Picking an aperture for sports and action photography really comes down to several different details. One, how important is the crowd and the ambiance in the photograph? And two, what sort of environment are you shooting in? For example, Here at Madison Square Garden, shooting the Harlem Globe Trotters, the crowd weren't too important. It wasn't bad to have that nice shallow aperture to create that little bit of a blur.
The other benefit of doing so, was that it allowed me to have a faster shutter speed. Remembering that your aperture works in balance with your shutter speed, and your ISO to create the exposure, allows me to think, a shallow aperture, faster shutter speed. When photographing sports its really about that shutter speed, and the shallower aperture allowed me to shoot faster. You'll also get other aspects coming out of that, and you'll notice other players on the court, perhaps a little bit blurrier, as they're in that, outside of that shallow depth of field.
That's okay, when shooting sports, as long as our balls in focus, and the player we're photographing right at that minute is in focus, unless they're going for something a little bit different, that's the end result, and a shallow aperture allows us to do that.