Title:
Hoopball
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Hoopball is an alternative game of live basketball that is derived from National Basketball Association (NBA) style basketball. Hoopball is a basketball game that features its own playing methods and has rules that are in most cases quite different from NBA rules. Hoopball is played on regulation NBA basketball courts with regular basketballs; it is designed for slower player action and less hard contact between opposing players; as a result the play action in hoopball produces fewer player injuries. In order to handle the ball with expertise and score baskets consistently each of the five players on a hoopball team must develop skills equivalent to the level of skills exhibited by NBA basketball players in ball handling and point scoring abilities. Hoopball players may not need to run as fast or be as tall as the star athletes on NBA teams to be star athletes on hoopball teams but their basketball skills can easily be equivalent to basketball skills of star athletes on NBA and the best college teams.



Inventors:
Liberfarb, Sidney (Shrewsbury, MA, US)
Application Number:
10/369231
Publication Date:
08/26/2004
Filing Date:
02/20/2003
Assignee:
LIBERFARB SIDNEY
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B67/00; A63B69/00; A63B71/02; (IPC1-7): A63B67/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHAMBERS, MICHAEL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SIDNEY LIBERFARB (WALNUT CREEK, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A game of hoopball comprising play action between two teams composed preferably of five players each, wherein said hoopball games shall be played on National Basketball Association (NBA) regulation basketball courts, with regulation NBA basketballs, using rules and novel play actions distinctive to hoopball for advancing a basketball to an area of a basketball court from which scoring shots to the basket may be taken; these novel play actions and methods for advancing a basketball for scoring opportunities further distinguish hoopball games from regular basketball games and from prior art games derived from regular basketball.

2. A game of hoopball as defined in claim 1, wherein it is a violation of hoopball rules for a player on the team on offense to move a basketball by a running or walking dribble in order to advance said ball to a new or more favorable scoring position on a basketball court; said violation shall result in a turnover of ball possession to the team on defense.

3. A game of hoopball as defined in claim 1, wherein a player in possession of the basketball is allowed to dribble the ball in place within an imaginary one yard diameter circle; said player may also shift one foot at a time to change direction, but will be called for a traveling violation if there is movement of both feet at the same time.

4. A game of hoopball as defined in claim 1, wherein play action with or without the basketball by a player on the team on offense within the paint area surronding the hoop and backboard structure of the goal post area is a violation of hoopball rules that shall result in a turnover of ball possession to the team on defense.

5. A game of hoopball as defined in claim 1. wherein it is a violation of hoopball rules for players on defense to engage in live play action within the paint area surronding the hoop and backboard structure of the goal post area; it shall result in the team on offense being awarded a one point technical foul.

6. A game of hoopball as defined in claim 1, wherein a team awarded possession of the ball because of a turnover shall designate a player, preferably a guard, to inbound said ball from a sideline area according to hoopball rules governing inbounding.

7. A game of hoopball as defined in claim 1, wherein a player on the team in possession of the basketball, positioned at a sideline area for the purpose of inbounding said basketball, shall have five seconds to inbound said ball successfully or lose possession of said ball by turnover to the opposing team.

8. A game of hoopball as defined in claim 1, wherein a team awarded possession of the basketball by a turnover or by another circumstance shall have fourty seconds of possession time to score points by advancing said ball by passing and other approved hoopball playing actions to a favorable position on a court for an attempt at a basket shot; if said basket shot is successful before expiration of said fourty seconds and results in a rebound of said ball being caught and held by a player on the tean that scored, said scoring team shall have the remainder of said fourty seconds to attempt additional scoring opportunities until its fourty seconds of ball possession is exhausted, at which time a turnover of ball possession takes place.

9. A game of hoopball as defined in claim 1, wherein after a turnover of basketball possession, the team awarded possession of said basketball shall inbound said ball within five seconds in accordence with hoopball inbounding rules.

10. A game of hoopball as defined in claim 1, wherein to speed up play action a system of incentives and disincentives shall be instituted for players on the team in possession of the ball to try early attempts to score; thus, a successful basket shot from within the two point shooting area in the first ten seconds of possession shall be scored three points; a successful basket shot within eleven to thirty seconds of possession shall be scored as two points; and a successful basket shot within thirty-one to fourty seconds of possession shall be scored one point; a successful basket shot from within the three point shooting areas in the first ten seconds of possession shall be scored four points; a successful basket shot within eleven to thirty seconds of possession shall be scored three points; and a successful basket shot within thirty-one to fourty seconds of possession shall be scored two points.

11. A game of hoopball as defined in claim 1, wherein the duration of live play periods and rest periods of a game of hoopball shall preferably be limited to three fifteen minute periods of live action playing time, with a five minute rest period after the first fifteen minute playing period, and a ten minute rest period after the second fifteen minute playing period; the game shall end after the third fifteen minute playing period if one team has a higher score than the other; if the score is tied after the three fifteen minute regulation playing periods, a three minute rest period will take effect before playing commences on a six minute overtime playing period; if the game is still tied after a first overtime playing period, a second three minute rest period will take effect before playing commences on a second six minute overtime playing period; this system of overtime playing periods and rest periods shall remain in effect until one team ends an overtime playing period with a higher score than the other team.

12. A game of hoopball as defined in claim 1, wherein in league scheduled or other formal hoopball games a full complement of officials as needed shall be provided who preferably are skilled in the art of both regular basketball and hoopball; said officials shall render all decisions in line with the playing rules established for hoopball and shall render best judgement decisions in all situations not covered by formal hoopball playing rules.

13. A game of hoopball as defined in claim 1, wherein in league scheduled or other formal hoopball games, each opposing team shall have at least one coach in attendance who shall have authority over all team matters during games; among each team's roster of players there shall be one designated player captain and said roster of players shall be large enough to enable a team coach to make substitutions for injured players and players who foul out or are suspended from team play by an official because of flagrant violations of playing rules or for unsportsmanlike behavior during games.

14. A game of hoopball as defined in claim 1, wherein individual team rosters may be gender neutral, preferably, however, rosters of teams in league scheduled or other formal hooball games may be gender specific in order to equalize as closely as practicable playing skills of league or conference affiliated hoopball teams.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The field of the invention is competitive sports. The present invention of hoopball pertains to a basketball game derived from National Basketball Association (NBA) type basketball (regular basketball), but with many rules and playing methods sufficiently different from regular basketball's rules and playing methods to constitute a competitive sport in its own right. Hoopball is designed to be played with a regulation basketball (the ball), on a regulation NBA indoor basketball court, but may be played on outdoor courts dimensioned, painted, and striped the same as NBA regulation indoor courts.

[0003] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0004] The number of patented prior art basketball games, as opposed to board games, pertinent to the present invention that are derived from regular basketball are relatively few in number. The prior art includes U.S. Pat. No. 4,171,808 to Bauer that discloses a game that is a variation of regular basketball that uses . . . “An improved basketball court and method for use by different forms or classes of players wherein a conventional basketball court has designated thereon a central court area used by one form and a peripheral court area designated for use by the second form wherein each of the two teams have members of both forms on said teams such that the members of the two forms on one team play together in a cooperative manner, and the members of each form . . . on a team play against members of that form on the opposite team. The game played on the improved basketball court is substantially the same game as played on conventional basketball courts, with the advantage being for example, that male and female players can play in the same game on the same team without having to come into violent physical contact during the progress of the game.”

[0005] Another patented prior art is U.S. Pat. No. 5,810,679 to Yoakum that discloses a recreational device relating . . . ” to a basket-ball type recreational game which provides a full 360 degree access to the basket . . . the actual . . . game necessitates a court, two basketball goals, at least five players on each team, and preferably a referee. Since individuals have expressed an interest in playing one-on-one, or at least some number less than a full complement, single goal games similar to basketball have sprung up on playgrounds, in back yards, in driveways, and in similar outdoor locations. While ten players could conceivably play with one goal, that is typically not what occurs with individual pick up games and individual practice.”

[0006] Craig, in U.S. Pat. No. 6,142,890 discloses an “‘Apparatus for circular court ball game’ for use in a round ball rebounding game played on a circular court consisting of a spherical structure supported by a single pole and having a plurality of goals placed at equidistant intervals about the maximum horizontal diameter of the sphere and parallel to the playing surface. Basketball is an example of a common and popular round ball rebounding sport played both indoor and outdoor, generally with a rectangular shaped court and two goals at opposite ends of the court . . . The present invention provides for playing of a round ball game by two or more competing teams simultaneously within a circular playing area or court.”

[0007] Naulls, et al., in U.S. Pat. No. 6,390,940 discloses a “‘Basketball game, apparatus and method of play’, that is “An alternative to traditional basketball that enables the audience to enjoy faster action than provided by traditional basketball, and which challenges especially gifted players with a demanding and more vigorous game. The game court is nearly twice as large as a traditional NBA playing court and the hoop is smaller and higher than a standard hoop and is played without a backboard. New rules are provided playing and for scoring wherein there are three point areas under and away from the hoop. The number, positions of the players, and mode of play are different, including the use of a protected goalie with the freedom to move without dribbling the ball, a running substitution box, and rules wherein the location of the ball, not the player, determines if play is live or dead.”

[0008] Byrd, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,882,271 discloses a “‘Basketball court’ . . . ‘for playing a game of basketball . . . having at least one paint circle marked on the floor of the court . . . whereby a referee may by reference to the circle, determine whether a player is positioned beneath a goal basket hoop in violation of the rules of the game’ . . . and ‘to assist a basketball referee make correct calls by providing reference marking on the floor’”.

[0009] The present invention of hoopball and the referenced prior art have some similarities because they are derived from regular basketball to the extent that some parts of regular basketball's rules, methods of play, terminology, and playing court layouts are incorporated in the prior art and in the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] The present invention of hoopball pertains to a game that is derived from regular basketball and designed to be played by teams of live players that may be organized into gender specific, collegiate, professional, and semi-professional leagues. Hoopball is played by two opposing teams, each team preferably composed of five players on a team, consisting of a center, two forwards and two guards, each team playing by hoopball rules on a regular basketball court. The playing rules and methods of regular badsketball are changed considerably for hoopball to provide slower play action with less hard contact among players and cosequently fewer player injuries during games than is possible when basketball is played under NBA rules. Some of the playing rules and methods pertaining to regular basketball will remain valid for hoopball, such as, for example, use of regulation NBA basketballs, basketball courts, hoop height and goal structures, including the special hoop nets and hoop attachments used on NBA courts. It is anticipated that hoopball will be played by women's leagues and various gender specific and non gender specific junior leagues with little or no changes of the rules and playing methods of the present invention.

[0011] Among the objectives of the game of hoopball is emphasis on skill over rough contacts between opposing players; this objective is encouraged by providing novel passing and basket shooting plays aimed at minimizing the amount of fouling and game interruptions for free shots to penalize players and teams for personal fouls and technical violations.

[0012] To start a game of hoopball between two opposing teams at least two optional methods are available to officials and team coaches. Method 1: an official will toss a coin. The captain designate of the home team is asked to pick heads or tails. The team that wins the toss will start the game with one of its players, preferably a guard, inbounding the ball to a teamate from a selected sideline at a point outside the three point zone but inside mid-court. The team that wins first possession of the ball will be given the choice of which basket it wishes to defend. The same coin toss method for starting play may be used at the beginning of each of three fifteen minute play periods, and at the beginning of any six minute overtime period if one or more overtime periods are necessary to decide the winner of a game in which team scores are tied at the end of three fifteen minute regulation periods of playing time. Method 2: a face-off between the opposing teams' center players will take place at mid-court with an official tossing the ball between the said center players high enough and straight up so that each center may jump to control the toss while the ball is on its way down. If the face-off is executed according to the rules, live play will commence at the instant one team or the other has undisputed possession of the ball. All timing and monitoring of ball possessions will start simultaneously with a team's undisputed possession of a ball.

[0013] There are at least two major differences between hoopball and regular basketball; one difference is the elimination of ball advancement by a running dribble. The only type of dribbling allowed in hoopball by a player in possession of the ball is restricted to dribbling a ball in place or while pivot shifting position with one foot in an approximate one yard diameter circle to avoid a traveling violation. Another major difference between hoopball and regular basketball is that player presence during live ball action within any part of the paint area has been eliminated in hoopball. In the area of the paint only two players at a time from the same team may take up positions, one on each sideline, but not in front of the paint. One player from the opposing team may take up a position next to an opposing player on the same side of the paint. In all, at any instant of play, only four players, two from each team may position themselves at the sidelines of the paint to attempt to block basket shots, or retrieve rebounds, or to screen out a player on the offensive from receiving a pass. Reaching into the paint, by players whose feet remain entirely outside the paint, to shoot a basket or attempt to retrieve a rebound is allowed, but excessive jostling and body contact between opposing players is subject to the rules governing personal fouls and loose ball fouls. Positioning of opposing players around the paint area during free throws to the basket are subject to the same four player sideline rule until the free throw is thrown.

[0014] The maximum allowable timed team possession of the ball in any possession is fourty seconds. Shot clocks are needed to time five second time limits for inbounding balls and to time ball possessions to the fourty second limit; If a team fails to get off a shot to the basket within said fourty seconds, it triggers a turnover. In hoopball there are incentives in place that encourage teams to limit ball posessions to less than the maximum fourty seconds. The incentives allow greater point scores for successful basket shots from within the regular two point line, excluding the paint area, in accordance with the following scale: in the first ten seconds of possession, three points; from eleven seconds to thirty seconds, two points; from thirty-one seconds to fourty seconds, one point. An incentive scoring choice is available also to a team in possession of the ball from outside the three point line: a successful basket shot in the first ten seconds of possession, four points; from eleven to thirty seconds, three points; from thirty-one seconds to fourty seconds, two points. The foregoing system of incentives and disincentives encourages a player in possession of the ball to pass the ball quickly to a teammate who is closer to the basket or in a better location on the court for a basket shot, or for said player to take a quick shot and try for one of the higher point scores.

[0015] If the team in possession of the ball initiates a basket shot within the allowed fourty seconds of possession but it is not sussessful, it does not trigger an automatic turnover if the fourty seconds have not expired and a player on the offensive team retrieves a rebound of the failed basket shot and passes the ball to a teammate or takes a basket shot before the fourty second time expires; a successful shot at this time will add to a team's total score in accordance with the time and distance scoring scale stated above. If a player on the defense retrieves a rebound off the offensive board, it does trigger a turnover. A time keeping official monitoring a shot clock will initiate a buzzer to signify either expiration of said fourty second time limit or retrieval of a rebound by the defense resulting in a turnover and a dead ball. Possession of the dead ball will be promptly taken by an official who will hand the ball to a player, preferably a guard on the team entitled to possession of the ball, at a point outside the three point line on either the left or right sideline as chosen by the player who will inbound the ball. Before this takes place however, the matter of substitutions must be taken care of. After a time keeping official retrieves a dead ball and before handing the ball to the team entitled to have possession for an inbounding play, said time keeping official will ask the head coach of each opposing team if they wish to make any substitutions of players because routine substitutions can be made only at this time. If there are substitutions said time keeping official will call an official time out until the substitutions are completed. A substitution made necessasry by an injury to a player is not governed by this rule, but will take place during an official time out.

[0016] After the substitutions are completed or if there are no substitutions at that time, the ball will be handed to the player designated by the team entitled to possession of the ball who will inbound the ball. The time keeping official will start a five second time clock to time the inbound. Meanwhile, only three players on the team that loses possession of the ball may take up positions in the inbounding area to try to block the inbounding pass or to attempt a steal, or to cause expiration of the five second time limit for inbounding and thus cause a turnover. The other two players on the defensive team must take up positions beyond the half court area at any place they choose until live play begins. The ball transfer initiates live ball action. The team now in possession of the ball as the offense will attempt to inbound the ball and initiate its play actions. The team not in possession of the ball as the defense, can roam any area of a court after live action is initiated in order to try to block passes, block shots to the basket, and to catch and hold rebounds. Zone defense as well as man-to-man defense are both permissable. All of the efforts by the players on the team not in possession of the ball to recapture possession of the ball must be accomplished without colliding with or deliberately fouling an opposition player. If a violation of said rule occurs it may result in more free shots and a new fourty second possession for the offense. Double teaming a player attempting to inbound a ball is not allowed; if attempted, and seen by an official, it will trigger a two point technical foul.

[0017] Failure to effect an inbound pass before the five second time limit expires will result in a turnover. If the inbound pass is successful, the time keeping official will start a fourty second time clock and blow a whistle signaling that live play action has resumed. Said time keeping official will at the same time as the fourty second time clock has started restart a game period time clock that will accumulate live action time until the end of a fifteen minute period is reached, at which time play will be suspended for a five minute rest period if the game has progressed only beyond the first fifteen minute period. If the game has progressed beyond the second fifteen minute play period, a ten minute rest period comes into effect. The game will end after the third fifteen minute period of play if one team has a higher score than the other. If the game is tied at the end of the third fifteen minute, a three minute rest period will take effect before play will commence on a six minute overtime period. If the game is still tied after a first overtime overtime period, another rest period of three minutes will be taken before the second overtime period commences. The three minute rest periods between overtime periods will continue until the game ends in a winner. Substitutions of players can be made only during the three minute rest periods, unless a player is injured, in which case a team coach will be allowed to insert a player from the bench during an official time out.

[0018] In hoopball, fouls are classified as minor, technical, and flagrant, and penalties are meted out accordingly. A player guilty of committing minor fouls will be allowed to accumulate three minor fouls in a fifteen minute playing period. A fourth foul will automatically cause said player to foul-out, or be suspended from playing for the remainder of the period. A player charged with more than six fouls during a game, will be automatically suspended from play for the remainder of the game, but may remain on the team's bench. A player or a team coach committing a technical foul during a fifteen minute play period will automatically trigger a free throw to the opposing team and loss of ball possession. A second technical foul by the same team involving a player or a coach in a fifteen minute play period will automatically trigger two free throws to the opposition team and loss of ball possession. A third technical foul during the progress of a game by the same player or coach will automatically trigger two free throws to the opposition team, plus suspension of that player or coach for the balance of the game and loss of ball possession.

[0019] A player committing a flagrant foul will be suspended from playing for the remainder of that period. The same player committing a second flagrant foul during the progress of a game shall be suspended from playing for the remainder of the game, but may remain on the team's bench.

[0020] It will be useful in the present summary of the invention to restate out of bounds rules and explain the impact of out of bound decisions on the team which is given possession of the ball, the obligation of said team to inbound the ball within a timed period, and the procedures to be followed inbounding the ball. All inbounds will be made by a player, preferably a guard on the team that has possession of the ball, from the sideline chosen by said player who will be stationed between an imaginary line drawn from the farthest extension of the three point line and the mid-court division, a distance within which said inbounding player's teammates will have enough roaming space to position themselves for at least one of them to receive an inbound pass while eluding interference from opposition players. Said inbounding player's feet must not touch the sideline paint stripe or be more than three feet beyond said line. In order to avoid blocking attempts by an opposition player, said inbounding player may move sideways not more than three feet in either direction before inbounding. An opposition player trying to block or steal the inbound pass must remain at least four feet away from said sideline and may use arms and hands in an attempt to block or catch an inbound pass, but is not allowed to kick an inbound pass or reach over the sideline painted stripe. Double teaming a player assigned to inbound a ball is not allowed; it is a technical violation. In all cases after an official whistles live action to begin the five second inbounding rule remains in effect.

[0021] Other inbounding rules that apply in special cases are as follows. Case one: if a player in possession of the ball steps on a sideline, the ball is considered to be out of bounds and triggers a turnover to the opposition team. Case two: if a player in possession of a ball attempts to pass the ball to a teammate and the ball goes out of bounds before being touched by another player, the ball becomes dead and triggers a turnover. Case three: if a player attempts to pass the ball to a teammate, and the ball is blocked or deflected and goes out of bounds, if the ball was last touched by an opposition player the ball remains in possession of the team whose player attempted to pass the ball; said team will again inbound the ball from the sideline in the approved manner. Case four: if a player attempts to pass the ball to a teammate, and the ball is blocked or deflected and goes out of bounds, if the ball was last touched by a teammate it triggers a turnover and the opposition team is given possession of the ball and will inbound said ball from the sideline in the approved manner. Case five: if a live ball while in play hits an official and goes out of bounds, the ball remains in possession of the team that had possession before said incident; said team will inbound the ball again in the approved manner. Case six: if a player attempts a basket shot and the ball bounces off the hoop rim or goes behind the backboard or deflects out of bounds without being touched by a player, the ball becomes dead, possession of the ball will be given to the opposition team to inbound in the approved manner.

[0022] Other inbounding may take place to start a game, to restart play after each of the three fifteen minute regulation playing periods; to restart play at the beginning of a first overtime period and at the beginning of any subsequent overtime periods; after a fourty second violation; after an official time out is called to help an injured player; after free throws, and after successful basket shots when a rebounding ball is caught and held by a defensive player.

[0023] There are at least two situations that will trigger a face-off in a game of hoopball; it will occur when a player in pssession of the ball is dribbling said ball in place or swiveling by pivoting in place and a defensive player by reaching in without excessive contact gets a firm hold on said ball and both opposing players engage in a pulling and holding episode for more than two seconds without the ball being stripped from the grasp of one player or the other, a game official shall whistle the game to a halt, take possession of the ball and require the two contending players to face-off within a regulation four foot diameter mid-court face-off circle. After the teammates of the two contending players position themselves around the circle an official shall toss the ball up high enough and straight enough so that the two contending players have equal opportunities to try to bat the ball to a teammate when said ball is on its way down. Another face-off situation may occur if officials and team coaches elect to start a game of hoopball with a face-off between the opposing teams' centers. If used to start a hoopball game, a face-off should also be used to start play at the beginning of each fifteen minute period and each six minute overtime period.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0024] It is not necessary to furnish drawings with present specification because hoopball games may be played only on rgulation NBA basketball courts.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0025] A description of the preferred embodiment is not applicable to the present specification of hoopball because drawing figures are not furnished.