The 8 Most Common Pick-Up Basketball Players

Pick up basketball is always an interesting experience.  It’s tough to know what to expect from your average pick-up game.  The arbitrary nature of selecting teams typically lends the game an every-man-for-himself type atmosphere.  With only tenuous team connections, a great deal of chucking often ensues.  Defense, particularly help defense, is often non-existent.  There’s also a great deal of cherry picking; as soon as a shot goes up, there’s always that one guy who will spring down the other end of the court, yelling and clapping his hands, with no regard for helping out on the glass.  In honor of the bizarre nature of pick up, here’s a list of the most common inhabitants of the playgrounds and gyms of America. 

 8) The Marathoner

Origins: The treadmill, Marathon Sports

Quote: Wanna run it back?

This guy is in the process of training for a marathon,Iron Man, triathlon or some other absurd test of the human capacity for pain.  As such, he runs for 3 to 5 hours a day.  Though he’s often uncoordinated and goofy looking with the ball, his ability to beat everyone down the court makes him a valuable asset.  Good luck trying to cover him.  He’ll run you all over the court  until you’re left sucking wind in that classic exhausted pose.  If you’re picking sides, you want this guy on your team.

7) The Old Guy

Origins: The past, the local senior center.

Quotes: Slow it down!

Typically anywhere from 55 to 85 years old, the old guy is a near ubiquitous presence on most suburban courts.  Though he was once a formidable presence, injuries and the simple passage of time have rendered him useless in the more fast-paced, rough and tumble basketball world of today.  Still, that doesn’t stop him from setting a tough screen and using his bony elbows to annoy the crap out of you.

6) The Guy Who Can’t Do Anything But Shoot Set-Shots

Origins: An entire childhood spent shooting around in the most apathetic manner possible.

Quote: Let’s set some screens guys, let’s work the ball around a little bit

Think Damon Jones, only as a 5’7 white guy.  Make no mistake about it, this dude can shoot.  Give him an open 20 footer and a few seconds to think about it, and he is money.  Unfortunately, his shooting skills are offset by startlingly deficiencies in just about every other area.  He plays no D, gives up a ton of offense rebounds, and can’t dribble.  He also has a severe case of Reggie Milleritis: he thinks his entire team should focus on setting screens to get him open for a three.  If you already have a solid team and can afford to have one defensive liability on your team, this guy is serviceable.  Otherwise, steer clear. 

5) The Phenom

Origins: Division I or II

Quote: Hold on, let me check this call.

The phenom is your classic “I’m giving about 10% effort, but I will still dominate” type guy.  He probably plays or played at a Division I or II school.  He came to the gym/court with a friend to get some shots up, but got roped into the game.  Still, he makes it pretty clear that he is superior to everyone on the court by occasionally exploding for a dunk or coming out of nowhere to pin a shot off the backboards.   

4) The Plugger

Origins: Hours of Brian Scalabrine game tapes.

Quote: Take a charge!

Essentially the Brian “The Janitor” Cardinal of the asphalt, this guy will do whatever it takes to win.  He boxes out as soon as a shot goes up, sets solid screens, and is one of the few people willing to take a charge on concrete.  Unfortunately, his plucky nature is almost always combined with a lack of skill.  In other words, he couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat.  Still, you want this guy on your team for his burning, all-consuming desire to win.

Origins: The end of the bench on his high school team.

Quote: I got you!  I got you!  Right here, right here….Clank

3) The Chucker

Go to any playground in America, and you’ll see your fair share guys who just cannot get enough shots up.  They are to be avoided at all costs when choosing sides.  They are instantly recognizable due to the loud clanging sound of their ball slamming off the rim.  The chucker is well known for dominating the ball to no end.  If he brings it up, they’ll pass it off and then immediately demand the ball back.  On the fast break, he’s the guy calling for you to pass up an open layup so he can launch a twenty five footer.  It’s difficult to pin-point the reasons for their trigger happy game, but oftentimes it began in high school, when they quit the team because their coach wasn’t playing them. 

2) The Social Butterfly

Origins: That annoying kid who won’t shut up.

Quote: Hey man?  How you been?  How’s your sister?  The family is good?

The level of seriousness with which people treat pick-up games varies from the life-or-death intensity of the plugger to those who treat the game with the same intensity as Smokey from The Big Lebowski.  Most people, though, exhibit, at least some sense of urgency and competitiveness.  Not the Social Butterfly.  He could care less about the game.  He treats it with such indifference that you have to wonder why he even bothers to lace up his sneakers.  These shenanigans will start before the game begins.  The Social Butterfly will delay the game a good ten minutes, simply by walking around and asking every single player on his team for their name, what school they went to, what they’re doing now, what their parents do, etc.  He will then proceed to chat up every player on the opposing team.  Once the game starts, he’ll begin a running dialogue with whatever poor soul gets stuck guarding him.  This becomes particularly irksome during stoppages in play, which get a five-minute extension due to his need to discuss Rajon Rondo’s struggling jump shot.  If you manage to win a game with this guy on your team, grab a magazine.  It’s gonna be another half hour before the next game starts, as this guy gets to know his new opponents.

1) The Coach

Origins: The town’s youth league, where he coached his daughter’s rec league team ten years ago.

Quote: Did you download those plays I sent you?

This is usually an older gentlemen who’s graying hair and crickety knees have made him the elder statesman of the court.  People will sometimes look to him to settle disputes, or to make a judgment call on some obscure ruling (one such circumstance that always comes up: the ball hitting the top of the backboard and bouncing in).  Once this reputation gets established, The Coach embraces it completely.  Rather than being a regular, slightly below-average player, this guy morphs into some type of tyrannical player-coach.  He’ll chew you out for missing a box-out assignment, constantly demand that your team slow the ball down, and scream at people to move without the ball and to set screens.  Despite the bravado, the Coach does not bring a heck of a lot to the table, other than a deadly 12 foot set shot.


~ by fc13 on May 2, 2010.

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