Why Do Basketball Players Lick Their Fingers

Why Do Basketball Players Lick Their Fingers?

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There are many things basketball players do on the court. They do many pre-game and in-game rituals, like punching the pad below the rim, hanging on the rim, dancing, and many more! One of the craziest things basketball players do during basketball games is licking their fingers or hands. Why do they do this? Let’s see the answer.

Why do basketball players lick their fingers? Basketball players lick their fingers or hands before shooting free-throws or if they will rub the bottom of their shoes. The main reason why they do this is to get a good grip. This is a habit most basketball players do that looks gross. 

Basketball players make this their habit. You will see most of them will lick their fingers or hands in the game, most especially when they take their free throws. However, let’s know more about this topic. Let’s dig deeper around this topic, and let’s find out when do basketball players lick their hands and when they use their hands filled with their saliva. Let’s go!

Why Do Basketball Players Lick Their Fingers Before A Free Throw?

In any basketball games, professional or not, you will see basketball players lick their fingers before they hold the ball and shoot their free throws, right? They do this on them before and after their first free-throws. You are wondering why they do that because it is undeniably disgusting! 

Imagine that there are many microbes in the ball already. Why? Because many players have already touched it, and it touched the floor. Even though it has many germs already, basketball players still lick their hands after touching the ball!. Gross, right? But what are their reasons for licking their fingers during free-throws? 

Why Do Basketball Players Lick Their Fingers
Why Do Basketball Players Lick Their Fingers?

The reason why basketball players lick their fingers or hands before a free-throw is to get a good grip on the ball. When shooting a free-throw, there is a possibility that the ball may slip into the player’s hands that may result in an airball or missed shot. To make sure that the ball won’t slip from their hands, basketball players lick their hands to get a stronger grip on the ball. 

Licking your hands or fingers is disgusting because your hands become sweaty when you play basketball. Also, other players touched the ball already that put thousands of germs in the ball and now you touch the ball and lick your hands. However, licking your fingers or hands can help you get a good grip. But still, it’s gross! 

Why Do Basketball Players Lick Their Fingers Then Rub The Bottom Of Their Shoes?

Another thing basketball players do is lick their fingers then rub their hands on the bottom of their shoes. This is much more disgusting, right? Imagine that you are playing on an outdoor basketball court. You lick your fingers and rub the bottom of your shoes. Then after a few minutes, you do it again. 

Sounds gross, right? Basketball players don’t do this twice, but twice more! If a basketball player does this twice or more, he/she eats every dirt and germs of the bottom of his/her shoes. This is extremely gross if a basketball player that does this is playing outdoors! However, there is a deeper reason why basketball players do this. 

Basketball players lick their fingers then rub on the bottom of their shoes so that their shoes will be more grippy. They make sure that there is no dirt or other stuff that will make their shoes slippery. In simple words, they use their saliva to remove things under the bottom of their shoes that can cause them to slip on the court. 

I have also done this before. Every time I wear basketball shoes and play, I do this because I always feel like my shoes are slippery. I do this when I play indoors and even outdoors. But it was before, and I don’t do it in the present because I realize how many germs I am putting inside my mouth when I do this. Today, I just simply rub the bottom of my shoes without putting my fingers inside my mouth first. 

You will see this kind of habit often in professional basketball games like the NBA. They play indoors. That is why they think it is safe to put their hands inside their mouth and touch their shoes. However, I still don’t think it’s safe and clean. Many people stepped on that floor already. You don’t even know where they use their shoes before playing or stepping inside the court.

Why Do Basketball Players Touch The Ball During Free Throws?

The other kind of ritual basketball players do on the court is they touch the ball first before giving the ball to the referees during free-throws. It feels like they are feeling the ball first before they shoot their free-throws. But, what are the other reasons why basketball players do this? 

Basketball players do this to feel the ball first. Some basketball players forget what the ball feels like. Different basketball players have various reasons why they touch the ball first during free-throws. But the main reason why they do this is to get a feel for the ball. 

Free-throw shooters aren’t the only ones who touch the ball during free-throws. Other players too. The opponent of the free-throw shooter touches the ball to mess up with the free-throw shooter. The opposing player will make the ball wet so that the free-throw shooter will lose his/her grip on the ball. 

Sometimes referees call a technical foul to a basketball player who touches the ball during free-throws. They call a delay of the game. The attitudes of the referees are different.

Some are cold-headed, and some are hot-headed. Before you do this in a basketball match during free throws, make sure that the referees are cold-headed or have pleasing personalities to prevent getting technical fouls. 

Why Do Basketball Players Wear Tape On Their Fingers?

Basketball players are prone to sprained fingers. This is why some of them wear tape on their fingers. Taping the fingers helps basketball players prevent sprains on their fingers. It provides support to the fingers. 

Using tape can also help basketball players to recover from their finger injuries if they have one. When a basketball player with a finger injury wears a tape, he/she can come back from injuries more quickly than they normally would. So if you have a finger injury wear tape. If you want to prevent it, wear one too. 

Does Licking Your Hands Improve Grip?

Like I have said above, basketball players lick their hands or fingers to improve their grip. So technically, yes. Almost all basketball players do this kind of habit. If this is not effective, then no one will do it. 

Does Blowing Your Hands Improve Grip? 

Another thing basketball players do to improve their grip is by blowing on their hands. This is less disgusting compared to licking your hands. Basketball players blow their hands to improve their grip. Aside from that, basketball players blow on their hands to remove nervousness on the court and remove sweats from their hands. 

Final Thoughts

To conclude, basketball players, lick their fingers or hands to improve their grip on the ball. I know this may sound disgusting if you are not a player. But for most basketball players, it is not. There are many things basketball players do to win the ball game that looks unusual to us fans. But let’s not criticize what they are doing, and let’s just enjoy the game! 

Do you lick your fingers on basketball games? If yes, why? Comment your answer below!

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