Basketball Games for 2 Players

Basketball is a great way to build endurance, jumping ability, hand–eye coordination and cardiovascular health, but often there aren’t enough players available to form two teams. There are some great games that can be played with only two players that can be great exercise and a lot of fun.


Shoot a free throw to determine who starts the game. The first player can shoot at any time and rebound his own shot. If a defender gets the rebound, he must dribble past the three-point line before he can shoot. A basket equals two points. The player who makes a basket then shoots free throws until a shot is missed. Each free throw counts as one point. The first player to get 21 points wins.

Around The World

A player must make a series of shots from around the key. When a shot is made from one position the player moves to the next shot. Once that shot is made the player moves to the following position. A shot must be made from every position to win, and the first person to make every shot is determined to be the winner. This game builds shooting ability and begins with a designated number of positions around the key. Normally the first position is located at the corner of the key and the shooting positions are arranged in a semi-circle around the goal, with the final spot located directly under the net. For more skilled players, the three-point line makes a great alternative. If a player misses the shot from a position they may take a “chance” and try again. If they make the second attempt they move on to the next position. If they miss this second attempt or decide not to take the “chance,” they must start over at the first position. The first person to make shots from all positions is the winner.

Knock Out

This game requires two basketballs and at least two players. Play begins by forming a line on the court and all players attempt the first shot from that spot. If the first shot is missed the player must rebound and try to make another shot from any position on the court. If the second player makes their first shot, player one is eliminated. If the first player makes his first shot the second player gets a try to make their first shot. The player who misses the shot first is eliminated. This game is best played with multiple players but is also a lot of fun with only two people.

About this Author

Keith Strange spent more than a decade as a staff writer for newspapers and magazines in the Southeast United States, where he polished his skills into an award-winning career. He has a B.S. in sports medicine and attended graduate school to study exercise physiology. Strange is a former competitive martial artist and holds a third degree black belt in taekwondo.