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[Slate] The pickup players in the NBA playoffs.

Discussion in 'NBA Dish' started by LegendZ3, May 13, 2005.

  1. LegendZ3

    LegendZ3 Contributing Member

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    http://slate.msn.com/id/2118429/

    It's Fun To Play at the YMCA
    The guy who wears too much protective gear and the other pickup basketball players in the NBA playoffs.
    By Felix Gillette
    Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2005, at 4:35 AM PT

    Pro basketball players aren't like you and me. Shaquille O'Neal palms a basketball like it's a Brussels sprout. Ricky Davis bounces around like he's made of vulcanized rubber. Gilbert Arenas can walk on water.

    Last week, I figured out how to reduce the NBA playoffs to a human scale. Like most people, my basketball expertise comes from playing pickup basketball. In a pickup game, you don't know anyone's name or background. Since there aren't any uniforms or color commentators, the only way to relive your performance is to seize on easily identifiable traits. I can't believe I had to guard the sweaty guy. Or, I totally crossed over the guy in the Michael Jordan jersey.

    If you stare at pro players long enough, they start to look less like superheroes and more like the guys we've all hooped with at the YMCA. Ricky Davis isn't one of the NBA's top bench players. He's that annoying guy who thinks he's the team captain. The cagey old man who backs you down into the paint? You might know him as Chicago's Adrian Griffin. The guy who has more wristbands than points? Ben Wallace.

    In the run-up to the NBA Finals, you won't see Steve Nash dish to a guy in jeans, and Ray Allen won't be hounded by a defender who refuses to take his watch off. But here's a list of some of the pickup archetypes you'll see in the next month.

    The Guy with the Funny Shot Who Can't Miss: Shawn Marion, Phoenix Suns

    Shawn Marion doesn't shoot a jump shot, exactly. It's more like a jump spasm—dribble, dribble, twitch. And it goes in! Every time I watch Marion, I think of Nick "Butter" Brown, my childhood teammate who dropped out of competitive basketball in seventh grade before becoming a pickup sharpshooter of the "How the hell?" variety. In a league full of players with mechanical, one-handed releases, Marion's shot is a homegrown monster. So ugly. So miraculous. So butter.

    The Guy Who Wears Too Much Protective Gear: Rip Hamilton, Detroit Pistons

    It starts with ankle tape that peeks over the sock line. Then it spreads upward: a knee brace, an elbow wrap, a wrist support. Does your hypochondriac friend really need to play in shin guards and a fitted plastic face mask? Probably not. But those protective goggles might come in handy if there's an earthquake.

    The Guy Whose Dad Brought Him To Play: Damien Wilkins, Seattle Sonics

    His uncle Dominique is a basketball legend. His dad Gerald played in the NBA for 13 seasons. What's Damien doing in the league? His pops didn't have time to take the station wagon home after school.

    The Guy Who's Fat: Anthony Johnson, Indiana Pacers

    Who doesn't love the roly-poly playground point guard? Every time down the court, you get to try out another nickname as you call for the ball. What will it be this time, Big Boy or Big Wheels? Big Stuff or Big Bubbles? Jelly Roll?

    The Guy Who Has a Friend Who's Really Good: Damon Jones, Miami Heat

    At first, you don't notice him. He comes to the gym in the shadow of a big man. Then the action starts, and the big guy starts to dominate. The little guy starts to squalk about "my man's" unstoppable game. Sports Illustrated recently reported that Damon Jones' Miami teammates call him Lil' Him and Donkey (to Shaquille O'Neal's Shrek). And when Shaq takes the day off? Donkey starts playing like Eeyore.

    The Guy Who Doesn't Show Up: Kwame Brown, Washington Wizards (suspended for the rest of the playoffs)

    Oh, you're running a little bit late? I see, you thought we meant p.m., not a.m. You'll be another 10 minutes? Now you're at the wrong J.C.C.? No, no, don't worry. We have enough to start without you.

    The Guy Who Plays Defense: Bruce Bowen, San Antonio Spurs

    Seattle Sonics guard Ray Allen on Bowen: "He pulls on you. He grabs you. He hits your elbow when you shoot. When you go to the basket, he'll shove you and then he'll fall. Just stuff like that that's real annoying." We've all been guarded by someone who tries just a little too hard. This raging maniac will tell you that he just loves to hustle. But we all know he's overcompensating for his small point total.

    The Guy Who Calls Too Many Fouls: Reggie Miller, Indiana Pacers

    If you touch his elbow, he calls a foul. Graze his nonshooting hand—foul. Step on his toe—foul. Make a little too much eye contact—let's take that one out at the top. After this year's playoffs, Miller is hanging it up. Shake his hand in congratulations for a long, successful career—foul.

    The Guy Who Just Bought an And1 Video: Jon Barry, Houston Rockets (already eliminated from the playoffs)

    Wait, what do you want us to call you again? I can never remember, is it Handles McKrissKross or KrissKross McHandles? OK, please stop spinning the ball on your finger. And yes, I'm pretty sure it is traveling when you run into the lane with the ball tucked between your knees.

    The Guy Who Wants To Play Half-Court: Shawn Bradley, Dallas Mavericks

    "We'll get less tired," he cries. "We can play longer!" Stringy beanpole players who are long in the arm and short on energy will say anything to convince you that it's a bad idea to run back and forth. Half-court basketball is their evolutionary niche—they can stand under the basket gobbling up rebounds and tapping in misses without ever moving their size-19 feet. Shawn Bradley is just one rule change away from being the NBA Finals MVP. So, how about a half-court championship series, Mr. Commissioner? Come on, we could make it best five out of nine!
    Felix Gillette is a writer in Austin, Texas.

    Article URL: http://slate.msn.com/id/2118429/
     
  2. francis 4 prez

    francis 4 prez Contributing Member

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    guarding "the sweaty guy" blows. somehow their entire shirt is just soaked so it doesn't matter where you touch them, it gets all over you. and inevitably, sweaty guy likes to post up so you have to have your arm in his back playing defense the whole time, whereas if he was a perimeter guy you could work around the sweat. damn you sweaty guy!
     
  3. LegendZ3

    LegendZ3 Contributing Member

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    Ever tried to guard a sweaty guy who doesn't like to wear a shirt? It's the nastiest thing I've ever done in my life.
     
  4. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    If you were sweaty guy, you'd be a damn fool to wear a shirt. With no shirt, and covered in sweat, you can slip past anyone. They can't grab or push you, because they'll just slip right off. I'm not really sweaty guy ordinarily, but when you play outside in 100 degree heat, it's a competitive advantage to be skins.
     
  5. arno_ed

    arno_ed Contributing Member

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    One guy in my team smell just terrible. When he is on the three point line and i'm under the basket i almost faint. It is just terrible walking by him.

    The good thing is because i'm captain and coach, i get to pick who guards who in practice. So the player who didn't train hard gets to guard him:D
     
  6. wouldabeen23

    wouldabeen23 Contributing Member

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    That was a GREAT article...I was thinking of every YMCA/Playground/College Rec center game I have ever played in and I have played with every sterotype listed--hell, i'm the fat guy with the rolly-polly nicknames! Course, being 6-5 320 has it's bonuses in the low post!

    Ever notice how the "sweaty guy" is usually a Kurt Rhombus look alike with a hairy back, complete with the headband and wrist bands?!

    YAK

    I always have to guard that dude...
     
    #6 wouldabeen23, May 13, 2005
    Last edited: May 13, 2005
  7. El_Conquistador

    El_Conquistador King of the D&D, The Legend, #1 Ranking
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    Great article.

    I'm probably the Bruce Bowen player at the YMCA. Good defender and a good three point shooter.
     
  8. BiGGieStuFF

    BiGGieStuFF Contributing Member

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    **** what about the sweaty guy who posts up who is extremely hairy and get this DOESN'T BATHE!!

    OH MY GAWD!!
     
  9. Der Rabbi

    Der Rabbi Member

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    I've probably played with the guy here in Austin. Probably label me as a Vlade Divac passing big man (big in pickup terms of course).
     

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