basketball players play whole game
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Basketball Players Can Play Whole Game: Here’s Why!

Ask any basketball player and they will tell you that basketball players can play the whole game. Playing basketball for the whole game is possible, but it’s something that players are not often asked to do. A lot of people think basketball players should only play half the game. Because it would be too intense on their bodies to do otherwise.

This article will discuss whether or not basketball players should try to play the entire game without breaks. How many games some NBA legends have played a whole game. And what playing at full intensity for an entire game does to your body afterwards.

The Typical NBA Game

The average NBA game has a 48-minute game clock with 12 minute quarters. A basketball player can play the whole game if they can stay on their feet. And keep up with their teammates during those 24 minutes of basketball action.

basketball players play whole game

Can an NBA Player Play the Whole Game?

In general, basketball players can play an entire NBA game without being tired at all. Because of their physical conditioning and workout regimen. Basketball is about endurance and stamina.

Physical Excellence:

A basketball player’s performance in a basketball game depends greatly on how well conditioned he or she is with his/her body physically before going into the actual basketball competition itself during that particular match-up against another team.

Some basketball players are so fast and agile that they can play the whole game without taking a break. Kobe Bryant has played an entire NBA game for his team six times in his career. Before it became more common to take breaks during basketball games.

Being Prepared

If you’re properly prepared by working out with weights for your muscles. Doing cardiovascular exercises such as jogging or running long distances will prepare you both mentally and physically to go through three full quarters of intense basketball action.

Until it comes down to crunch time near the end of the basketball game.

Are There Any NBA Rules Against Playing an Entire Basketball Game?

No, there are no NBA basketball rules against basketball players playing the whole game.

The NBA basketball rule book doesn’t even state that basketball players need to take breaks during a basketball game and can play for as long as they want until the game is finished.

How Many NBA Players Have Played a Whole Game? Who played the most minutes?

According to Stathead Basketball, a total of 4374 basketball players throughout NBA history have played an entire game in the league.

Some of these players happen to be:

  1. Dale Ellis: Dale Ellis played 69 minutes for the Seattle Supersonics in a game against the Milwaukee Bucks on November 9, 1989. He scored 53 points and made 20 of 36 field goals in the game. Ellis played for 17 seasons in the NBA and was a three-time All-Star.
  2. Larry Drew: Larry Drew played 68 minutes for the Cleveland Cavaliers in a game against the Boston Celtics on November 8, 1984. He scored 11 points and had 16 assists in the game. Drew played for 10 seasons in the NBA and later served as a head coach for the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks.
  3. Magic Johnson: Magic Johnson played 67 minutes for the Los Angeles Lakers in a game against the Boston Celtics in the 1984 NBA Finals. He scored 29 points, had 13 assists, and 8 rebounds in the game. Johnson played for 13 seasons in the NBA and won five championships with the Lakers.
  4. Walt Bellamy: Walt Bellamy played 66 minutes for the Baltimore Bullets in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers on December 13, 1961. He scored 53 points and had 34 rebounds in the game. Bellamy played for 14 seasons in the NBA and was a four-time All-Star.
  5. Jerry West: Jerry West played 63 minutes for the Los Angeles Lakers in a game against the Boston Celtics in the 1962 NBA Finals. He scored 42 points and had 13 rebounds in the game. West played for 14 seasons in the NBA and was a 14-time All-Star.

Why are NBA Players Playing Fewer Minutes?

The reason basketball teams have started to rest their starters is because of injuries due to overuse during long games. An injury can lead to other players on your bench who need playing time.

NBA players are some of the most physically gifted athletes in the world, and they undergo rigorous training and conditioning to prepare their bodies for the demands of the sport.

However, even with their exceptional physical abilities, they play fewer minutes and have rest days to reduce the risk of injury and fatigue. Here’s an in-depth review and analysis of why NBA players play less and have rest days.

  1. Risk of Injury: Basketball is a physically demanding sport, and the risk of injury is high. NBA players perform complex physical movements such as jumping, running, and pivoting, which can place significant stress on their joints, muscles, and bones. Playing for extended periods without rest can increase the risk of injury, including acute injuries such as sprains and strains, as well as chronic overuse injuries. By playing fewer minutes and having rest days, NBA players can reduce the risk of injury and maintain their health and longevity.
  2. Fatigue Management: Playing in the NBA requires an immense amount of physical and mental energy, and playing for extended periods without rest can lead to fatigue. Fatigue can affect an athlete’s performance, concentration, and decision-making abilities, which can increase the risk of injury and decrease the overall quality of play. By playing fewer minutes and having rest days, NBA players can manage their fatigue levels and perform at a high level throughout the season.
  3. Load Management: Load management is a term used to describe the practice of strategically managing an athlete’s workload to optimize their performance and reduce the risk of injury. NBA players are subjected to a grueling schedule, with games often scheduled on consecutive days. Load management involves reducing the number of minutes played by the athlete or sitting them out altogether to ensure they are fresh and ready to perform at their best. This approach not only reduces the risk of injury but also helps to optimize performance and prevent burnout.
  4. Long-Term Health: NBA players have a finite career span, and long-term health is crucial to their overall well-being. Playing fewer minutes and having rest days helps to preserve their physical health and extend their careers. By reducing the risk of injury and managing fatigue levels, NBA players can maintain their health and longevity and continue to perform at a high level for many years.

NBA players play fewer minutes and have rest days to help ensure that they can continue to perform at a high level throughout the season and extend their careers. The NBA is a physically demanding sport, and these practices are crucial to the success and well-being of the athletes.

The Benefits Of Playing A Full Game

Playing basketball at full intensity will help with your physical fitness level. You develop strength during games by running up and down the court many times carrying heavy equipment (a ball).

If you play basketball every day after practice or basketball games, you will become more skilled at basketball.

Disadvantages of Playing an Entire Game

basketball players play whole game

Injuries Can Be Serious!

Basketball has become such a physically demanding sport due to how fast and agile many professional athletes move around on the court with dribbling skills and jumping abilities needed when trying to make fancy basketball shots.

Playing basketball for 48 minutes straight is very demanding on your body and can cause serious injuries if you are not strong enough to keep playing basketball at a high level of intensity without getting tired from all the running around.

Getting Complacent

Playing basketball for an entire game may make players weaker in their shooting accuracy due to fatigue making it hard to focus while trying to score points against opponents.

Who also have good skills with dribbling and passing abilities using teamwork tactics when they see a player starting to get weak from lack of energy reserves.

Which could lead other teammates taking over that position giving them more opportunities during games where teams will need everyone’s best effort toward winning another championship title.

How to Prepare for Playing a Whole Basketball Match?

To last a full basketball game, it is important to:

  • Rest well the night before basketball games and eat a healthy meal consisting of proteins and carbohydrates.
  • Eat bananas to give you enough energy throughout basketball games because they contain potassium, which is needed by your muscles during physical activity like basketball players need when playing for an entire game.
  • Drink plenty of water all day long so that you do not get dehydrated from running around on the court making it hard to play basketball at full intensity due to fatigue setting in once your body gets low amounts of fluids inside your cells where everything needs them to work correctly.
  • Also, train every week with weights using resistance machines or free weights while doing squats and bench presses helping build up strength in certain muscle groups used mainly while playing basketball such as legs, back, shoulders, and arms.
  • Practice basketball shooting drills to improve your basketball skills to have high accuracy while playing basketball at full intensity during whole games.
basketball players play whole game

What to do if You Get Tired During a Basketball Match?

If you feel tired at all, then just let your coach know so he/she knows how much time you need between quarters of an NBA basketball game.

Before going back out on the court after halftime to start up another three-quarter segment of intense professional basketball action down low with those big guys making plays around the basket area. Trying to block all your shots from behind when taking them.

Longevity is the name of the game

Winning the NBA MVP award is a significant achievement and a testament to a player’s talent, skill, and impact on the game. However, maintaining a high level of performance and longevity in the league is even more impressive. Here’s a shortlist of NBA players with MVP awards who have the best and most significant longevity in the sport.

  1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won the NBA MVP award six times during his career, and he holds the record for the most seasons played in the NBA with 20. He played for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers, winning six championships in total. Abdul-Jabbar was a 19-time All-Star and is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
  2. LeBron James: LeBron James has won the NBA MVP award four times and is still playing at a high level in his 20th season in the league. He has played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers, winning four championships in total. James is a 18-time All-Star and is widely regarded as one of the best all-around players in NBA history and is in conversation for the Greatest of All Time.
  3. Tim Duncan: Tim Duncan won the NBA MVP award twice during his career and played for the San Antonio Spurs for 19 seasons. He won five championships with the Spurs and was a 15-time All-Star. Duncan is widely regarded as one of the best power forwards in NBA history.
  4. Kobe Bryant: Kobe Bryant won the NBA MVP award once during his career and played for the Los Angeles Lakers for 20 seasons. He won five championships with the Lakers and was an 18-time All-Star. Bryant is widely regarded as one of the best shooting guards in NBA history.

Why include an MVP award?

These players have not only won multiple NBA MVP awards but also demonstrated incredible longevity in the league, playing at a high level for many years. This means they DOMINATED the game not just with a single peak but for a good amount of years or even decades! Their achievements are a testament to their talent, work ethic, and dedication to the sport. They have left a lasting legacy in the NBA and are widely regarded as some of the greatest players of all time.


In conclusion, basketball players playing full intensity on their feet is very beneficial in physical fitness terms but carries its disadvantages as well which must be taken into consideration before deciding whether or not basketball players should try playing games fully from start to finish!

It’s important overall to remember that every basketball player has a basketball IQ which is what also makes basketball a sport of intellect as well as physicality.

Thank you for reading our blog post about whether or not basketball players can play a whole game or not, and why? We hope this article was informative in explaining, and that you enjoyed reading this blog, and I’ll see you next time!


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