Sunday , May 19 2024

Toy Review: ‘Bank-A-Ball’

Bank-A-Ball from inventor David Beker and ABetter Design Company lives up to its claim as the world’s most advanced portable indoor basketball structure. Miniature indoor basketball hoops are nothing new: cool kids and hip office workers have had them over hampers and trashcans for decades. Bank-A-Ball raises the stakes with versatility in modifying not only the backboard but also the rim for trick shots like nothing before.

The story of Bank-A-Ball goes back to Beker’s childhood in Minneapolis as a big fan of his hometown teams, particularly the Timberwolves. He would try to reenact the players’ spectacular shots on his own even when it was too cold to play outside, leading to a love of indoor house basketball. When he had kids of his own, he wanted to recreate that spirit of trick shots with them.

Beker said, “I always felt that bank shots allow for a margin of error to pull off the most spectacular shots.” For the toy, he added engineering skills to devise even more spectacular options off multiple backboard and rim angles. The resulting Bank-A-Ball shoots for unlimited creativity in an era when parents struggle to find engaging play outside of a screen.

He Shoots; He Scores

The key to the Bank-A-Ball set is a backboard with two wings hinged at angles that can be repositioned three different ways each. Its rim is adjustable as well, with seven different positions, from the regular flat to 90 degrees on either side. Together, they create a mobile complex that can be hung from any door, allowing players to create their own challenges with complicated angles and even double-bouncing shots for baskets that might otherwise be impossible.

Bank-A-Ball also features a 4-inch foam basketball light enough to be indoor-safe, with reasonable precautions concerning mom’s favorite lamp. While the official standard for basketball is a ball-to-rim ratio of 53%, the smaller ball in Bank-A-Ball affords players a 48% ratio, allowing for just that much more possibility to sink an astounding shot. The smaller ball also allows for younger players to join in on the fun without any disadvantage they might feel from trying to heft a regulation basketball.

Playing the Game

Although free play is a given with Bank-A-Ball, so that players can practice taking whatever shots they can imagine, it also comes with a unique rules set that borrows from basketball staples like HORSE as well as tennis in taking turns, and golf in seeking the lowest score.

A first player sets up the hoop in any configuration and then backs up to take the first shot. If that player misses, the configuration is nixed, and the next player devises a new one. If the first player makes that shot, however, now all other players are dared to do the same.

Every miss earns a player one point, and 11 points means ejection from the game. Play continues until just one player is left and named the reigning champion of Bank-A-Ball trick shots. With so many ways to set up the board encouraging creativity, that champion will quickly be challenged to another round with a whole new set of unique baskets.

About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.

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