Which do you like better: basketball or hockey? That’s like asking whether you prefer chocolate chip cookies or chocolate chip ice cream.

The NBA and NHL playoffs are in full swing. Some kids love hoops, while others can’t get enough of all the hockey action. Let’s take a look at what makes the playoffs in both sports so special.


Big names: Some of the biggest stars in the sports world are in the NBA playoffs. It’s always a thrill to watch superstars such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Durant do their thing. In hoops, the stars don’t come in and out every minute or so. They play almost the whole game.

Matchups: Unlike hockey, with its swirling action and constantly changing lines, basketball players often match up — man to man — against each other. So the Boston Celtics’ Paul Pierce takes on the Miami Heat’s LeBron James. Or the Heat’s Dwyane Wade covers the Celtics’ Ray Allen. Key matchups are exciting and can be where a series is won or lost.

Scoring: Basketball is much higher-scoring than hockey. Some folks like all the shots swishing through the net and the big numbers on the scoreboard. What I like is that you can see every score in basketball. In hockey, most goals are so quick that I’m looking around and asking, “What happened?”


Speed: Every time I watch hockey, I’m amazed at the speed of the game. Skaters fly up and down the ice. Slap shots send the puck screaming at up to 100 miles per hour. The goalie’s glove flicks out as fast as a snake’s tongue to make the save.

Overtime: I think a game that goes into overtime during the Stanley Cup playoffs is one of the most exciting things in sports. One play, one shot, one lucky bounce and you are either happy or heartbroken. Lots of games go into OT. In the first round of this year’s playoffs, 14 games went into overtime, and three of those went into double OT.

Timeouts: There are too many timeouts in basketball: full timeouts, 20-second timeouts, TV timeouts. The last minute of a close basketball game can take forever. Hockey has more nonstop action. I just wish hockey didn’t have such long breaks between periods, but it’s always fun to watch the Zamboni machine clean the ice.

So which will you have? Chocolate chip cookies or chocolate chip ice cream? Basketball or hockey?

Personally, I’d rather not choose. I’ll take a scoop of chocolate chip ice cream with a cookie on top. I like them both. Just like basketball and hockey.

Fred Bowen is the KidsPost sports opinion columnist and the author of six books about basketball, but none — so far — about hockey.