Basketball Poems

Like all sports poems, basketball poems explore the world of basketball, its players, spectators and fans, and history. These poems celebrate the sport’s high points and sometimes low points while always inspiring readers to learn more and see the sport as a unifying, positive force in people’s lives.

Basketball poems are varied in their intention, but most paint the sport and its participants in a very positive light. It’s common to find basketball poems referencing specific athletes and events, records, games, and coaches. As with all genres of sports literature, it’s helpful to have a prior understanding of the sport and its major players. But it is not necessary for one’s enjoyment of poems inspired by basketball.

In Memory of the Utah Stars

by William Matthews

‘In Memory of the Utah Stars’ captures the manner in which memories can provide us with both pleasure and pain.

The poem is principally concerned with the memory of a defunct basketball team, with specific players mentioned by name. It is also a celebration of the power of the sport more broadly.

Each of them must have terrified

his parents by being so big, obsessive

and exact so young, already gone

and leaving, like a big tipper,

Dear Basketball

by Kobe Bryant

‘Dear Basketball’ by Kobe Bryant depicts the poet’s love for the sport. He expresses his appreciation for basketball and how it made him into the person he became.

This poem depicts Byrant's love for basketball. He expresses his appreciation for basketball and how it made him into the person he became. Bryant published ‘Dear Basketball’ in The Player’s Tribune. He used it to announce his retirement in November 2015. The poem takes the reader through Bryant’s emotional connection to the game. He describes what it was like to find it as a child and then to work hard to do the sport justice. His love for basketball shines through in every line of ‘Dear Basketball.’

From the moment

I started rolling my dad’s tube socks

And shooting imaginary

Game-winning shots

Basketball Rule #1

by Kwame Alexander

‘Basketball Rule #1’ is one of several rules that feature in Kwame Alexander’s book The Crossover. The novel won the

Basketball is a primary topic in this contemporary poem. The poet uses basketball-related imagery throughout the lines. In this way, the poet can convey more important themes of living a good life, having strong moral values, and caring about family. The poem is not widely known or read but it is a good example for anyone hoping to be inspired by sports imagery.

In this game of life

your family is the court

and the ball is your heart.

No matter how good you are,

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