stupid shots

This addendum to The Pickup Diaries describes the various crap shots that pickup ballers attempt on a frighteningly regular basis. They will be referenced in upcoming installments.

The fadeaway layup: Many pickup hoopsters are reluctant to take the ball strong to the basket. Maybe it's because most of them can't throw it down, maybe it's because they don't want to suffer the painful humiliation of having their shot blocked, or maybe they're secretly afraid of unleashing a CHAOS DUNK on the world. Yeah, that last one is pretty unlikely, but I'm always looking for reasons to reference Barkley, Shut up and Jam: Gaiden.

Whatever the reason, I have seen an alarming number of fadeaway layup attempts over the years. (Of course, I consider just one of these shots to be an “alarming” number.) This is where a player either has a reasonably wide open layup or a clear one-or-two-step path to the basket...but chooses instead to shoot a fadeaway jumper from, like, three feet away.

In point of fact, there's a guy in my Wednesday night pickup league whom I've never seen take a layup. And I've played with this guy for about eight years. Regardless of the distance -- it could be one foot or less! -- he always spins slightly and then takes a little fadeaway. Did I mention he's one of the tallest players in the league? Well, he is. However, I'm not sure his joints actually bend. He's like an old school Star Wars action figure. His arms and legs can only move up and down. Maybe that's his problem.

The peer pressure three: Generally speaking, you can pretty quickly determine which pickup leaguers can shoot three-pointers and which ones cannot. This doesn't mean the ones who can't hit treys don't shoot them. Quite the contrary. Many guys who shouldn't be shooting from any distance often insist on jacking up all manner of ill-conceived shots. But I'm not talking about those guys. I'm talking about the guys who can't shoot from distance and know it. So they never attempt threes...

...except for extreme peer pressure situations. This is where they are wide open for a three, their defender -- who knows they can't shoot and has wandered off to play "help defense" -- doesn't close out on them, and people on both teams are screaming "Take it! Just take it!" Their hesitation is obvious. They might even have that "deer in the leadlights" look. But, under the pressure and scrutiny of the moment, they chuck up a three-pointer that almost always results in either a) an airball or b) a deadly brick that leaves players ducking their heads and pleading, "Not in the face, not in the face!"

Occasionally, these shots will miraculously go down, which will lead to various cheers and jeers from everybody on the court and/or the sidelines. It can also lead to...

The ridiculous heat check: The heat check is where a guy who's shooting pretty well will take a bad shot in order to determine just how hot he really is. Well, that's the rationalized way to look at it. Here's the reality: Pickup ballers just like shooting. For the vast majority of players, taking a shot is the second-best experience in pickup hoops...the best experience being actually making a shot. So "earning" the right to chuck up whatever shot you want because you've already hit a few is an irresistible pleasure for most pickup leaguers. It's kind of like how some pregnent women go eat crazy because they finally have the right to gobble up whatever they want without being criticized for it. It's basically a nine-month reprieve from having to watch what they eat.

But I digress. The thing about the heat check is that it's usually taken by somebody who has proven they can shoot over many nights of pickup ball. The ridiculous heat check, on the other hand, is where somebody who is a renowned non-shooter somehow managed to convert a three (or maybe just a really long two) earlier in the game -- maybe on the previous possession -- and now feels emboldened to attempt another three as soon as he's in position to do so.

If a heat check has little chance of going in, the ridiculous heat check has less. By about 1,049% (+/- 217%). The ridiculous heat check is usually preceded by a look of fierce determination and followed by a shy grin and self-deprecating chuckle. And, if the game was close, a possible boot to the head from an angry teammate.

The reverse heat check: This is where a known shooter has been off all night but decides to chuck up a long-distance shot -- usually a three -- because the fact that they haven't yet hit one means they're due to start hitting eventually. That mentality might have worked for, say, Reggie Miller, but pickup ballers are not Reggie Miller. In pickup league, the Law of Averages has been repealed. Missing shots isn't evidence of an upcoming hot streak. All it means is you're off. Do everyone a favor. Don't be Ray Allen in the 2010 NBA Finals. Try to contribute in some other way, even if "some other way" means taking the rest of the night off.

The "This is my shot and I'm going to take it no matter what" shot: Most pickup players have a very limited repertoire of available moves and shots. I would guess that the average number of "pet shots" available to the typical pickup baller is around two or three. If I'm being honest, it's probably closer to two. Okay, maybe one. And when it comes to their pet shots, pickup ballers will almost always take them regardless of the circumstances. Whether they're in single coverage or in the middle of a scrum, whether they're 0-for-100 on the night, regardless of whether they have a wide open teammate right underneath the basket on game point, a great many pickup players will take their pet shot because they may never get the ball back.

The imitation shot: This is where a pickup player attempts a shot they've seen in a live NBA game or (more likely) on SportsCenter. Circus shots, reverse-double-pump layup attempts, step-back fadeaways...imagine all the shots Kobe Bryant took in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals -- you know, when he went 6-for-203 -- only in this case those shots are being attempted by a (relatively) talentless, unathletic dude who couldn't jump over a nickel. Or get dressed without assistance.

I'm sure you can guess how these shots usually turn out.

The "I'm a big man so I have to post up" shot: Some big men can score in the post. Others...not so much. But even though this is obvious, some big men will try to score down low even when that's not where their talent (assuming they have any) lies. Sometimes they will fill obliged to attempt some inside play because of simple self-awareness ("Hey, I'm, like, a foot taller than the guy defending me!"). Sometimes they get pressured by their teammates to do it ("Hey, you're, like, a foot taller than the guy defending you!"). Whatever the case, when somebody tries to do something that's completely unnatural to them, it is usually destined to fail. Sometimes tragically so. For instance, I've seen guys get their shots stuffed by guys a foot shorter than they are, watched balls go clanging off the bottom of the rim, hell, I've even witnessed men well over six feet tall shoot airballs from beneath the rim. Multiple times. In the same game.

Of course, the opposite of this is...

The "I'm going to chuck up outside shots despite my incredible height advantage" shot: It's bitterly ironic that, for all the big men who don't have a single post move, there are also big men who can score down low but would much rather shoot from distance...sometimes long distance...sometimes very long distance. I guess it's the pickup equivalent of Rasheed Wallace. There are few things more frustrating than watching someone who could score at will inside chuck up three-pointer after three-pointer, post up once and score and easy basket, then return to wandering around the arc clapping their hands and screaming, "I'm open, dawg! I'm open!"

The panic shot: Sometimes a pickup baller will get themselves into trouble and, not seeing any other way, they just take the shot...no matter how ridiculous that shot may be. I had a friend named Brian who once drove, got stopped at the free throw line, spun around so that his back was facing the basket, jumped straight up and flipped the ball over his head toward (I assume) the rim. Again, I probably don't need to tell you how that turned out.

It's like in that instant of indecision the default alternative is always shoot. You know, even when there's an open teammate standing a few feet from them yelling, "I've got your help!"

The trick shot: Every once in a while, someone will attempt a shot they would normally only take in a H-O-R-S-E game. For example, they might take a shot from just behind the backboard. Something like that. It's usually a good idea to avoid taking trick shots during an actual game, unless you have a secret fantasy about teammates stuffing you into a burlap sack and kicking you until you pass out.

The impossible layup: You know why pickup ballers take so many bad outside shots? It's because most of them either a) can't get to the hoop or b) can't finish even if they do get to the rim.

Let's focus on the latter category of pickup baller. There are guys who can successfully navigate their way through the maze-like defense you see at most pickup leagues but have no idea what to do once they actually reach that magical "at the rim" area of the court. I could be they don't have much of a vertical leap. They might be well-covered by one or more defenders. Or they may be facing away from the bucket at some impossible-to-shoot-from angle. And yet...and yet they are pretty close to the hoop. So they feel obligated to just fling the ball toward the rim even though the chance it will go in are roughly the same as successfully navigating an asteroid field.

This is where Evil Ted might scream: "Never tell me the odds!"

I bring ET up because he loves the impossible layup. In fact, he used to attempt at least a half dozen of these a night. Every once in a while, he'll hit one and everybody will ooh and aah because it's sort of like watching an airplane you thought was going to go down in flames suddenly and miraculously pull out of its death dive and land safely. One day after pickup league, ET told me, "I love to hear people ooh and aah me." To which I replied, "Yeah, but those are still shit shots."

ET doesn't take nearly as many impossible layups as he used to...and he was kind of hoping people had forgotten. But during a recent game at our pickup league, somebody tried an impossible layup that went careening out of bounds. I mean, it was uuuuugly. And one of the guys in the game laughed and said, "Man, that was a Ted shot."

Good times.

The volleyball shot: There are certain pickup big men who have no discernable basketball talent but are nonetheless tall and somewhat athletic (relative to the many non-athletes in your average pickup league). So even though they would struggle mightily to convert a layup in an empty gym, that won't stop them from going on an offensive rebounding streak during which they bat a missed shot in the general direction of the hoop four, five, six, etc. times before finally converting. Or not converting. That's also a very real possibility. It's like watching someone play volleyball by themselves.

When I first moved to the Chicago area, I joined Evil Ted's pickup league in Oak Park. There was a guy named Bill who played there. Bill was perhaps the most memorable volleyball shooter I've ever seen. I can't tell you how frustrating it was seeing someone so devoid of talent swatting shot attempt after shot attempt at the rim and then coming away from the experience with the belief that he was a genuinely skilled player. To the point where he would sometimes try to play point guard, running fast breaks and making no-look passes that would have been declared illegal if small children were in the viscinity.

"Success" can and will go to a pickup baller's head.

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55 Comments:
The volleyball shot was my bread-and-butter back when I was 5-10 in 8th grade (those were my pre-hand-eye-coordination days).

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Quick nitpick as the math guy, re: The reverse heat check - One can't really repeal the Law of Averages, since it's a fallacy anyways. Rather, it's the shooter who is embracing the misconception. So it's more like, "we don't have the time in a pickup game for you to prove to us via the Law of Large Numbers that you're actually a good shooter, so just stop now, thanks."

Blogger Sorbo said...
The volleyball shot: I never know what to do when I see this happening. Instinctively, I want to go in, rip the ball away, and either reset or put it back; but fundamentally, I want to be back on defense for the likelihood of a bad tip that leads to a fast break going the other way. And I know the other eight guys are thinking the same thing, because it's like the entire basketball game stops to watch this volleyballer play "Popcorn" by himself.

Blogger Leland said...
I love this shit. I've played and still play a ton of pick up ball and I've definitely encountered all the characters and shots you describe in your blogs. I can't help but laugh!

Perhaps an addendum to the peer pressure three is the guy who has the ugliest shot form you've ever seen take a shot. Usually the sequence goes: You see (Ugliest Shot Ever Dude=USED) in the ritual shooting around warmups and he is either last picked or if you do the shoot for teams, he is invariably last because his idea of shooting looks similar to someone throwing a soccer ball in from out of bounds or pretending the basketball is a shotput.

Anyways, as the game goes everytime USED touches the ball teammates scream "Open!!! Pass me the Ball!! I got you!!" And when I say teammates I mean everyone, even guys who are completely not open are calling for the ball because they have a better chance at getting the resulting loose ball than USED has of making a shot. USED is also great for the opposite team because they can play 5 on 4 on defense. however, eventually, and always in a close game at game point USED ends up with the ball and no one guarding him. His team is dead tired for covering his defense lapses and playing down on offense that his teammates can only wimper "Pass. Here" and USED shoots the ball and somehow it goes in. USED wins the game.

The winning team knows it was luck, and they know they will lose the next game, but they are glad to be afforded the guarentee to get another "Run" in.

The losing team is pissed and they may say after the game, "Man that was such bullshit. you know we should have had that game" to the winning team, but never to USED. Also, if you were the one who was guarding used, watch out. Your team will scowl at you and say "how the hell did you not at least contest his shot!!" despite the fact that you probably made 4-5 great defensive help plays in the game. You may even be kicked off the team because "YOU" let USED hit the game winner.

I hate USED!

Blogger K.A. said...
Hey bawful, you ever record footage of u n et in action? Some want to judge :p

Blogger Sorbo said...
@K.A.- There should almost be a no camera policy for all games not played at the high school, college, or professional levels. Everyone starts pulling (and failing at) highlight-reel-type moves when the cameras come out.

Blogger Sid said...
There is another type that calls for a boot to the head: Whirling Dervish. Guys who will invariably spin on their way to a layup, regardless of the paint being cluttered/deserted. Usually they throw away possession via a charge/travel/fumble/vague toss towards the general direction of the rim.

Anonymous Hoops said...
Oh snap! Bawful putting Evil Ted on blast.

Blogger Sorbo said...
My favorite imitation/heat check crap shot is the "NBA three pointer." I hate watching some guy jack up a 26 footer just to show that he might have NBA range.

Anonymous ivn said...
I hate heat check guy so much. one of my good friends is just like that. he's pretty good but once he hits a couple of threes he turns into Antoine Walker and starts chucking them up all day. the plus side is that I've now gotten very good at hauling in long rebounds.

it's amazing how much better you are at pickup ball when you know your weaknesses. I have about three or four bread and butter shots and if I'm not in good position for one I'm passing the fucking ball.

Blogger chris said...
Sorbo: Apparently King Crab also believes in that, too, at least with the assistance of Nike.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
My favorite imitation/heat check crap shot is the "NBA three pointer." I hate watching some guy jack up a 26 footer just to show that he might have NBA range.

Oh man, my gym has college and NBA three-point lines, and some nights guys will insist on making the NBA line the official three-point arc. When crap shots turn into super crappy crap shots...

Anonymous Heretic said...
Hook shot from almost half court like "white men can't jump" is the shot I keep seeing over and over again.

Blogger chris said...
BTW, Bawful, are you insinuating that you are capable of a CHAOS DUNK some day in your lifetime!? :D

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
As most people here I recognized pretty much all of those shots from pickup and giggled at some of the (not so fond) memories they brought back. I'm even guilty of a couple of them myself.

I'm not sure how universal they are, but I'd also suggest the following, which are quite popular where I play:

The Kobe: When an alpha dog type (mentally moreso than skill-wise, usually) has made 2 or 3 team-oriented plays in a row by creating for others and then decides that the next trip down the court he is going to shoot the ball no matter what to remind everyone that he is, in fact, the man and could score 20 in a row if he so chose. This usually involves 15 seconds of dribbling and backpedaling before launching a contested fade-away from long range.

The Wounded Ego: When a guy gets his shot blocked and then decides on the very next possession that he is going to repay the injury by scoring on his man and embarrassing him in the process. In my experience this has led to, I shit you not, point guards posting up centers or power forwards trying to break shooting guards down off the dribble. It seems that often the mere fact that he was barely able to get a shot off is enough to soothe his ego as it tends to be followed by screaming "block that!" even though the ball barely hit the backboard.

Blogger Sorbo said...
@Chris - King Crab tries to shoot super three-pointers some games from 30-feet away. Dear Lebron, you're 6'8", 250 lbs, and the refs want to put you on the line to inflate your stats. Go the basket.

@Bawful - Oof! The sad thing must be that more than one guy signs off on the three-point line rule, meaning you're probably in for a night of many, many long rebounds.

The cousin of the "NBA Three" guy but falling under the "this is my shot..." category is the "only shoots three-pointers" guy. The worst is seeing him on a fast break with a clear path to the basket, only he pulls up and takes an off-balance three because his momentum is carrying him forward. Ray Allen is the only person on Earth who is allowed to shoot only threes, and that isn't even a sure statement anymore.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Can I get a Matt McHale Pickup basektball mixtape up on youtube? I wanna see this baller in action.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
You guys are making some great additions...which I will use to update the post (with due credit given).

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Dont forget the CLOSE OUT SHOOT. When the game is tied 9 to 9 and you are playing to 11 win by 2. everyone and their mothers will try and shoot 2 pointers. Here is a play by play. of how it goes down.

Someone ties the game at 9 to 9.

Inbound the ball and the guard takes the ball up the court and takes a 2 pointer with 3 guys on him.

Teammate rebounds the ball driblets out and take a fade way 25 footer.

Then the other team gets the rebound and a forward type player(5'9 chubby and dribbles with his head down) take the ball up the court and jacks up a 35 footer with 3 open people all standing outside the 2 point line waiting for a pass.

Of course he air balls it, it goes out of bounds and the other team gets the ball.

Then you have about three more missed 2 point shots before for some idiot who hasnt made a shot all game banks a shot in from straight away.

Blogger chris said...
Sorbo: Case in point for King Crab - that horrendous running late-season trey attempt against the C's...ON A FAST BREAK. H U H?!

Anonymous Sarc said...
My least favorite pick up player is the "football player". Normally he just finished a work out and wants to "cool down w/ some cardio". or some of his friends brought him along.
Either way it is bad. He encompasses all of this post with the added bonus of rotating super late and fouling hard. He is big and he may be athletic but he should not be on a court.

Post Script
I love to see a trick shot go in regardless of who takes it. This IS pickup basketball don't take it too seriously. I look at it as rag tag scrimmage.
In City or Church or Rec League it becomes a different story.

Blogger Sorbo said...
The "impossible layup" shooter. My buddy is one of these guys, able to get to the basket whenever one wants to, yet never finishing...ever. It's hard to criticize them because, in theory, they're getting a five-foot (and supposedly high percentage) shot, but they're just boinking them.

My theory is that these guys usually have flat shots. You need have arc on your shot when you are within five feet and when you are at three-point range or farther. It's a weird law of basketball physics: The Flat Shot Conundrum.

Blogger zyth said...
the cry shot : i sometimes play with a guy that doesnt care wether he hits on a high percentage or not,wether he creates,nth. he just charges,head down,elbows out, yanks up a bullshit shot, immediately screams foul(screams.)the best part is, the dude plays bowen-defense,with the little ill kick you in the tibia or straight up elbow your solar plexus.it got better though, he used to roll around on the court(both in and outdoor) like he was on fire

Anonymous Bryan said...
@ Sorbo - That sounds about right. Never thought of it like that but ive seen guys get to the bucket at will and just couldnt finish. And nearly all of them have flat shots like myself. You may be onto something with your Flat Shot Conundrum

Anonymous teaguejd said...
I...have a confession to make...I am one of the volleyball guys sometimes...I beg your forgiveness.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I...have a confession to make...I am one of the volleyball guys sometimes...I beg your forgiveness.

You would only have to beg forgiveness if I said I never took crap shots. And you'll notice I never said that...

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Hey bawful, you ever record footage of u n et in action? Some want to judge :p

Yes, extensively. See, Evil Ted gave me a load of shit one time about how I travel "a lot" on my drives. I got pissed and told him to video tape us playing. He did it for a oouple months and hours of footage revealed nary a travel.

Not sure I wanna post that footage, tho'...

Anonymous teaguejd said...
oh come on, you HAVE to post it now. We gotta see!

What of the above sins are you most prone to?

Blogger Austin said...
Good, good stuff.

I know at least I'm not any kind of three-point guy. I've taken only two in games in my life (one was a game of 4 on 5, the other was with time running down and our team down like 5). So that's something.

Definitely have been the volleyball player at times.

Blogger zyth said...
cmon Bawful, give us some of your Crabby goodness.don't be baaad

Blogger chris said...
He did it for a oouple months and hours of footage revealed nary a travel.

This isn't the, um, crustacean definition of "nary a travel" I hope. :D

Anonymous Euler said...
Two more nominations:

The Fundamentals Shot: This is employed by the guy who is a student of the game, so he only takes the “right type” of shot. One example is the bank shot he will put up (often as a peer pressure shot) because he is at roughly a 45 degree angle and that is what Tim Duncan would do. Of course, the shooter has never practiced the bank shot, so he wedges it, clips the side of the backboard or misses the rim entirely after the bank. This guy also fails to realize that shooting a bank shot on baskets with wood, metal or plastic backboards requires totally different approaches (which he, of course, has not practiced).

Another example of the Fundamentals Shot is the hook shot (again, what would Duncan do), which often an “I'm a big man so I have to post up" shot. When the guy takes the hook shot, it invariably slips out of his or misses badly because he has never practiced it. The worst part about this guy is that not matter how bad he shoots he is never apologetic because he is taking the right type of shot, whereas you are taking unfundamental shots (that you have actually practiced and that might actually go in).


The Hurried Close Out Shot: A very close relative of the Close Out (Three Point) Shot. There really should be no situation in pickup basketball when you need to hurry a shot. There are no game or shot clocks. No one is going to call a three seconds on you. If you are going to get rejected, you can shot fake or simply pass the ball. Still, there is that one guy who just launches the ball so quickly after catching the ball that it catches everyone by surprise. This is a terrible shot and often falls into some other shot categories Bawful listed.

However, it kinda makes sense to hurry a shot when only one additional basket is needed and the other team decides that the smart (and douche-y and dangerous) strategy is to foul anyone with a decent percentage shot. The game then devolves into a series of Hurried Close Out Shots with post players flipping up quick hook shot before they get shoved in the back or guards hoisting ridiculously long threes before they can be wrapped up. The game then hinges on making a Hurried Close Out Shot before the other team can catch up by taking advantage of the inherently low percentage Hurried Close Out Shots.

Blogger Jack said...
You did pickup in Oak Park? I'm from there! When was this? Because I know an older Bill who fits the villeyball description to a T...

Anonymous UpA said...
Common in every I mean EVERY pickup game... the Iverson vs Jordan shot, 10 sec of awkward crossovers on the top of the key and a lame "fade away" (can't call it a fade away if you only jump 2 inches) jumper who 90% of the times is a brick. You said it well, ppl loves to shoot.

Fade aways should be banned on pickup games, they naturally destroy any rythm on the offensive end and restricts the rest of the players of taking any kind of action, aside of looking an unathletic Kobe wannabe brick time after time, especially if he made the first one...

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
Euler:

There's no 3 seconds in pickup ball in the US? Down here it is an acceptable call, though most people only resort to it when a big man has been punishing people down low.

Anonymous ivn said...
just remembered the Statement Shot. it's a cousin of both the Wounded Ego Shot and the Alpha Dog Shot that occurs if you happen to make a good play against the guy who's guarding you--beating him badly off the dribble, getting him to bite on a pump fake, getting an and-one off him, etc.--and he decides he wants to show you up the next time down the court. this usually results with him veering wildly to the basket (resulting in a turnover, a block, or a bad layup) or taking a long shot with your hand in his face, neither of which end well. if he does make it, though, he'll probably end up trying to turn it into a mano-a-mano showdown at the expense of the rest of his team. so I guess either way it turns out well for you.

Blogger Sorbo said...
@Hellshocked, Yeah no one calls three seconds or offensive fouls in US pick-up games. Conversely, most guys know that they shouldn't stand in the key for an entire game. It's just bad manners. I'm sure Bawful will get to these rules in the diaries.

Blogger Big-UpsTo#15 said...
Anyone ever run into the "Shawn Marion Shot"?
In a game of 3 v 3 or 2 v 2 and one team is killing the other team the players on the winning team will only shoot like this...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zm0Vg0U1og
... on game point

Anonymous Euler said...
Hellshocked:

There usually is 3 seconds in pickup basketball in the US, but it is an unpopular call. Doubly so if it is called away from the ball.

Calling someone for 3 seconds can lead to arguments will lead to a lot of arguing, unless someone has been in the key with the ball for 6+ seconds. Honestly, I don't think I remember more than five total 3 seconds ever being called in a pickup game I have been in.

I suspect/hope that Bawful's new series will chronicle the pantheon of acceptable pickup game calls. I think 3 seconds falls below offensive fouls and carrying and above a line violation when inbounding the ball after a basket.

Blogger lordhenry said...
This is in response to Evil Ted's post from a few days ago, about the finals. I didn't catch it until today, but I thought ET would like this:

Deep in the smog, of L.A.....
Far from the mountains that contain the mighty Citadel Minas Mamba, in a gated community, there exists a house, a house that can only be called:

Mamba Mansion.

The Dark Lord Kobe "Bean" Bryant, he of the gimpy finger, pinkie, drained knee, and of course, 5 rings, gets ready to begin a relaxing summer day with a swim in his pool.
Eyes closed, Kobe lets one toe drift towards the water, savoring the temperature: 86.7 degrees exactly.
Kobe dives in, enjoying the relaxing warmth of the water, the way it supports his body, the smell of chlorine.......
Something is not right, Kobe opens his eyes......
........and into a nightmare.

The entire pool is green, not just any green, like grass-green, or forest green, or even british racing green, but an appalling, dastardly shade that the pool seems to throb with like an infected molar.....

CELTICS GREEN

Kobe's reaction is best left to the reader's imagination....But I just bet a maid in that house ends up fired.

Anonymous ibanez said...
hearing your pickup stories makes me wish for a better bball scene here in the UK...i hardly know anyone else who devotes his life to bball and no other sport...

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
@Sorbo:

I'm a "big man" in pickup and I must say the "honor system" tends to work pretty well in this regard. It isn't in the best interest of anyone to either flagrantly camp the lane or to stop play every 30 seconds.

I rarely if ever call it. I try to keep people from establishing position that deep in the first place and pickup games rarely go more than 2 passes without a shot going up anyways which means deftly moving into box out position as opposed to staring at some guy's feet.

@Euler:

Yeah, the 3 second call down here usually opens a shitstorm and the next 5 minutes are spent going back and forth over it until either one side or the other decides playing is more fun than arguing and backs down. It's often used as a tool though to combat bigger stronger players who are scoring too easily for the defender's liking or even the volleyball shot dude.

Blogger K.A. said...
Bawful, do a best of/worst of mixtape of u n et, that way its balance. Cuz nobody wants to watch a full game of pickup which looks nothing like the scene from he got game :)

Confession, i have 1 crap shot that i tend to take: the no look reverse flip with your back to the basket ala jordan. Thats my one ooh aah trick shot that i'll make in a game once in a blu moon. At least i dont do the wrist slap.

Blogger Bing said...
Not on topic of your post, but the Lakers picked up Steve Blake. B-L-A-K-E? We are the world friggin champs and the only PG we can pick up is a 30-year-old white guy! c'mon!

sorry.

Blogger zyth said...
@Bing : don't worry, there is a chance they won't pick up brown and fish. you guys will be in competition with the Suns for the title of whitest pointguards!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
This has nothing to do with anything...but still awesome.

http://www.dweebist.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/faces-480x598.jpg

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
Bing:

Blake is a great fit for LA. He fills a definite need for LA (backup PG), is a great shooter, a decent distributor and a pretty tough guy. No, he can't guard anyone but neither can Fisher.

It's a damn good move by the Lakers. Blake is the kind of underrated role player I would have loved on my teams (Utah, San Antonio).

If they can also pick up Miller after having spent such money on Blake then they will be considerably better than they were this past season.

Blogger Bing said...
Really?
I hope so. All my memory can recall of him ATM is the stupid mistakes he makes. We've got Sasha on the books still, don't need two players making dumb moves

Blogger chris said...
AND...

Dirk stays in Dallas!

Anonymous It's the ATL said...

Anonymous Barry said...
More power to Johnson, but Christ Atlanta!

I must say I really enjoy these posts on pick-up ball, I don't play it as there is no scene here in the Netherlands but I do recognize the described characters as they relate to "pick-up" football/soccer too.

Anonymous Waltonia said...
I don't know man, I gotta say, one of my biggest pet peeves in pickup ball is the guy who camps in the lane for 20 seconds. I never call it, but if you're a shorter dude, you basically spend the whole game with some guy trying to post you up who doesn't know how to get in and out of the lane, or trying to "battle for boards" by sitting down there.

Anonymous msk said...
Way late here as usual, but I love this post. I've seen all of these, and surely committed some myself.

I played intramural 5 on 5 (organized pick-up) in college, on the same team as a rail-thin, 6'5", friend of mine who was Swedish, but grew up mostly in NYC. He was an OK player, and generally played fairly smart ball. Once, we were down 3 with about 30 seconds to play, and he pulls down the board. Suddenly, he starts dribbling up-court, loping along, our usual ball-handlers screaming for the ball. He stops about 26 feet out, pulls up, and takes the 3. We're all horrified, and it... hits nothing but net.

It was a total crap shot, but, to paraphrase one of the Association's great crap shot artists, his swag was phenomenal.

Anonymous Jay K. said...
Wow this has got to be one of the best pickup ball posts I have seen in a long time. Everything you have described is to a T.

Your previous posts of the stages of denial was also great because 1. it made me self reflect on myself on my diminishing basketball skills while eating Kung Pao chicken in front of a mirror.

you should go join us at forums.interbasket.net for posts and discussions about basketball i think you would make a great addition to this international bball forum

Jay
Phantim3dx in that said forum

Blogger Dafydd said...
At my School we had a guy who did the volleyball shot pretty much every possession.

He was 6'3, built like a tank, blonde and German (we nicknamed him Dolph after his uncanny resemblance to Mr Lundgren).

Unfortunately, he couldn't shoot, pass or coordinate his legs beyond jumping straight up and down. If we had been recording rebounds he would have been the league leader purely because of the number of shot-rebound-putback-rebound-putback-rebound-misses he had...

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