owing to the craze and the innumerable number of streetball players dispersed throughout the globe, streetball took its popularity to the international stage of competition. The International Basketball Federation (FIBA)devised the 3×3 World Tour and 3×3 World Championships that first took the world by storm at the 2009 Asian Youth Games. Then, it was followed by a competitive debut at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics in Singapore. After two successful stints, the 3×3 tournament, whose concept was largely influenced by streetball, has been a highly anticipated event in FIBA-sanctioned roadshows.

Besides the sheer fun it brings, the game also makes you gain new comrades –or not. Though a single streetball game is nowhere comparable to the scintillating finish of this year’s NBA finals, it could be just as competitive as a streetball player can put on his head. Your streetball foes can take different personas. Those guys armed with basketball starter packs can fall under one of these categories.

Young Guns That Leave You Gasping for Breath

These guys are the nightmare of every aged streetball teams (except if they can unleash their veteran smarts). Expect these guys to be lightning-quick in fast break opportunities and to be controlling the pace for most parts of the game. They are always quick on their feet, effectively exploiting any mismatch with their athleticism and scientific know-how of the game. Most of these guys are also hefty, so one couldn’t just bully his way to the hoop in hopes of retaliating.

The best way to absorb the least damage from their high-octane offense? Don’t go with their running game. Try to slow the tempo with crisp passing to make their defense guessing. Making jump shots and lessening turnovers would also aid your team’s cause. When a fast break opportunity presents itself, make them pay.

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NBA team comparison: Milwaukee Bucks

Rationale: In the 2015-16 season, the Bucks were comprised of young players with an average age of 24.1. With Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker at the helm of their offense and frontline, it made it easier for the team to go out on transition. The young core of this year’s Lakers team is also lethal like the young bloods who just laughed at your team yesterday.

Gritty Vets

I hate it when a guy who I am 6 inches taller out rebounds me, either because he pulls off my jersey bottom or shoves me harshly. Unlike official games, streetball has no definite set of rules and violations –making in-game interferences (e.g., fouls, travelling calls, dribbling violations) a voting system. Veterans always make it hard for teams –specially the younger blood- to capitalize on their individual abilities or fine team plays when they (vets) unleash their smarts.

NBA team comparison: San Antonio Spurs

Rationale: With an average player age of 30.1 last season, the Spurs boasts one of the most rugged defense in the league. With savvy veterans Tim, Manu, and Tony, competing teams, at times, looked like kids schooled by their old men. This goes the same for your matured foes who always cry for foul or who embarrass you with their old-school plays.

Curry Impersonators

Stephen is to be blamed for this one. Occurrences of streetball players who are hurling threes way beyond the arc have skyrocketed since his first MVP season. There’s no need to conceptualize a great strategy since these folks are more likely to die than live with the three.

NBA team comparison: Golden State Warriors / Houston Rockets (1st& 2nd on 3-pt FG attempts per game last season)

Point Centers

These guys just look like Manute Bol on the court against your team. They’re lengthy, but are often slow and lacking heft. However, rebounding is one aspect of the game they really dominate. You can try your luck in posting and moving an elbow to find out that some of them are really not that tough.

NBA team comparison: For the second time,Milwaukee Bucks. Jabari, Giannis, Greg, and the addition of the 7’1 rookie Thon Maker out of Sudanjust won’t let opposing teams get the rebounds given these giants’ ceiling and wingspan. They’re not soft at all though.

The All-Gears-No-Play Guys

In one way or another, you came to face these guys who wear the most expensive compression sleeves or footwear in town. Their apparel is really fascinating, and you’re thrilled to be playing against them in the shoot around. However, after you saw that awkward release, you realized they’re not much of a challenge.

NBA team comparison:None. Majority of nobodies don’t stand a chance to get drafted with the exception of bust draft selections. Even so, these busts don’t make it long in the big boys’ league.

As a wrap-up, there are tons of other personas you can come to face in streetball besides the aforementioned. Alongside competition, fun should be at the top of your priority whenever playing at your local backyard or playground. Gear and apparel are second to talent and determination in basketball, but if you can procure one from quality manufacturers like Wagadoo, then that’s a huge plus.