Here are a couple views of my basketball animation. It's the same animation just from different angles.
I did this as part of the summer course I just finished at Capilano University. The character is an existing model that's all set up to animate. The character rig is called Morphy. A lot of student animations use it. It took a little bit of getting used to, but I was starting to get the hang of it.
Picking up the ball was both easier and harder than it might look. It took a bit of work to get some commands set up so that once he picks up the ball it "sticks" to his hand, but once that was set up the hand and ball remained together until the shot release.
The net was kind of tricky to. For just a few frames of animation it required some controls called deformers (I think) to be placed on it. Something like this would have been much easier to do traditionally I think. The mesh is actually a cylinder with the top and bottom cut off, then with the bottom shrunk, then with a texture applied that was transparent except for where the mesh was.
I added the second character after setting up the controls for having the ball attach to the first guy's hands, so ended up having to move the ball and hands manually, which took some time.
It was fun to do though. The ball ended up feeling pretty close to the way I thought it should. The ball is animated too, I didn't add gravity to the scene and then use a physics model or anything like that.
Maya is the program I used, and you can actually manipulate the individual curves for each attribute (like location in x,y,z and rotation in x,y,z). So there is actually a lot of behind the scenes physics stuff to think about. Like the vertical movement of the ball is in the y direction, and it's an arc. If I flatten out the curve at the top, then the ball hangs a little longer. If the curve is pointier, then the ball changes direction much faster.
There are so many little things that can be tweaked that it's tough to be "done". But I'm done with it for now. A lot of work for 6 seconds though haha, so watch it twice.