Why is there no 4 point shot in basketball?

Too often beginner fans of this sport ask this question. Here is the answer.

Players during a basketball game

We tell you the reason why there are no 4 point shots in basketball. / Photo: Unsplash

LatinamericanPost| Juan Manuel Londoño

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Leer en español: ¿Por qué no hay tiros de 4 puntos en el baloncesto?

If you are new to the world of basketball you may have seen professional players, especially in the NBA take crazy, wild shots. Some of them far behind the 3 point line, or even on the other side of the court. Seeing this you may have wondered, ¿How come THAT doesn’t count as a four-point play? Surely the farther you are from the basket, the more points you should get from a successful shot.

Well, technically, it is possible to make a four-point play, but not a four-point shot in basketball. A four-point play happens when a player shooting a three-point shot is fouled and subsequently makes the free throw.  It is one of the most technically demanding plays in all of basketball.

However, this doesn't answer our original question: ¿Why is there not a four-point shot in the game? Well, the main reason is that it would make the game really boring.

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In recent years, many teams in the NBA have been taking more and more 3 point shots. While they are a really efficient shot they make for a boring spectacle. There is no interaction between opposing players besides a couple of dribbles to create space, and seeing players not even trying to enter the paint can get really dull for spectators. Despite being less efficient, dunks are a more exciting play for fans. To see this, you just have to compare the middling popularity of star James Harden, one of the best shooters of all time, to that of Giannis Antetokoumpo, who is almost universally loved by fans despite lacking a three-point shot. Players that attack the paint and interact with the opposing team make for a better spectacle. 



So, if we follow this line of thought, introducing a 4 point shot to the game would be a terrible idea. We would see more and more shooting attempts from miles from the basket, and player interaction would be greatly reduced. What is even more worrying is that big players would be even further stigmatized that they are now, as their role would be even less needed. But the biggest victims would be the fans, forced to watch a game where there are fewer flashy passes, dunks, or lay-ups. 

Sometimes, preserving the fun of a sport is more important than creating the most efficient version of it. 

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