Basketball was the first "real" basketball videogame. There has been pong variations before, but this basketball game from Atari was the first to use human shaped players (even if their animation is a bit silly) and a pseudo-3D playfield.
Moreover, it offers paced 2 player action along with real basketball features like dribbling, adjustable shots, defensive jumps or even stealing the ball from your adversary hands.
Here is some gameplay description from the manual:
"The player with the ball will dribble automatically and will always face the goal. The defending player will always face the ball.
To shoot, depress the red controller button. Your player will stop dribbling and will hold the ball, waving it back and forth over his head. When the controller button is released, the player will shoot. If the shot is made when the ball is over the player's head, it will be a long, high arching shot. If the shot is made when the ball is held low in front, it will be a short easy shot. The shot will always go towards the goal.
To defend against your opponent's shot, place yourself between the ball and the goal. When the shooter releases the ball, depress your red controller button. Your player will jump and you can block the shot and recover the ball. You can only block a shot when the ball is in its "upward" arc: there is no "goaltending" in this game.
To steal the ball, put the player's feet even with your opponent's feet. When the ball leaves your opponent's hand during the dribble, take the ball and race towards your own basket. Stealing the ball comes much easier with practice and will become an integral part of your defense strategy."
The game was programmed by Alan Miller who was himself a basketball player.