I jacked the Column Title from one of Phil Jackson's books, where he talks about how he's been able to infuse Zen and Cherokee spirituality into basketball. I merely want to elaborate on the teamwork aspect of the "beautiful game" (that also, is jacked from the world's nickname for soccer).
A game of basketball played by five people who are well-versed in all the basics (both in individual offense and defense, but more importantly: team offense and team defense) is the most pure expression of friendship that I know.
Think about it: friendships are about having each others' backs (if one guy gets past your teammate, rotate over on defense to help) and trust (once you rotate, another teammate will rotate over to cover your spot). Also you know someone well enough to know when they are better off with some space (Jon is highly efficient with the ball in the post) and when to give them a helping hand (Bryan likes a screen to get open for a shot). It's about helping your friends when you see they're struggling ("Don't think about the miss, just shoot") and congratulate them when they do well (a slap to the butt is always appropriate).
There's no jealousy or envy. Teammates are more than happy to ride each other's hot streaks, because it contributes to the whole team. On a fast break, no one cares who ends up with the ball and scores, the team wins either way.
But there's a difference when you have a team with people that play like they have to prove something, like the fact that they are the best person on that court. There's tons of bad shots taken and bad possessions. Distrust breeds distrust and soon you have a group of people not wanting to pass because they know they won't get it back. I think it's an ideal metaphor for a group of people working together who don't work as a team. You end up with a train wreck because of a few people who want things their way all the time.
Morale of the story: the whole is greater than the sum of the parts... so go find friends who play basketball as a team, and go win (while having tons of fun) .... then apply it to real life. Win-Win situation! Now you know why we're called Ballers in Arms.