So it’s a Saturday afternoon and you’ve decided to stick to your New Year’s resolution of “getting in shape.” You decide to call up some buds and head on down to the park to play a little b-ball. When you and the comrades arrive, there’s a surprise waiting. Another group of dudes had the exact same idea as you. They’re the five guys you always see playing pickup basketball.
1. The Guy Who Always Calls Fouls
This is the guy who seems to know all the rules. Sure, everyone knows what a travel is, a double dribble, and maybe even a simple foul. Not this guy. Rulebook Rick over here has the tendency to call a “three second lane violation.” He has a mental clock in his head to call a 24-second shot clock violation. This guy even has the nerve to make every player tuck his shirt in, take off any jewelry and insists that you wear your NBA headband right side up.
2. The Dick
You are sure to have a run in with this type of pickup player at almost every park or YMCA. This is the asshole that constantly yells at you to “SET A SCREEN. SCREEN!” “PICK AND ROLL. I SAID PICK AND ROLL!” This will continue to happen throughout the entire game regardless if you understand his play calling, as if somehow shouting louder makes vague basketball plays more clear. Not only does this dude feel compelled to let you know how to play the game you’ve been watching and emulating since you were in a little league team, he’s also the guy who ONLY shoots three’s and attempts to slam dunk (despite his height of just over 5’5″). He thinks he’s the Steve Nash of the court and tries to bounce pass to you through competitors legs and from behind his back. Then puts the blame on you for not “communicating” on the play.
3. The Guy Who Shouldn’t Be Playing
Now this individual may come in a few different forms. Sometimes, he’s the guy that shows up with a knee brace on both of his knees, shin guards and a helmet. He’s could be the bubble boy that’s seeing daylight for the first time in a few weeks and is really only playing because his online friends told him to get some fresh air (that’s when you know it’s a problem). This player could also be the guy who’s addicted to cigarettes and can be caught lighting up during a time out. These types of players are constantly calling a time out, or a “take five” break after only two minutes of playtime.
4. The Old Guy
We’ve all seen him. The dad that wants to play around with the young guns, the ex-D-League veteran who is still trying to get into the NBA, or the retiree who’s escaped the home. Either way, this is the guy that you don’t want to cover. In most cases you’ll find this gentleman without a shirt because “that’s how we used to play in [his] day.” Sorry gramps, but I don’t think too many people play ‘shirts vs. skins’ anymore. The only thing going for The Old Guy is his muscle memory. This guy may actually have an impossibly good shot in contrast to his appearance. Much like The Guy Who Shouldn’t Be Playing, be wary of covering this player as he most likely has a medical condition.
5. The Pro
In most cases this guy will really just be a teen kid who’s the star of his high school basketball team, although he could also be the person you only dream you could be. This pickup player is the poster child of the backyard league and has (almost) everything going for him. He’s sinking three’s, making good passes, and can actually touch the rim. Bystanders watch in awe as this youngster has no problem playing a full forty-five minutes of basketball… and then goes for a victory jog.
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