Knockout (also known as Lightning, Gotcha, Killer, Elimination, Poison, Crash, Fireball, Dynamite, Thunder, Thunderbump, Putout, Speed, Hurricane, Tornado, Ultimate, Scrum, Chicago Shootout, and Shoot-to-Kill) is a basketball activity. The objective of the game is to make shots in order to survive elimination and, in turn, eliminate other players. The basic rule of the game is if the trailing player makes a shot before the leading player, the leading player is eliminated. The winner of the game is the last remaining player.
- Two players or more in a single-file line, typically starting at the free-throw line
- Two basketballs, held by the first two players in line
- The first player in line begins the game by taking an initial shot.
- As soon as the first player has taken the initial shot, the second player may step up to the line and take his or her shot.
- If a player's initial shot does not go in, he or she may rebound the basketball and attempt to make a basket from any location (most often, a layup would be attempted because it is an easier shot to make than a standard jump shot).
- Once a player makes a basket, he or she must immediately pass the ball to the next player at the front of the line and then go to the end of the line. The player at the front of the line may take his or her shot immediately upon receiving a ball.
- If any player does not make his or her shot before the person behind them, he or she is "knocked out" and is out until a new game starts.
- The order of the players cannot change during the game except by shrinking in size as players are knocked out.
- The game continues until everyone is knocked out except for one final player, who is deemed the winner.
- In some versions of the game, you can bump players balls away from the hoop with your own ball.
Some variants of knockout allow players to use their basketballs to knock the ball away from the player shooting (considered a "bump"), therefore enabling that player to knock the other player out. However, the ball cannot be in grasp of the player; one cannot just go up to the player and knock his or her ball away. Also, once a player has made the basket, he or she cannot knock his or her opponent's ball away for the next player's sake. That is the next player's job. Some variants even allow a player to shoot their ball through the bottom of the hoop, knocking the other person's ball off course, preventing his or her ball from entering the hoop. Other variations include 'waiting' in which after (or before) a person has made his/her shot they are allowed to 'wait' for the next person to shoot. As soon as the ball is in the air the person that is waiting can alter the course of the ball by throwing theirs at it. They may also 'wait' until the ball is shot and then 'bump' it before the shooter gets it back after the shot. If the person that is 'waiting' misses the attempt at the shooters ball when it is in the air, they may keep waiting and try to shoot their ball through the bottom of the hoop at the shooters ball therefore 'bumping' the shooters ball out before it goes in. You are allowed to 'wait' until the person that was behind you makes a basket.
The game is most commonly played from the free-throw line, however variations of the game are played from the three-point line, or even the half-court line. Another variation is to start at the foul line, then the final three play from the three-point line.
In other variations, players would start from the free-throw line, then once a player is out, the line would move back a step, or much further. Once a player is out, he or she may come back in the game by catching someone's ball, but only if it has not hit the backboard or rim.
Another way to play is "ultimate", sometimes called "never-ending" style. If a player is knocked-out, he or she is out until the player who got him or her out is eliminated himself or herself, and that you can switch balls in this game.
The game includes various widely used terminology, such as:
- "kiss of death", meaning that a player has eliminated the player in front of him or her with his first shot
- "swift vengeance" or "Curse of the First" (COF), meaning that the second-place player from the previous game has eliminated the previous first-place player on his or her first turn.
Knockout is a simple group activity to learn and hence used in many physical education classes. It can improve free-throw shooting, rebounding, and quickness as players are pressured to make baskets in an efficient manner.
The largest game of Knockout in world history took place on the grounds of Mason High School in Mason, OH on October 19, 2013. The competition was held at the school's Fieldhouse. 667 participants competed in what will eventually be officially recognized as the Guinness World Record for "World's Largest Game of Knockout."
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