When one thinks about gravity with regards to the game of basketball, many of us may undoubtedly attribute the term to the likes of Michael Jordan and Vince Carter. Michael Jordan's mind-boggling leaps often defied gravity and led to him being called "Air Jordan". Vince Carter also gave gravity a run for its money especially during the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest and when he jumped completely over another player during the 2000 Olympics for a dunk known as the "Dunk of Death". Many of us may think these two individuals may dunk even if they have a basketball backpack strapped to their back or if their basketball shorts went all the way to the ground. 

And has another different meaning altogether when it comes to basketball. 

Gravity looks at situations in basketball where a player draws the opposing defenders to them due to their ability as a shooting and/or scoring threat without the ball in their hands. If a player is deemed a shooting threat and draws many defenders without the ball, he or she would be considered a player that has a lot of gravity on the offensive end. 

Due to the defenders that would have to pay attention to a player with high gravity on offense, this creates open shots for teammates. 

There is a key that the statistic of gravity can limit one's potential as a player. It is all dependent on how a defense defends a player based on whether they are more dangerous with or without the ball. 

If an opposing defense realizes that you have less potential when you have the ball in your hands as opposed to when you don't, they're going to attempt to put you in positions where you have the basketball in your hands more often. As a result, a player would be forced to create his or her own shot off the dribble. Defenses will attempt to do this by playing man-to-man defense with a great on-ball defender. If a player cannot effectively create their shot, the defense will succeed because they have put him or her in a position in which his potential has been curtailed.. 

Kyle Korver was a great example of a player who was a lethal shooter and a very good player without the ball in his hands. Thus, he had quite a bit of gravity on offense as he defenders would have to pay attention to him. However, he was not nearly as good when he would have to create his own shot due to the increased defensive pressure that came in his direction. Thus, the gravity served to limit his potential because he couldn't adjust to the pressure. 

Well-rounded players could succeed with or without the ball in their hands. It make sense for opposing defenders to defend in such a way in which they force great off-the ball-scorers to become great on-the-ball scorers. If a player can't adjust, than one's potential for success is limited as a result of the increased gravity that came his or her way.

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July 17, 2023 — Jeremiah Oglesby