in: Manly Know-How, Skills, Visual Guides

• Last updated: June 6, 2021

Cool Uncle Tricks: How to Spin a Basketball on Your Finger

Comic guide how to spin a basketball in fingers.

An essential part of being an awesome uncle is having a repertoire of tricks and jokes that will amaze your nieces and nephews, and crack them up. So from time to time we’ll be offering you current and future uncles out there a tutorial on some gags that’ll have them thinking you’re the coolest dude in the world. Check out all our Cool Uncle Tricks. 

When you think about doing tricks with basketballs, you’ll probably first think of the Harlem Globetrotters, and specifically of that most quintessential of their feats: taking a basketball, tossing it up into the air with some spin, and balancing it atop a finger.

But those legendary exhibition players weren’t the first to perform this trick. In fact, it wasn’t even originally associated with athletics. 

Ball spinning actually goes all the way back to the late 19th century, when it was the sort of thing you’d find in a magician’s handbook, or see performed on stage by a professional juggler. Even though it’s been around for more than a century, the trick hasn’t lost any of its original luster and still comes off as some impressive wizardry. 

As with any trick, spinning a basketball on your finger takes lots of time and practice, but once you get it right, you’ll easily captivate your nieces and nephews with this classic cool uncle trick. Pro tip: Practice with a ball that’s smooth, but not slippery, and then graduate to a basketball once you’ve got your technique down. The texture of a basketball can make it a bit more difficult for rookies to spin.

Illustrated by Ted Slampyak

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