Characters We Hate: Pickup Game Edition
Posted by hilariousandhandsomesportsguys on March 12, 2010
It doesn’t take much to ruin a pickup game. It only takes one clown to slip into your gym or onto your court to transform a glorious game of basketball into a never-ending nightmare. If one of these characters makes his way onto your team, you might as well let the air out of those Pumps and head home because it’s going to be a long day.
If someone starts drawing up plays before the game even begins, just fake an injury and let someone else deal with this train wreck. Tight hamstring, “dead arm”, turf toe, blurry vision, irritable bowel syndrome – anything will do, just get the heck out of there. The General won’t stop with just drawing up plays. Oh no, The General will control the pace of the game. He will come down the court feverishly waving hand signals or shouting out numbers. God forbid you forget to set down screens or make five passes before taking an open shot, The General will call a timeout and make sure you don’t screw things up again. It doesn’t matter that none of you have ever played together before this moment. If you fail to rotate on command or remember your position in his version of the triangle offense, get ready for a lesson on his marker board during the next water break.
Rudy is either A) the guy with way more testosterone than a human body can safely contain or B) the player who has no clue what he is doing but plays every minute like its game seven of the NBA Championship. Call an ambulance the moment you identify a Rudy because if he doesn’t pass out from dehydration or floor-burn induced blood loss, he will injure someone else. Rudy will be taking charges and undercutting guys from the moment the ball gets checked in. You think you have a wide-open layup on a fast break – think again. Rudy will chase you down and attempt a block shot that looks more like a monkey falling out of a tree. Rudy has mastered the art of the full-speed moving screen. You better pray to god someone on your team is calling out screens because he is going to blindside you all day long. If Rudy decides to guard you, just find yourself a spot far away from the action. Rudy is going to be on you like a wet t-shirt on a fat kid at the pool if you ever even look at the ball, and he will block you out into the bleachers if you try to pull a rebound. Just because you’re Rudy’s teammate doesn’t mean you are safe either. He will be battling you for every rebound and no good rebound is complete without his razor sharp elbows clearing out the area. Possibly worst of all, if Rudy is your teammate, get ready for an uncomfortable number of high fives, butt slaps and tribal yells. Rudy loves his teammates. Thank god there is no shower time after pickup games.
“We got skins!” This is the go-to line for Skins Guy. Teams will hardly even be split up before Skins Guy can belch out the dreaded phrase – “We got skins!” Before the words are even out of his mouth, Skins Guy will have his shirt off and tossed to the side. He doesn’t care that he has been teamed with a wool-covered Sasquatch, a morbidly obese guy, a pasty white 130 pounder and the guy with three nipples. Oh no, Skins Guy has stripped off that shirt and is ready to go. Does it matter that you have matching shirts, colored jerseys, or have known each other from birth? Of course not. Skins Guy will not let fabric touch that body. Once he has proclaimed, “we got skins!” he will be shirtless the rest of the day.
Much like Rudy, Old School requires an immediate 911 call. You can spot Old School from a mile away. If the John Stockton short-shorts and the tucked-in, spaghetti strap workout shirt wasn’t an instant giveaway, Old School will always have a duffle bag full of “gear”. One after another, Old School will begin removing ankle braces, knee braces, elbow pads, medical tape, and goggles. Old School claims his “experience” makes him an asset, but what he really means is that he has no problem punching people in the package on screens or standing on their feet when they go for rebounds. Old School only makes it up and down the court twice before just standing on the offensive side of the court and calling for hail-mary passes all game. If he doesn’t blow his back out attempting a left-handed layup, he will be sure to blows yours out with a perfectly timed, two-hand shove to the back while you are getting a rebound.
Thanks to Skins Guy, Sasquatch will always have his shirt off. Sasquatch not only grows a thick forest of bear fur all over his body, but he has already soaked his coat of hair with sweat before the first jumper is heaved up towards the goal. Without fail, Sasquatch makes his living in the paint – posting up anyone foolish enough to let their fingers slide through his foul-smelling fur and boxing out anyone that dares attempt a rebound. Sasquatch’s best offensive weapon is his unstoppable spin move, which is only unstoppable since he is a life-sized slip-n-slide. Just pack a bottle of Germ-X, spray deodorant and sheep sheers to be ready for this character.
If Rainman touches the ball, you might as well start boxing people out – he is taking the shot. So what if Rainman missed his last 15 shots – he is wearing the new Jordan’s AND a shooting sleeve. No one even bothers to guard Rainman. Of course, he thinks that’s because he is losing his man with his sick, Richard Hamilton, off the ball movement; so he is oblivious that he is always open because he sucks. To make matters worse, Rainman will always have a mouth. If he isn’t calling for the ball or crying that he isn’t get enough touches, Rainman is dropping obnoxious one-liners after every brick he tosses up. “Got it!” “Moneyball!” “Gotccha!” “Hibachi!” God forbid he ever actually makes a shot. But inevitably, he tosses up some hideous shot from 10 foot behind the three point line that banks in, and he informs you that “I’m a shooter. I just had to shoot my way out of the slump.”
Have you ever been in a pickup game only to hear “Three-second violation!” excitedly yelled? If so, you have met The Rulebook. Only The Rulebook counts out how long your big man has been in the lane or watches to see if both feet simultaneously hit the ground on that jump stop. And don’t even try to wear a wrong colored shirt. The Rulebook will inform you that not wearing a consistent color scheme is a technical foul. While everyone else is warming up before the game, The Rulebook will be checking the air pressure in the ball. Just buckle up and get ready for the ride of your life if The Rulebook shows up for a pickup game because every over-the-back, charge, carry, travel, illegal defense and hypothetical shot clock violation is going to be called, no matter what team committed the infraction. However, The Rulebook never forgets what the score is or who has the possession arrow. So he isn’t entirely worthless.
“You got me.” “I’ll take it up top.” “And-1.” “I got my foul.” Big Baby has a never-ending arsenal of ways to call fouls. In fact, Big Baby has never missed a shot or committed a turnover that wasn’t caused by a foul. Block his shot – foul. Block him out – foul. Pick his pocket – foul. That backboard shattering layup he just threw up – foul. Cross him over – travel. There is no winning with this guy. If Big Baby shows up to your game get ready to either fight or take your ball and go home, because he makes the game unplayable.
Big Baby’s archenemy is Sir Hacks-a-Lot. Sir Hacks-a-Lot prides himself in tough defense, which translates to beating the hell out of whoever has the ball in their hands. Sir Hacks thinks that blasting through you to dislodge the ball is “quick hands” and that putting you in an arm bar is “picking your pocket.” Once you have determined that Sir Hacks is guarding you, immediately ask your team to not pass you the ball. Sir Hacks will contest every jump shot like he is stage diving at a rock concert, and flies in for rebounds like a fat kid trying to get a piggyback ride. Worst of all, just get ready to be mocked if you ever call a foul on one of his scissor kick, flying elbow, blocked shot attempts. You are just “soft.”
The Cardio King is a curse whether he is on your team or the other. If he is on your team, Cardio King turns every possession into a fast break. If he gets the rebound, he will be flying down the sidelines all alone pushing the pace. If he doesn’t get the rebound, he will be the first one down the court and instantly start zig-zagging all over the place, curling off of non-existent screens and creating chaos as he is apparently being chased by invisible, rabid dogs. However, Cardio King on defense is more of a nightmare. He has mastered the one-man full court press – somehow guarding every person that was foolish enough to try and help bring the ball up the court. If you are lucky enough to break his press, Cardio King will lock-down on his man and simultaneous execute a suffocating trap on everyone else’s man that touches the ball. When the game finally ends and everyone heads for their respirators, Cardio King, without fail, chimes in, “Lets run it again.”
Few players can make you want to erupt into a profanity-laced tirade faster than And-1. And-1 has never actually played basketball because he thinks the Harlem Globetrotter’s moves are legit. After endless hours of practice, aka watching Youtube videos of streetball games, And-1 shows up ready to impress. Somehow, And-1 always gets the ball in his hands, and the only way you’re getting it back is after he knees the ball out of bounds or you just go steal it from him. He carries the ball so bad Allen Iverson would be upset and he thinks a running start is a “quick first step.” Somehow And-1 makes things even worse by constantly yelling “clear out” and “give me room.” And don’t even try to question the legality of And-1’s “sweet handle.” The only way to neutralize And-1 and his spin move-between the legs-over the shoulder-crossover is to freeze him out of the game. It’s tough love.
Getting a Dynamic Duo on your team is the worst thing that can happen to you. In fact, you might as well just sit out and call “next” rather than play on the Dynamic Duo’s team. At best, the Dynamic Duo is two siblings or teammates that have just played together their entire lives and have magical, basketball, twin powers. At worst, you’re stuck with two douchbags that only pass the ball to each other and freeze out everyone else on the team. One way or another, you aren’t touching the ball with a dynamic duo on your team. Whether they are throwing no-look, alley-oop hammer dunks or executing the pick and roll like Stockton to Malone, or they are just bastards passing the ball back and forth to each other, launching up ugly shots, you will be stuck simply playing defense and rebounding for these two until the game ends.
I actually feel sorry for the Glassman. Glassman finds new ways to injure himself every time he steps on the court. He will get his fingers stepped on while wiping sweat off the floor, or get his nose broken by a wild, cross-court pass while he drinks water on the sidelines. Someone will get pissed and soccer-kick the ball, which Glassman’s nuts will promptly catch. The guy defending him will jab him in the eye or his ankle will pop like a gunshot while he grabs a rebound. It’s just sad that Glassman can’t even play a game of NBA Jam without literally catching himself on fire.
The Mouth isn’t even on a team. He isn’t playing. He hasn’t ever played. In fact, no one really knows where this guy comes from, but he always shows up. There he is sitting on the sidelines in his Ben Affleck “I’m a douchebag” track suit/fruit-colored, leopard print, velour sweatsuit, letting you know how bad you suck. When someone gets blocked, The Mouth erupts like the fat guy in an And-1 video. Miss a shot, and The Mouth won’t let you forget it. During timeouts, he gets in “his boys” huddle and starts tossing out worthless advice like “you can’t let him do you like that” and “just take that punk – just take him.” When the game ends, The Mouth either erupts into a ticker-tape parade if his boys win or dips into depression and starts trying to pick fights if they lose. The best thing anyone can do is pretend The Mouth isn’t there because acknowledgment of his existence is jet fuel for his motor.
Cherry Pickers are a blessing and a curse. They don’t reveal themselves until several possessions into the game, but as soon as they get tired of running up and down the court, it’s time to pick some cherries. Cherry Pickers just decide to stop playing defense and focus their efforts on standing around all alone on the offensive end of the court and wait for the full-court pass. Somehow, Cherry Pickers have convinced themselves that this is a legitimate strategy. Ignoring the fact that his team is playing 4 on 5 while he relaxes on the other end of the court, he believes that his teammates actually wants to tenaciously defend and crash the boards so he can do layup drills at the other end of the court. Really, who likes to shoot the ball anyway? To make matters worse, Cherry Pickers love to shout “I’m open!” as if no one knew that he had unilaterally decided to play all-time offense.
“Kick it out.” You never stop hearing this when a Deep Threat gets put on your squad. If you’re lucky, Deep Threat can shoot a little, but more than likely, Deep Threat is the short, slow, white guy that just perches up behind the arc and launches the three every time he touches the ball. Deep Threat has no concept of off the ball movement, setting screens, attempting rebounds or even dribbling the basketball. You can find him cemented into the ground at his favorite three-point spot just waiting for his moment to shine. Unfortunately, no one guards deep threat and someone ends up getting double-teamed the whole game because Deep Threat is no threat to move his ass from that spot. To make things worse, Deep Threat is usually a Cherry Picker so he is always alone on the other end of the court, but he will never take the open layup. Deep Threat saw Reggie Miller shoot a three once on an open, fast break, and he will forever try to capture that magic.
Every pickup game has some guy that just sucks. Inevitably, this guy is Mr. Excuse. That lazy, cross-court pass that he just gift wrapped for the other team had nothing to do with him being terrible – oh no – you didn’t come to the pass. That atrocity of an air ball that he just ripped off had nothing to do with his failure to practice a jump shot the last twenty years. In fact, that’s “his shot,” but today was chest and bicep day at the gym and he’s sore. I know that it looked like Mr. Excuse just got junk-in-the-face, dunked on, but actually it was a charge. And of course, if not for eating those three burritos before the game, he wouldn’t have been torched for thirty points by the other team’s worst player.
“Hey bro, toss me an alley.” No doubt, you have heard this from some clown that has just spent the last thirty minutes barely grabbing rim. Hops is in his element before the game, during water breaks and after the game. During the game, Hops disappears and there is no actual evidence that he actually participated in the game, but right on cue, when there is a pause in the game, Hops “flies” into action. He takes off in a full sprint from half-court and manages to grab enough rim to shake the goal and magically transforms himself into Dr. J. As you begin throwing him alley-oop after alley-oop, he manages to whiff on the ball, get rejected by front iron and tangle his hand all in the net before he starts making condescending comments about your passes. Eventually, Hops will get fed up with your “bad timing” and start attempting windmill dunks and off-the-backboard 360 slams on his own. Unfortunately, his “hamstring will tighten up” or his “stomach will start acting up” and prevent him from executing dunks that Vince Carter has never pulled off. Just pray there isn’t a tennis ball within a mile of the court, because one Candace Parker dunk with a tennis ball will star